NEW YORK (
) -- Here are the top stock market headlines for the morning of Thursday, April 29, 2010.
Thursday's Early Headlines
- H-P Buys Palm For $1.2 Billion -- Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) - Get Report will acquire Palm (PALM) for $5.70 per share in a $1.2 billion deal, giving H-P a foothold in the smartphone market it has lacked. The purchase price represents a 23% premium over Palm's closing price of $4.63 Wednesday.
- Goldman Sachs to Settle with SEC: Report -- Goldman Sachs (GS) - Get Report may soon settle its fraud case with the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to a New York Post report. "It's almost a certainty that there will be a settlement," a source told the newspaper. Another person told the Post that the bank would rather settle the fraud charges than have regulators release emails, records and other documents.
- Jobless Claims Fall to 448,000 -- The Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell by 11,000 to 448,000 for the week ending April 24, compared to economists' forecasts for a larger decline to 445,000. The four-week moving average was 462,500, an increase of 1,500 from the previous week's revised 461,000. "This is a bit disappointing," Ian Shepherdson, chief economist with High Frequency Economics, said in an email. "The Easter spike has not yet fully reversed and it is hard to look at the data for this year to date and argue with much conviction that claims are still trending downwards."
- Financial Reform Bill Goes to Debate in Senate -- Senate Republicans have relented and will allow debate to begin on the financial reform bill, having successfully blocked debate three times in as many days. "As debate begins, Republican leverage over this legislation has diminished, and the likelihood the bill will be even more onerous has increased," FBR Capital Markets analyst Paul Miller wrote in a research note. "We believe this bill can be signed into law by the end of May, and we expect financial stocks to be under continued pressure as investors gain a greater understanding of the implications of this legislation," he added.
- Yellen To Be Nominated as Fed's Vice Chair -- President Obama is set to name Janet Yellen as vice chairwoman of the Federal Reserve and also fill two other board vacancies, say reports. Yellen is president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. As vice chair, she would be the second-highest ranking Fed official to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who has begun a second term.
Thursday's Earnings Roundup
- Aetna (AET) reported a first-quarter adjusted profit of 77 cents a share, a nickel better than estimates. Revenue of $8.54 billion was slightly below the $8.59 billion consensus. Looking ahead, Aetna upped its full-year earnings guidance to a range of $2.75 to $2.85 a share, above the Thomson Reuters average estimate of $2.72 a share.
- Baidu (BIDU) - Get Report posted first-quarter earnings of $2.02 a share on revenue of $189.6 million, blowing past the Thomson Reuters average estimate of $1.50 a share on revenue of $180 million.
- Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) - Get Report notched a first-quarter profit of 56 cents a share, a nickel better than analysts' estimates. Revenue of $4.81 billion was also above consensus. However, Bristol-Myers offered weak full-year earnings guidance, as its range of $2.10 to $2.20 a share was below the $2.22-a-share Thomson Reuters consensus.
- Cardinal Health (CAH) - Get Report said it had a third-quarter adjusted profit of 61 cents a share, above the consensus target of 57 cents a share. Revenue of $24.3 billion was slightly below the $24.7 billion target. Looking ahead, Cardinal offered in-line earnings guidance for fiscal years 2010 and 2011.
- ConocoPhillips (COP) - Get Report reported first-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.47 a share, which was above the $1.38-a-share consensus. Revenue totaled $44.8 billion, ConocoPhillips said.
- Exxon Mobil (XOM) - Get Report said it earned $1.37 a share, excluding items, in the first quarter, coming up short of the $1.41-a-share average analyst target. Revenue of $90.3 billion was also below consensus.
- Kellogg (K) - Get Report posted a first-quarter profit of $1.09 a share, well above the consensus of 94 cents a share. Revenue of $3.32 billion was better than the $3.29 billion analysts were looking for.
- Motorola (MOT) said it had a first-quarter profit of 3 cents a share, surprising analysts who expected a loss of a penny a share. Revenue of $5.04 billion was slightly below the consensus of $5.1 billion. Looking ahead to the second quarter, Motorola expects adjusted earnings of 3 cents to 6 cents a share, compared with the Thomson Reuters average estimate of 4 cents a share.
- Procter & Gamble (PG) - Get Report posted a third-quarter adjusted profit of 83 cents a share, a penny better than Wall Street's forecast. Revenue of $19.2 billion was below the $19.5 billion consensus. P&G raised the low end of its guidance range for full-year net earnings by 4 cents a share to a range of $4.06 to $4.12. Analysts are targeting earnings of $4.14 a share.
-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston
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