Updated from 8:40 a.m. EDT(At 4:15 p.m. EDT) After the morning rush of news headlined by JPMorgan Chase's ( JPM) earnings report, there was little to focus on during the session aside from word that AIG ( AIG) sold its auto insurance unit to Zurich Financial Services for $1.9 billion. For me, personally, I've been spending my time waiting for Google's ( GOOG) earnings release immersed in the sports world, first lamenting the retirement of John Madden and then rooting for the Yankees to lose on Opening Day in their new stadium (full disclosure: I'm a die-hard Red Sox fan, and lately I need as much good news as I can get).
General Electric ( GE) will also grab a lot of attention tomorrow with its own report. GE shares are down more than 23% in 2009 on worries that GE Capital will be required to raise new capital in the near term, even though the company has argued it has a strong capital position with ample liquidity. In addition to the two Dow members, BB&T ( BBT) and Mattel ( MAT) are among those also set to report quarterly results.
JPMorgan Chase's ( JPM) first-quarter profit may have slipped 10% from a year ago, but earnings of $2.14 billion, or 40 cents a share, were still better than Wall Street was expecting. The bank also recorded revenue of $26.9 billion, compared with the Thomson Reuters estimate of $22.9 billion. Of course, it wasn't all sunshine for JPMorgan. Defaults are still rising -- credit costs amounted to $10.1 billion in the first quarter, up significantly from a year ago. But JPMorgan's investment bank pulled in a record profit of $1.6 billion on best-ever revenue of $8.3 billion. A year earlier, before JPMorgan bought the nearly collapsed investment bank Bear Stearns, that division posted a loss. So far this morning, JPMorgan shares have been on a roller coaster. After an initial jump higher, the stock pulled back by 2% and shares were lately trading around the unchanged mark. Other bank stocks -- Bank of America ( BAC), Citigroup ( C) and Wells Fargo ( WFC) -- were mixed early on. Similarly, it wasn't all good news in Nokia's ( NOK) latest earnings report. The handset maker saw first-quarter operating profit fall 96% from a year ago as mobile handset shipments dropped 19%. But shares were jumping nearly 9% early Thursday as Nokia's grim report was better than most analysts had expected and offered hints of stability. In other earnings news, Activision Blizzard ( ATVI) said that its March quarter earnings and net revenue are tracking ahead of the company's outlook, thanks to robust retail sales of its video game titles. In February, Activision provided an outlook for the March quarter that called for adjusted net revenue of $550 million and adjusted earnings of 3 cents a share. That's good news, as analysts, on average, are looking for a profit of 4 cents a share on sales of $567.7 million. Shares were up 5.4% in the premarket session.
The IPO market appears to be heating up too. After Bridgepoint Education ( BPI) priced its IPO below its expected range, language software maker Rosetta Stone ( RST) saw its IPO price at $18 a share, above the estimated $15 to $17 range. The stock will begin trading later today on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol RST. Elsewhere, The Wall Street Journal said that London hedge-fund manager Crispin Odey, who netted large returns last year by shorting U.K. banks, said in his latest monthly report that the recent market rally could be the first signs of a new bull market.