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Weak Jobs Data: Friday's Headlines

Friday's early headlines include the government's jobs report for January, which showed an unexpected loss of 20,000 jobs.



) -- Here are the top stock market headlines for the morning of Friday, Feb. 5, 2010.

Friday's Early Headlines

  • Economy Loses 20,000 Jobs in January -- The Labor Department said that the U.S. economy lost 20,000 jobs last month, disappointing economists who had expected a slight gain in employment. The December payrolls data was revised from a loss of 85,000 jobs to greater decline of 150,000 jobs. On the positive side, the unemployment rate fell to 9.7% from 10%, the lowest rate since August.
  • Toyota Chief: No Decision on Prius Brakes -- Toyota (TM) - Get Free Report President Akio Toyoda apologized Friday for the global recalls at the automaker and said he would lead a committee that would focus on quality control. Toyoda said the company was still deciding what to do to fix braking problems with the popular Prius hybrid, The Associated Press reports. The braking problems on the Prius came to light after Toyota began a massive global recall because of sticking has pedals. The Prius wasn't part of this recall.
  • European Bourses Tumbled on Debt Fears -- European debt worries and concerns over jobs in the U.S. send shares in Europe almost 2% lower. Markets sank as the cost of insuring the sovereign debt of Greece, Portugal and Spain against default hit new record levels, sparking fears that debt issues could halt a global recovery or even send the global economy back into recession.
  • T-Mobile USA Reportedly May Be Spun Off -- Deutsche Telekom (DT) - Get Free Report is weighing an initial public offering or spinoff of T-Mobile USA, the fourth-largest U.S. wireless provider, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. Deutsche Telekom recently has held discussions with several banks, including Deutsche Bank, about underwriting an IPO for the unit, sources told the paper. According to these people, the most likely scenario for Deutsche Telecom would be to sell about 20% of the division to investors and retain the rest.
  • Air Products Bids $7.1 Billion for Airgas -- Air Products (APD) - Get Free Report made an unsolicited $60 offer to buy rival Airgas (ARG) after previous overtures were rejected. Air Products said Friday the offer is a 38% to Airgas' closing stock price Thursday of $43.53. The total value of the offer is about $7 billion, including $5.1 billion of equity and $1.9 billion of debt. Airgas said its board would review the proposal with its financial and legal advisors and advised shareholders to "take no action at this time."
  • UBS to Reorganize Struggling U.S. Wealth Management -- Swiss bank UBS (UBS) - Get Free Report is reorganizing its U.S. wealth management division in an attempt to stem outflows, Reuters reports. UBS said Friday that Robert McCann and Robert Mulholland, the recently appointed heads of its wealth management unit, have outlined broad plans for a restructuring and management reshuffle.

Friday's Earnings Roundup

  • Weyerhaeuser (WY) - Get Free Report posted a fourth-quarter adjusted loss of 52 cents a share, which was wider than the loss of 38 cents a share that analysts had predicted, according to Thomson Reuters. Revenue dropped 18% from a year ago to $1.46 billion, although that was above consensus.
  • Aetna (AET) reported fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of 40 cents a share, below the Thomson Reuters average estimate for a profit of 42 cents a share. Revenue was up 9% to $8.7 billion, which was slightly ahead of consensus. Looking ahead, Aetna offered weak guidance for 2010, saying it expects earnings of $2.55 to $2.65 a share. That's below the Thomson Reuters average estimate of $2.83 a share.
  • Tyson Foods (TSN) - Get Free Report notched a fiscal first-quarter profit of 42 cents a share, which was well above the average analyst estimate of 18 cents a share. Sales were up 1.7% from a year ago to $6.63 billion, which also exceeded estimates.
  • Lear (LEA) - Get Free Report said net income was $1.23 billion in the fourth quarter, including restructuring and other items, which swung from a year-ago loss of $688 million. Revenue was up 5.5% from a year ago to $2.74 billion. Looking ahead, Lear offered weak revenue guidance for 2010. Lear's revenue range of $10.2 billion to $10.7 billion is below the Thomson Reuters average estimate of $10.87 billion.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston


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