Updated with report on Delta, Campbell earnings, GM news, FedEx earnings guidance
NEW YORK (
) -- Here are the top stock market headlines for the morning of Friday, September 11, 2009.
Friday's Early Headlines
- FedEx Offers Upside Guidance - FedEx (FDX) - Get Report said it expects to report first-quarter earnings of 58 cents a share thanks to better-than-expected volume and cost management. That would exceed the shipper's past guidance range of 30 cents to 45 cents a share and would easily top the Thomson Reuters average estimate of 44 cents a share. Looking ahead to the second quarter, FedEx said it expects earnings in a range of 65 cents to 95 cents a share, which the company said "reflects the current outlook for fuel prices and a continued modest recovery in the global economy." Consensus estimates currently stand at 70 cents a share. FedEx and UPS (UPS) - Get Report shares were jumping in early trading.
- Mack Out, Gorman in at Morgan Stanley. - Late Thursday, Morgan Stanley (MS) - Get Report said CEO John Mack will step down from the position at the end of the year, with co-President James Gorman set to take the reins. Mack will retain his title of chairman. Gorman will take over the bank at a time it is struggling to compete better with rival Goldman Sach (GS) - Get Report. Rochdale Securities analyst Dick Bove called Morgan's succession plan "a positive change" in a research note.
- Feds Prepping to Indict Ex-AIG Exec. - The Wall Street Journal reports that the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission have been investigating whether Joseph Cassano, the former head of American International Group's (AIG) - Get Report Financial Products unit, committed securities fraud in allegedly misleading investors by overstating the value of mortgage-related contracts and failing to disclose material facts about them to the insurer's outside auditor.
- Geithner Holds Court at Town Hall. - During a town hall meeting organized by CNBC, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geither said Americans "need to understand that we're going to bring those deficits down." Geithner also said bankers' pay should be tied to long-term performance and could be clawed back if the company's financial performance did not hold up. "You want compensation to come substantially in the form of equity in the firm that vests over time, that is at risk, that can be clawed back if returns don't materialize," Geithner said, according to a Bloomberg transcript.
- Video-Game Sales Plummet in August. - The recent downtrend in video-game sales continued through the summer, according to data from marketing and sales research firm NPD Group. While software sales fell 15% during the month, with Electronic Arts' (ERTS) Madden 2010 the top-selling title, sales of Microsoft's (MSFT) - Get Report Xbox 360 and Sony's (SNE) - Get Report PlayStation 3 hardware benefitted from recent price cuts, rising 10% and 72%, respectively, from July.
- Consumer Sentiment in Focus - The preliminary read on consumer sentiment, due at 9:55 a.m. EDT, is expected to climb to a reading of 67.8 from the prior month's read of 65.7. While the August read was down from 66 in July, it was still better than most economists had predicted. While it may be hard to find a solid correlation between sentiment numbers and consumer spending, a better-than-expected read will continue to fuel optimism that the consumer is viewing conditions as improving. The current conditions component of the consumer sentiment may bear closer watching. Last month, that reading fell to 66.6 from 70.5 in July, indicating that consumers aren't as excited about current conditions as the headline number would suggest.
- Japan Airlines Mulling Tie-up With Delta. - Public broadcaster NHK reported that Delta Air Lines (DAL) - Get Report and struggling Japan Airlines are in negotiations for U.S.-based Delta to provide JAL with several hundred million dollars in capital and become the Japanese carrier's largest shareholder as well as cooperate on international flights. The report cited people familiar with the matter.
- GM to Offer Money-Back Guarantee on Cars. - General Motors will guarantee car buyers that if they don't like their new auto purchase, they have 60 days to bring it back for a full refund. The marketing effort, dubbed "May the Best Car Win," starts Monday and aims to win back customers who may be wary of making a GM purchase after the automaker filed for bankruptcy.
Friday's Earnings Roundup
- Campbell Soup (CPB) - Get Report reported adjusted fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of 30 cents a share, better than the Thomson Reuters average estimate of 26 cents a share. Looking ahead, Campbell said fiscal 2010 adjusted net earnings per share should rise between 5% and 7% year-over-year, with net sales expected to increase 3% to 4% from a year ago.