Courtney Raio is a Managing Director for NYSE Euronext (NYSE: NYX).
Markets closed higher as Italy moved to approve a new budget and the University of Michigan Consumer Confidence improved over last month’s reading. The Dow closed up 259 points and closed the week up 1.4% despite a 400 point drop on Wednesday as Italian Bond yields broke 7.00%. The S&P closed 24.16 points higher, and finished the week up 0.8%.
The Italian Senate today voted to approve a new budget law, as the bill now awaits the vote in the lower house which is expected tomorrow. If the vote passes in the lower house tomorrow, the new crisis government could be formed over the weekend to replace Silvio Berluscioni.
The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment reading came in at 64.2, well ahead of the consensus reading of 61.5 that analysts’ were forecasting, and up from October’s reading of 51.8. The survey indicated that consumers are not feeling better about future economic prospects, but their fear that things will get worse has dampened.
Thank you to all the past and present members of the armed service for their sacrifice to protect our rights and freedoms. Happy Veterans Day.
Companies in the News:
Christopher & Banks Corp. traded higher (+5.99% to $3.01) after announcing cost cutting initiatives, including the closure of 100 of its stores as well as 7% of corporate headquarters staff and 13% of its store operations field management team.
Shares of ConAgra Foods Inc. dipped today (-2.21% to $24.77) after UBS lowered its investment rating to neutral from buy. UBS cited consumers unwillingness to accept hire pricing as sales volume fell almost 10% in the first two months of the quarter.
The Walt Disney Company traded higher (+5.95% to $36.70) after reporting earnings after the closing bell yesterday. Disney reported Q4 earnings per share of $0.59 excluding items on $10.43 billion in revenue, beating analysts’ expectations for $0.54 earnings per share on $10.36 billion in revenue.
Shares of Dillard’s Inc. fell sharply (-12.63% to $48.20) after the apparel and home furnishing retailer reported earnings per share of $0.50 on revenue of $1.38 billion. Shares were under pressure because while sales were up 5%, margins remained flat for the quarter.
Nordstrom Inc. closed slightly lower (-0.28% to $49.48) after releasing its Q3 earnings report after the closing bell yesterday. The retailer reported Q3 earnings per share of $0.59 on $2.38 billion in revenue, both in-line with expectations. Management announced it expects FY earnings per share to be $3.05-3.10, slightly below analysts’ forecasts of $3.14 per share.
Economic Reports: None Earnings from Assured Guaranty, JC Penney, Lowe’s Cos, Tata Motors