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Germany's SAP met analysts' forecasts for sales of new software licenses but missed expectations for earnings after a difficult first quarter in which it lost a top manager and faced a lawsuit from a rival.
Richard Sparks, equity analyst at Schaeffer’s Investment Research, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that he expects positive earnings news will continue to drive the market higher. “When we look at the expectations for earnings, we find that they’re actually quite low,” Schaeffer said Thursday. “At the beginning of the quarter, we expected 8.7% year-over-year earnings growth. That’s been ratcheted down by analysts and they’re barely expecting 3.5%. If we come in ahead of those estimates, as we have, I think we’re going to see the rally continue.”
The Dow closed at a new record as blue chip stocks were boosted by upside earnings reports, but stocks ended mixed after two notable tech names disappointed investors. JP Morgan Chase added positive momentum to the financial sector, closing at a new high after the bank reported first-quarter earnings growth of 55%.
Stocks are heading for a lower opening as some weak tech earnings worry investors. The dollar continues to fall against major currencies. Asian markets were higher overnight, but European stocks are lower. There are no big data items today but earnings could sway direction.
IBM reported first-quarter earnings of $1.21 a share, matching estimates from Thomson Financial. IBM reported first-quarter revenue of $22 billion, slightly ahead of estimates of $21.9 billion, and compared with $20.66 billion in the comparable period last year.
Stocks are set to open higher, reversing an early negative trend, after consumer inflation data showed muted increases in core inflation. However, the CPI rose at a 0.6% rate when including food and energy, its highest rise since last April. Housing starts rose 0.8%, beating analysts expectatons but below February's increase.
Stocks closed broadly lower on Wednesday as investors' hopes for a cut in interest rates diminished following the release of minutes from the Fed's policy meeting three weeks ago."I think what the market wanted to hear was that the Fed was looking to come to the rescue and add liquidity to the system, as they seemed to tip their hat to in the last FOMC announcement," Kevin Caron, market analyst at Ryan Beck, told CNBC.
0%: That's what the European Union's Commission thinks Microsoft deserves for licensing its vital communications code -- a stance that would enable Microsoft rivals to manufacture software compatible with its dominant Windows operating system. CNBC's Jim Goldman reported on the latest chapter in the seemingly never-ending antitrust saga.
Circuit City Stores said it will explore options including a sale for its Canadian unit InterTAN Inc. and cut about 3,400 store associate jobs as the retailer tries to improve its financial performance.
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Chinese computer maker Lenovo is recalling 205,000 ThinkPad computer battery packs made by Japan's Sanyo Electric because they pose a fire hazard.
Business software maker Oracle will buy Hyperion Solutions for $3.3 billion in cash, renewing a shopping spree aimed at toppling rival SAP.
Google will begin selling corporate America an online suite of software that includes e-mail, word processing, spreadsheets and calendar management, escalating the Internet search leader's invasion on technological turf traditionally dominated by Microsoft and IBM.
Excluding one-time items, profit for the company's fiscal first quarter rose to $1.826 billion, or 65 cents a share. Revenue rose 11% to $25.1 billion from $22.7 billion.
The data storage company gave a revenue forecast that was above average analyst expectations, though its net profit estimate was roughly in line.
IBM has devised a way to triple the amount of memory stored on computer chips and double the performance of data-hungry processors by replacing a problematic type of memory with a variety that uses much less space on the slice of silicon.
As Cisco Systems rides the wave of surging demand for increased bandwidth as consumers digest more and more video online, some are wondering if the networking giant will tug the rest of the tech industry in the same direction. But as interviews with analysts this morning on CNBC showed, the so-called “Cisco Effect” is up for debate.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed fractionally higher, helped by strength in Wal-Mart and Boeing, but the broader market failed to gain traction.