NEW YORK (
) -- Here are the top stock market headlines for the morning of Friday, April 30, 2010.
Friday's Early Headlines
- GDP Grows 3.2% in First Quarter of 2010 -- The Commerce Department said gross domestic product, or GDP, rose at an annual pace of 3.2% in the first three months of 2010, according to an advance read on economic growth. That compares with forecasts that GDP growth would reach 3.3%. The positive GDP reading represents the third consecutive quarter of growth, although it cooled from the 5.6% rise in the fourth quarter of 2009. "We are slightly disappointed by this, but most of the shortfall against our 4.1% forecast is in the government component, where spending fell 1.8%," Ian Shepherdson, chief economist with High Frequency Economics, wrote in an email.
- Continental, United to Announce Merger -- Continental Airlines (CAL) - Get Report and UAL's( UAUA) United Airlines are expected to announce Monday they are merging to form the world's largest airline, The Wall Street Journal reports. A Continental and UAL merger would make the airline the biggest in the world by number of passengers carried. UAL's board of directors is meeting Friday, while Continental's board is meeting Friday and Sunday to discuss the deal, the Journal reports, citing people familiar with the matter.
- Greece Aid Talks Could End This Weekend: Report -- Citing a European Commission spokesman, Reuters reports that talks between Greece, the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the EU could wrap up as soon as Saturday, a Commission spokesman said. The report also quoted French regulator Jean-Pierre Jouyet as saying a plan to help Greece would be unveiled "tonight or over the weekend" and that Greece would not default on its debts.
- Oil Continues to Spill in Gulf of Mexico -- the Deepwater Horizon, which exploded last week and is operated by BP (BP) - Get Report, continues to expel oil at a rate of 5,000 barrels a day, far more than prior estimate of 1,000 barrels a day. The spill, which is the worst since the Exxon Valdez disaster in 1989, threatens to pollute shorelines near Louisiana. Already, Omega Protein (OME) said the oil slick temporarily could have an adverse effect on its ability to operate in the fishing grounds east of the Mississippi River Delta, near its Moss Point facility.
- ICE to buy Climate Exchange For $604 million -- IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) - Get Report said Friday it has agreed to buy Climate Exchange in a deal that values Climate Exchange at about 395 million pounds, or $604 million. Under the terms of the deal, Climate Exchange shareholders will receive 7.50 pounds in cash for each share in Climate Exchange held at April 30. The transaction consideration will include $220 million that has been drawn from ICE's existing credit facilities, and the remainder from existing cash resources.
Friday's Earnings Roundup
- Chevron (CVX) - Get Report posted a first-quarter adjusted profit of $1.98 a share, which was better than the Thomson Reuters average estimate of $1.94 a share. Revenue was up 33.3% from a year ago to $48.2 billion, although that was below the consensus target of $53.2 billion.
- Constellation Energy( CEG) said it had first-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.43 a share on revenue of $3.58 billion, compared to expectations for a profit of $1.06 a share on revenue of $4.35 billion, according to Thomson Reuters. While Constellation Energy reaffirmed its 2010 earnings guidance, it lowered its 2011 earnings guidance, citing the impact of lower forward commodity prices on its generation fleet.
- Coventry Health Care( CVH) reported first-quarter adjusted earnings of 49 cents a share on revenue of $2.86 billion, compared to estimate for a profit of 32 cents a share on revenue of $2.9 billion. Looking ahead, Coventry offered in-line earnings and revenue guidance for the full year.
- Newell Rubbermaid (NWL) - Get Report notched a first-quarter adjusted profit of 25 cents a share on sales of $1.31 billion, both better than the Thomson Reuters average estimate for a profit of 18 cents a share on revenue of $1.21 billion. Looking ahead, Newell Rubbermaid upped its earnings guidance range for 2010.
-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston
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