Courtney Raio is a Managing Director for NYSE Euronext (NYSE: NYX).
Markets closed out their fifth consecutive day higher, and the Dow closed 75 points higher on optimism over the situation in Europe as Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner met with Euro-zone officials to discuss the crisis. The Dow gained 518 points (+4.7%) and the S&P 500 was 62 points higher (+5.3%) from last Friday’s close as markets were higher every day this week.
Today was a Quad Witch Friday, meaning that contracts for stock index futures, single stock futures, stock index options, and single stock options all expired. Markets saw added volume as a result, and over 1.81 billion shares were traded on the NYSE trading floor.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner participated in a meeting with Euro-zone finance ministers today, underscoring the American concern over the debt crisis. The meeting lasted 30 minutes, and Geithner urged the leaders to speak with one voice, minimizing dissent, and to leverage the bailout fund more affectively.
The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment reading was slightly higher today, increasing 2.1 points to 57.8 in September, up from a 30-year low reading of 55.7 in August. Consumer sentiment continues to be weighed down by a weak labor market and a lack of confidence in economic policies.
A well-known NBA player is following in NFL star Chad Ocho Cinco’s footsteps. Ron Artest…er the athlete formerly known as Ron Artest, recently had a name change approved to legally change his name to Metta World Peace, meaning that Mr. World Peace will be playing for the Lakers next season.
Companies in the News:
Shares of Transatlantic Holdings Inc. traded lower (-1.57% to $48.77) after announcing that it has mutually agreed to terminate its merger agreement with Allied World Assurance Company Holdings Inc. (+2.13% to $54.61) before the market opened this morning. Berkshire Hathaway (+0.75% to $107,100.00) and Validus Holdings Ltd. (-2.13% to $25.32) are still seen as possible acquirers.
The St. Joe Company (+6.56% to $18.20) announced that it has reached an agreement with Fairholme Funds Inc. and Fairholme Capital Management LLC to allow Fairholme to acquire up to 50% of St. Joe stock. St. Joe had previously agreed to let Fairholme purchase up to 30% of St. Joe’s stock.
Shares of Patriot Coal slid (-10.26% to $12.86) after updating third quarter production this morning. Patriot Coal said that geological issues at two of its Longwall mines resulted in estimated production to be down 450k tons.
Ferro Corp. traded higher (+1.63% to $8.12) after Moody’s raised ratings on the specialty materials and chemical maker. Moody’s raised their rating from B1 to Ba3, and maintained their outlook on FOE as stable.
Cooper Industries traded lower (-1.16% to $47.65) in today’s session after reporting preliminary results for Q3 and updating FY guidance. Management now sees Q3 earnings per share within the $0.94-0.98 range and FY to be $3.75-3.82 per share, below analysts’ forecasts of $1.02 and $3.90 per share.
Shares of AAR Corp also fell (-9.40% to $20.52) after reporting Q1 earnings per share of $0.41 from continuing operations, falling short of the $0.45 per share that analysts were expecting.
The Marcus Corp traded higher (+9.86% to $11.25) after reporting earnings that beat on both the top and bottom line of analysts’ estimates for Q1. MCS reported earnings per share of $0.42 on $123 million revenue vs. consensus estimates of $0.40 per share on $116 million.
Economic Reports: None; Earnings from Lennar Corp.