Dow higher on retail sales data, Citigroup, Apple in focus

16th Apr 2012, 2:51 pm by Joyanta Acharjee
Dow higher on retail sales data, Citigroup, Apple in focus

U.S. equity markets were mixed Monday afternoon with better-than-expected retail sales data boosting optimism even as a slide in shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) dented gains.

As at 2.35pm EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.90% at 12,964.86, the S&P 500 was up 0.28% at 1,374.23 while the Nasdaq was down 0.38% at 3,000.22.

In corporate news, Citigroup (NYSE:C) shares were up after the bank reported a decline in first quarter profit, but still beat analyst expectations when factoring in certain accounting adjustments.

For the three months that ended March 31, Citigroup earned $2.93 billion, or 95 cents per share in the first quarter, including $1.3 billion of negative impact for credit value adjustments and related costs, as well as a $477 million gain from minority investments.

Excluding items, the company said it earned $1.11 per share, up 7 percent from a year ago.

Revenue during the quarter, including special items, was $19.4 billion. Excluding the items, revenue was up 1 percent from a year earlier, to $20.2 billion.

Analysts polled by FactSet Research had expected the bank to report earnings of $1.01 per share, on revenue of $19.93 billion in the quarter.

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) will report earnings later in the week.

Shares of Apple fell over 3%, extending their slide into a fifth straight session on worries that phone carriers may start to discount handsets.

Gannett (NYSE:GCI) shares were down more than 9% after the newspaper publisher said first quarter earnings of 28 cents per share dropped 24% from the same period last year.

Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT) Monday reported that first-quarter net income fell 53% on 2.5% lower sales.

The maker of Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels toy cars said that earnings were impacted by costs related to last October's $680-million acquisition of U.K.-based HIT Entertainment, the company behind Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder.

For the quarter ended March 31, profit fell to $7.8 million, or 2 cents per share, from $16.6 million, or 5 cents, in the year-
earlier period. Revenue slipped to $928.4 million from $951.9 million.

A survey of analysts by FactSet Research produced a consensus estimate of 7 cents per share on $986 million of revenue.

Broker Charles Schwab Corp. (NASDAQ:SCHW) Monday posted a 20 percent drop in first-quarter earnings as fees fell and compensation expenses rose, but the results met analyst expectations.

This week, earnings reports from 84 of the companies in the S&P 500, and 12 of the 30 companies in the Dow Jones Industrial average are on tap.

Shares of Baxter (NYSE:BAX) also dropped Monday after the company said the FDA requested additional information to complete a review of a drug being developed by the company with Halozyme Therapeutics (NASDAQ:HALO).

On the economic front, retail sales rose 0.8% in March, beating analyst expectations of 0.3%.

An index of manufacturing activity in New York State, however, fell in April to 6.6, much lower than expected, from 20.2 in March, according to the New York Federal Reserve bank.

U.S. business inventories rose 0.6% in February, following a 0.7% increase in January, according to the Commerce Department.


On the NYMEX, oil futures fell 77 cents to $102.03 a barrel while gold futures fell $10.50 to $1,648.40 an ounce.


European stocks were higher with the FTSE 100 rising 0.8%, the DAX adding 0.6% and the CAC 40 advancing 0.8%.

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