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2.7%  Q1 GDP    4.57%  avg. 30-year mortgage     9.5%  Unemployment

Wall Street Opens Strongly Despite Poor Earnings Reports

The markets opened up across the board today as traders anticipate passage of President Obama's $825 billion economic stimulus bill, which is scheduled for a vote in the House today.

In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is up about 130 points, or about 1.6 percent.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are both up more than 2 percent.

The bad earnings news continues today:

-- Boeing, the world's second-largest airplane-maker and the biggest U.S. exporter, swung to a fourth-quarter loss, as it was crippled by a machinist's strike throughout the second half of 2008.

For the quarter, Boeing reported a $56 million loss, compared to profits of $1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007.

The reason: Boeing delivered 50 planes during the last three months of 2008, compared to 112 in the same period of 2007. Boeing is banking much of its future on its new, twice-delayed Dreamliner 787.

Boeing, however, told analysts today that it believes it is back on track and forecast higher revenue and earnings this year.

-- ConocoPhillips, the nation's third-largest energy company, reported a staggering $32 billion loss in the fourth quarter of 2008, as the company was hit by a $26 billion goodwill writedown on the value of exploration assets.

Even without the writedown, however, fourth-quarter earnings were down from $4.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007 to $1.9 billion in the last three months of 2008, thanks to the plummeting price of crude oil, which hit a peak of $147 per barrel in July and is now trading in the $40s. ConocoPhillips is the first of the big oil companies to report earnings.

-- Wells Fargo, the nation's biggest writer of sub-prime mortgages, reported a $2.8 billion fourth-quarter loss, compared to earnings of $1.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007. Wells Fargo, however, said it wrote its sub-prime mortgages while keeping in mind borrowers's ability to pay even after rates reset.

-- AT&T, the nation's largest telecommunications provider, reported that its fourth-quarter profits were down 24 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2007.

AT&T briskly added wireless subscribers, partly thanks to its offering of Apple's iPhone, but AT&T pays hundreds of dollars in up-front subsidies for each iPhone sold, which it makes back over the course of a two-year subscription.

-- Frank Ahrens
The Ticker is Twittering!

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 28, 2009; 9:48 AM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, earings, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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