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Today's Early Flood Of Good News/Bad News

There's a lot of earnings and economic news out already this morning, so The Ticker will tick down the two lists to give readers a handy-dandy handle on the day.

The Good News (such as it is):

- Drug king Merck reported a surprise fourth-quarter profit, beating estimates, despite a drop in sales. So that means profits came from cost-cutting, which always has a floor.

- UPS, the world's largest shipping carrier, swung to a fourth-quarter profit, but sales slid, leading the company to freeze management salaries and suspend employer contributions to 401(k). Hmm. Maybe this goes under the Bad News heading.

- Pending home sales jumped 6.3 percent in December, compared with November, according to the National Association of Realtors. But, of course, this good news is not unqualified: Buyers were scooping up houses being offered at fire-sale prices.

The Bad News:

- PNC Financial Services is cutting 5,800 jobs after swinging to a fourth-quarter loss while absorbing its purchase of National City Corp.

- Liz Claiborne, hammered like most retailers, surveyed its holiday damage and decided to cut 725 jobs, or about 8 percent of its workforce.

- Motorola reported a stunning $3.6 billion fourth-quarter loss, suspended its dividend and canned its chief financial officer, perhaps unsurprisingly.

- Dow Chemical lost $1.55 billion in the fourth quarter, the conclusion to a tough year that included a costly acquisition of competitor Rohm & Haas and the pullout by the Kuwaiti government of a $17.4 billion joint venture that would have given Dow about $7 billion.

-- Frank Ahrens
The Ticker is Twittering!

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 3, 2009; 10:44 AM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow, Liz Claiborne, Merck, Motorola, PNC, UPS, home sales  
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Next: Schumer Favors Guarantees Over 'Bad Banks' Plan


I like the idea of making bankers pay if they make bad decisions on loans. I also feel we should keep a much tighter watch on them because they are not responding to the taxpayers money use wisely. Every time they pull something that is not in our (taxpayer) favor, they should be fined. either reduce the amt of money or the CEO can pay out of his own pocket since he is the controlling factor.

Posted by: janwhite30 | February 3, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

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