We have been seeing volatility and volumes decline for the past two weeks. Whether this is due to the Christmas slowdown or to a genuine belief that stock volatility will be moving down in the coming months is hotly debated. More on this later.
Futures came off their lows as the People's Bank of China cut its benchmarklending rate by 27 basis points to 5.31 percent and also cut its reserve requirement.
1) Toyota lowered their fiscal year (which ends in March) operating profit guidance from a 600 billion Yen profit to a 150 billion Yen loss, well below anyone's forecast. This is only the second yearly loss since the company was founded in the 1930s, so it is getting a lot of play on the Street. Lower sales are the main issue: they cut their 2009 shipment guidance to 7.54 million units from 8.24 million.
2) GM trading down about 7 percent as Credit Suisse said what everyone on the Street already knows: that once the final deals are reached with the government it is likely the equity in GM is zero or near-zero.
3) Walgreens down 6 percent asit reported earnings below expectationsand like many retailers said it would reduce its store openings in 2009.
4) Food service company Sysco, noting that "market conditions have become progressively more difficult in recent weeks," said it expects sales to be flat to slightly negative for the quarter compared to the same period last year.
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