Friday, July 20, 2007

Google, Caterpillar Sink Dow

After the close on Thursday, Google - for the second time in its brief 2-year existence as a public company - missed analyst expectations and sold off wildly in after-hours trading. On the open, Google (GOOG) was down 36 1/2 points, at 511.90, from the previous day's close. The stock regained some of the loss during the trading day, closing at 520.12, for a loss of 28.47.

With Google still fresh in the rear-view mirror, Caterpillar released second quarter results prior to the open, sinking the general market. The company earned $823 million, or $1.24 per share, in the three months ended June 30, down from $1.05 billion, or $1.52 per share during the same period last year. Analysts had expected a profit of $1.49 a share on revenue of $11.12 billion. The miss was staggering and shares traded lower by 3.78, closing at 83.20.

Dow 13,851.08 -149.33; NASDAQ 2,687.60 -32.44; S&P 500 1,534.10 -18.98; NYSE Composite 10,072.93 -121.08

Damage was widespread, as declining issues outpaced advancers by a 7-2 margin. New lows retook the edge over new highs for the second time in the last three sessions, 368-228.

Other issues reporting on the day were:

  • Citigroup Inc. (C): Net income rose to $6.23 billion, or $1.24 per share, in the second quarter, from $5.27 billion, or $1.05 a share, in the same period a year earlier. Analysts had sought 1.13 per share, but, shares of the nation's largest bank still were down 40 cents on the day, closing at 50.73

  • Schlumberger (SLB): Amid the dour tones of the day, the oil services company posted net income for April-June of $1.26 billion, or $1.02 per share, compared with $856.9 million, or 69 cents per share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue rose to $5.64 billion from $4.69 billion a year earlier. Analysts had expected earnings per share of 95 cents on revenue of $5.53 billion. Shares rose 3.23 to 96.68.

  • Wachovia Corporation (WB): Net earnings increased 21.1% to $2.3 billion, or $1.22 per share, from $1.9 billion, or $1.17 per share in the year-earlier period. Those results were in line with analyst expectations of 1.22 per share. The stock, however, sold off sharply, finishing the session down 1.63, at 49.98

Microsoft (MSFT) was also in line with estimates, but was punished after a series of upside surprises. Shares of the software maker declined 0.35 to 31.16 on volume that was nearly double the average.

Oil dropped 35 cents to settle at $75.57. Gold rose another $6.60 to end at $684.70, while sister silver added 3 cents to $13.40. Friday was the culmination of the best week for the metals in at least 3 months.

Monday will witness more earnings reports with a number of heavyweights, including American Express (AXP), Halliburton (HAL), Merck (MRK), Schering-Plough (SGP) and Texas Instruments (TXN).

Results thus far have been less-than-inspiring, with a fair share of misses and few clear winners. The week will be important as the majority of US companies will have reported by Friday.

Economic indicators will also be in focus, with existing home sales at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, new home sales on Thursday and a preliminary reading on GDP for the 2nd quarter out prior to the market open on Friday. Analysts are expecting GDP to show a 3.2% gain. This, on the heels of first quarter's dismal 0.7% showing, may be a bit optimistic. Anything below 2.5% may signal further weakness and precipitous losses in stocks.

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