GDP, Initial Claims: Thursday's Headlines

Thursday's early headlines include a second read on first-quarter GDP and weekly jobless claims data.
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) -- Here are the top stock market headlines for the morning of Thursday, May 27, 2010.

Thursday's Early Headlines

  • GDP Revised Lower, Jobless Claims Fall -- The Commerce Department said gross domestic product rose at a seasonally adjusted 3% annual rate in the first quarter, revised down from the advance read of 3.2%. Separately, the Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell by 14,000 to 460,000 last week, compared to forecasts claims would fall to 455,000.
  • BP Taking Wait-and-See Approach on Top Kill Procedure -- BP (BP) - Get Report has pumped heavy mud into the leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, and executives said Wednesday night that there had been no problems so far, according to a report by The Associated Press. BP CEO Tony Hayward said engineers would not know until at least Thursday afternoon whether the latest remedy was having some success, the report added. The so-called "top kill" procedure to plug the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico was said to take up to two days, and BP has said it can't predict how long it will take to determine if the operation was successful.
  • AIG Eyes Sales of American General Finance: Report -- American International Group (AIG) - Get Report is looking to divest its consumer finance unit American General Finance in an effort to raise funds to repay the U.S. government, The Financial Times reports. AIG had hired Bank of America/Merrill Lynch to restructure and sell AG, the report said, citing people close to the situation. Potential buyers, which include private-equity funds and financial groups, have been asked to submit their expressions of interest over the next few weeks, one person involved in the process told the FT.
  • China's SAFE Disputes Report of Euro Holdings Review -- China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange, which manages the country's $2.5 trillion foreign reserves, denied a news report Thursday that it is reviewing its holdings of eurozone debt and expressed confidence Europe will restore financial stability, according to a report by The Associated Press. The Financial Times, citing unidentified banking sources, said SAFE officials met recently with foreign bankers to discuss eurozone debt. "This report is groundless," the agency said on its Web site. "The European market in the past, present and future always will be one of the major investment markets for the State Administration of Foreign exchange."

Thursday's Earnings Roundup

  • Tiffany (TIF) - Get Report reported a first-quarter adjusted profit of 50 cents a share on sales of $633.6 million, compared with estimates for a profit of 37 cents a share on revenue of $611.9 million. Looking ahead, Tiffany upped its full-year earnings guidance to a range of $2.55 to $2.60 a share, up from the prior range of $2.45 to $2.50 a share and above the consensus estimate of $2.51 a share.
  • Heinz (HNZ) notched a fourth-quarter adjusted profit of 60 cents a share on revenue of $2.72 billion, compared to the Thomson Reuters average estimate for earnings of 59 cents a share on revenue of $2.75 billion. For the full-year, Heinz offered earnings guidance that was in-line with estimates and revenue guidance that was above the Thomson Reuters consensus.
  • Costco Wholesale (COST) - Get Report said it had third-quarter earnings of 69 cents a share on sales totaling $17.78 billion, above the Thomson Reuters consensus of 66 cents a share and revenue of $17.62 billion.
  • Big Lots (BIG) - Get Report reported a first-quarter profit of 68 cents a share on revenue of $1.24 billion, above the consensus for earnings of 67 cents a share on revenue of $1.23 billion. Big Lots upped its full-year earnings guidance to a range of $2.75 to $2.85 a share, compared to its prior range of $2.65 to $2.75 a share. Analysts expect a full-year profit of $2.80 a share.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston


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