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Midday Market Update

Stocks Lower After Earnings, Sentiment Data

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U.S. Market
Stocks were mostly lower this morning after earnings and consumer sentiment data.

Consumer sentiment fell to its lowest level in a year this month according to the Reuters/University of Michigan survey. The survey dropped to 71.3 from 72.9 at the end of December. Economists had expected an increase to 75.0. One-year inflation expectations rose to 3.4% from .3.2%.

The Chinese economy grew 7.9% year-over-year in the fourth-quarter according to new figures from the Chinese government. The report is better than 7.8% growth that had been expected by economists and represents an acceleration from the 7.4% growth reported in the third-quarter.

At midday the DowS&P 500 and Nasdaq were down 0.1%, 0.3% and 0.5% respectively.

Stocks on the Move
 General Electric (GE)  wrapped up 2012 on a strong note, delivering fourth-quarter earnings of $0.44 per share, a 13% increase over the prior year. Healthy top-line growth across the industrial segments and operating margin expansion in each segment drove the performance in the quarter. The company increased organic revenue 4% versus the year-ago quarter, with oil and gas and aviation producing revenue growth in excess of 10%. Excluding wind, industrial orders were up 7% year over year, which points to a solid start for 2013. Shares were up 2.9% at midday.

 Schlumberger (SLB) shares were up 2.9% after the firm reported  solid fourth-quarter results. Fourth-quarter revenue was $11.17 billion, up 5% from $10.61 billion in the third quarter, while pretax operating income increased 1% over the same time frame to $2.2 billion. The seasonal surge in software sales accounted for 36% of the sequential revenue increase, while 12% of the increase came from higher multiclient sales.

Shares of  Intel (INTC) plunged 6.4% today after reporting results late Thursday that  reflected the softness in the PC market. For the quarter, revenue was $13.5 billion, about flat sequentially, but down from $13.9 billion in the year-ago quarter. The fourth quarter is typically a seasonally strong one for Intel, but the firm was affected by the recent pressures on the PC market caused by both a weak macroeconomic environment and the rapid adoption of tablets. On the profitability front, gross margin came in at 58.0%, down from 63.3% in the third quarter. For full-year 2013, management noted that it expects Intel to see revenue grow in the low-single digits.

Foreign Markets
European shares were mixed on the day. In late trading, the FTSE 100 was up 1.5%, the Paris CAC was down 0.1% while Germany’s DAX was off 0.3%.

Asian markets were higher after Chinese GDP data. The Hang SengShanghai Composite and Nikkei 225 were up 1.1%, 1.4% and 2.9% respectively.

Jeremy Glaser does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.