The story is on international growth today. Marriott beat, and along with everyone else on the planet reported stronger revenues (revenue per available room, or RevPAR, in this case) internationally than domestically: up 9.2 percent vs. 6.2 percent.
First quarter guidance a tad below expectations. Remember, Starwood cut its 2008 forecast a short while ago.
Talk about international growth: look at Goodyear . Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America grew sales 20 percent.Sales grew 10 percent in North America (but there was a strike in 2006, so sales are higher than they otherwise might have been).
Ingersoll Rand : As with most international companies, they are expecting slow growth in North America and (surprisingly) Western Europe and "brisk growth" in Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America. Ingersoll gets about 45 percent of its earnings overseas. Remember, Ingersoll Rand has gone big into climate control technologies (about 30 percent of their sales), so the slowdown in housing is definitely affecting them. Guiding current quarter and the full year a bit above analyst estimates.
Lehman cut estimates for brokerage firms (Bear Stearns, Goldman, Merrill, and Morgan Stanley). They particularly cut Merrill's estimates for the first quarter, from $0.91 to $0.19 (!). They are following the lead of Bank of America, who cut estimates earlier in the week.
Goldman upgrades the trucking sector on the belief that the business is beginning to stabilize (even though Goldman keeps insisting we are now in or soon will be in a recession).
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