Courtney Raio is a Managing Director for NYSE Euronext (NYSE: NYX).
Markets closed up in a quiet pre-holiday session, leaving the S&P positive on the year, with no new news from Europe and an anemic reaction to disappointing capital goods results.
The Senate and the House of Representatives passed a $33 billion measure to keep the payroll tax rate at 4.2% through February. It had been slated to increase on Jan. 1 to 6.2%. The temporary fix lets lawmakers end the weeks long standoff that in the end produced only another inconclusive truce in a fiscal policy debate set to rage straight through the 2012 election season and beyond.
Durable Goods orders rose 3.8% to $206.99 billion in November which was more than expected, but the gain was driven mostly by strong demand for civilian airplanes. Disappointing investors was the fact that new orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft dropped by 1.2% vs. an expected gain of 1.0%. Personal income and spending were slightly lower than expected at +0.1% each as wages continue to be weak and Americans took advantage of deep discounts. New Homes Sales increased 1.6% to 315k in November.
All the best to you and your families for a safe and happy holiday!
Companies in the News:
Eastman Kodak rose $0.06/+9.5% to $0.69 after announcing that the board elected general counsel Laura Quatela to serve as president alongside current President Philip Faraci. The management shake-up, along with the sale of the company’s Gelatine subsidiary, boosted the stock 19% to $0.75 cents in after-hours trading last night.
SunPower (+$0.11/+1.9% to $6.00) agreed to acquire Total SA's (+$0.86/+1.7% to $50.48) solar energy unit , Tenesol, for $165.4 million, in a deal that will expand SunPower’s presence in large-scale projects. Under the deal Total, Tenesol’s biggest shareholder, has agreed to acquire an additional 18.6 million SunPower shares in a private placement for $8.80 each, a roughly 50% premium to Thursday's close. The move raises Total's stake in SunPower to roughly 66%.
Rambus Inc. shares rose $0.91/+12.5% to $8.21 after reaching a five-year patent license agreement with Broadcom Corp. (-$0.02/-0.1% to $29.76) covering some of the technology used in the wireless chip maker's products. Rambus said the deal with Broadcom settles all outstanding claims between the two companies.
Mead Johnson (-$3.47/-5.1% to $65.29) continued to fall today following the recall of some of its Enfamil baby formula from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. after the death of a Missouri infant who tested positive for Cronobacter, a bacteria that has sometimes been linked to rare illnesses in newborns and has been found in milk-based powdered baby formula.
Economic Reports:S&P Case Shiller Home Price Index (-0.34% MoM expected) at 9:00 a.m.; Consumer Confidence (58.6 expected), Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index (5 expected) at 10:00 a.m.; Dallas Fed Manufacturing Index (4.5 expected) at 10:30 a.m. Earnings None