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Greece Debt: Tuesday's Headlines

Tuesday's early headlines included European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet's early departure from Australia, igniting speculation of a Greece debt rescue.



) -- Here are the top stock market headlines for the morning of Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2010.

Tuesday's Early Headlines

  • Trichet's Travels Spark Greece Bailout Speculation -- European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet left Australia early to return to Europe, which prompted speculation Trichet flew home early to help manage Greece's severe debt problems. Trichet, who was scheduled to remain in Australia until Wednesday, returned to Europe simply because of logistics, an ECB spokesman told Reuters Tuesday. Trichet will attend a special EU Summit in Brussels Thursday, where the issue of sovereign debt will be the top issue for regulators. While debt problems in Greece, Spain and Portugal have boosted the dollar and weighed on equities, hopes of a Greece rescue pressured the dollar Tuesday.
  • Toyota Prius Recall Goes Global -- Toyota Motor (TM) - Get Free Report will recall worldwide about 437,000 hybrid cars, including the popular Prius, to fix braking problems. "We have decided to recall as we regard safety for our customers as our foremost priority," Toyota President Akio Toyoda said Tuesday at a press conference. There have been about 200 complaints in Japan and the U.S. about a delay when the brakes in the Prius were pressed in some conditions, according to The Associated Press.
  • GM Opel Unveils Restructuring Plan -- General Motors Opel division plans to invest 11 billion euros ($15.1 billion) over five years to reinvigorate the brand while cutting 8,300 jobs. In a statement on its Web site, Opel said it applied for loans and loan guarantees from the German government of 2.7 billion euros. Opel's business plan foresees Opel and its sister brand Vauxhall breaking even by 2011 and be profitable by 2012. That is predicated on economic forecasts that 13.4 million cars will be sold in Western Europe this year, 20% less than in 2007.
  • McDonald's U.S. Sales Down in January -- McDonald's (MCD) - Get Free Report said same-store sales fell 0.7%in the U.S. last month. Sales in stores open at least 13 months rose 4.3% in Europe, Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa, the restaurant chain said. Overall, same-store sales were up 2.6% and total sales rose 9.1% last month, McDonald's said.
  • Japan Airlines Sticks With American -- Japan Airlines is sticking with AMR's (AMR) - Get Free Report American Airlines, spurning an offer from Delta Air Lines (DAL) - Get Free Report to join its SkyTeam alliance. Japan Airlines, in a statement Tuesday, said it would strengthen its partnership with American Airlines and apply to the U.S. and Japanese governments for antitrust immunity on trans-Pacific routes. Both American and Delta offered JAL incentives of more than $1 billion to join their respective alliances. But it was believed that a tie-up with Delta wouldn't pass antitrust muster in the U.S., according to reports.

Tuesday's Earnings Roundup

  • Coca-Cola (KO) - Get Free Report reported a fourth-quarter profit of 66 cents a share, which was a penny worse than the Thomson Reuters average estimate. Sales were up 5.4% from a year ago to $7.51 billion, which was above the $7.21 billion consensus.
  • Biogen Idec (BIIB) - Get Free Report notched a fourth-quarter profit of $1.20 a share, which was above the average analyst target of $1.05 a share. Revenue was up 5.4% to $1.13 billion, matching estimates. Biogen Idec also offered strong earnings guidance for 2010, while revenue growth is expected to be in the mid single digits.
  • UBS (UBS) - Get Free Report swung to a profit in the fourth quarter of 1.2 billion Swiss francs ($1.13 billion), topping analysts' estimates, and said it continues efforts to stem client asset outflows. UBS, in a statement Tuesday, attributed the fourth-quarter profit, its first quarterly profit in a year, to lower costs, lower own credit charges and a tax credit. Also helping was a pretax profit rise of 40% to 1.11 billion francs at UBS' Wealth Management & Swiss Bank unit.
  • Electronic Artsundefined notched a fiscal third-quarter profit of 33 cents a share, which was above the Thomson Reuters average estimate. However, the video-game maker offered weak earnings and revenue guidance for its fiscal fourth and first quarter as well as a disappointing view for fiscal year 2011.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston


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