Market Musings of CNBC Market Maven Robert Hum
Following upbeat earnings, stocks rally for third straight day. Best 3-day winning streak for S&P 500 since late November, best 3-day winning streak for Nasdaq since early August.
The 3-day rally puts Dow, S&P 500 less than 1 percent from new record closing highs.
A momentary blip midday: Stocks briefly plummet, quickly snap back after fake AP terror Tweet. Major averages are back in the black for the month of April. The Dow rose 15 Tuesdays in a row for the first time since 1927.
The Big Stories
Apple Beats Estimates, but Delivers First Profit Drop in a Decade. Also Hikes Dividends and Buybacks (WSJ): The Silicon Valley company's results for its second fiscal quarter surpassed analysts' estimates, and Apple boosted a program to return cash to shareholders by $55 billion to $100 billion by the end of 2015. The moves, which comes as investors have been agitating for the company to return more cash to shareholders, include stock buybacks and increasing quarterly dividends. Apple's results-which included and 18% decline in profit and the slowest revenue growth since 2009-nevertheless underscored the resilience of its iPhone franchise. Sales of iPads were even stronger, with unit sales jumping 65 percent.
Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn seems pleased. Here is his statement to CNBC: "We applaud Apple's decision to borrow money and return excess capital to shareholders, an idea that was off the table only months ago. This positive development represents a more shareholder friendly capital allocation policy and demonstrates the conviction of Apple's management and board in the Company's future."
S&P'S Howard Silverblatt points out that Apple is now the largest dividend payer in the world. (not adjusted for inflation).
Markets Sink on Fake Terror Tweet (WSJ): U.S. stocks ended a tumultuous day with strong gains after a false tweet briefly sent financial markets veering on Tuesday, underscoring technology's role in tightly linking global markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly plunged Tuesday afternoon before finishing with a gain of 152.29 points, or 1.05 percent, to 14719.46. Oil also briefly dipped, while U.S. Treasury bond prices soared, after a tweet from the Associated Press's Twitter account claimed that there were two explosions in the White House and that President Barack Obama had been injured. Markets quickly swung back after the Associated Press said on its corporate website that its account had been hacked. The White House confirmed that there had been no incident.
After The Bell Sweep From CNBC's JeeYeon Park
Amgen - The bio pharmaceutical company posted earnings of $1.96 a share on revenue of $4.2 billion. Analysts expected the company to post earnings of $1.84 a share on revenue of $4.37 billion. In addition, the company said its full-year earnings would be above the midpoint of its previously announced forecast. Still, shares tumbled in extended-hours trading.
Yum Brands - The parent company of KFC and Pizza Hut posted earnings of 70 cents, excluding one-time items, beating expectations for 60 cents a share, on sales of $2.54 billion, falling short of $2.56 billion. Shares rallied in extended-hours trading.
AT&T - The telecommunications company posted earnings of 64 cents a share, in line with estimates, on revenue of $31.36 billion, missing expectations for $31.75 billion. Shares declined in extended-hours trading.
Cree - The semiconductor materials manufacturer posted earnings of 34 cents a share, matching expectations, on revenue of $349 million, edging past revenue projections for $343 million. Meanwhile, the company handed in current-quarter earnings guidance that met estimates and a revenue outlook that was in the higher end of expectations. Still, shares dropped in extended-hours trading.
Juniper Networks - The networking equipment manufacturer posted 21 cents a share, ex-items, matching forecasts, while revenue was slightly lighter-than-expected at $1.06 billion versus estimates for $1.07 billion. In addition, the company handed in a weaker-than-expected current-quarter earnings guidance, sending shares lower in extended-hours trading.
Norfolk Southern - The railroad company posted earnings of $1.41 a share on sales of $2.74 billion against expectations for $1.17 a share on revenue of $2.78 billion. Shares edged lower in extended-hours trading.
Edwards Lifesciences - The medical devices maker posted earnings of 72 cents a share, excluding one-time items, on sales of $497 million, missing expectations for 76 cents a share on revenue of $519 million. In addition, the company handed in weaker-than-expected current-quarter and full-year guidance, sending shares sharply lower in extended-hours trading.
DeVry - The for-profit education company posted earnings of 90 cents a share, excluding one-time items, on revenue of $5.09 billion, against expectations for 82 cents a share on sales of $5.17 billion. The company added that new undergraduate student enrollment fell 21 percent in the quarter. Shares declined in extended-hours trading.
FedEx - The package delivery service said it signed a seven-year, $10.5 billion agreement with the United States Postal Service. The deal calls for FedEx to carry Express Mail and Priority Mail between U.S. airports. FedEx shares advanced in extended-hours trading.
Charles Schwab - Customers of the discount brokerage were unable to access the website or log on to their accounts through mobile devices late Tuesday. Shares were lower in extended-hours trading.
Wells Fargo - The banking giant increased its quarterly dividend by 20 percent to 30 cents a share from 25 cents a share. The latest dividend increase was part of the company's 2013 capital plan that the Federal Reserve approved in March. Shares were largely unchanged in extended-hours trading.
Word on The Street
Hedgie Marc Lasry Won't Be US Ambassador to France(CNBC): Marc Lasry is staying at Avenue Capital and is no longer in the running to be the U.S. ambassador to France. In a letter to investors Tuesday, Lasry said he was "grateful to be considered" but would instead remain at the firm, which manages $11.5 billion, as its chairman and chief executive, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Crime and Punishment
The Lobbying at the center of the "Political Intelligence" controversy is getting out of that business. CNBC reports that Greenberg Traurig is leaving the business, telling CNBC "that providing gov't. relations services to an entity in the 'political intelligence' area may lead to misunderstanding and unintended use of those services even when compliant with legal and ethical standards."
This, after information provided [in part] by GT about an upcoming change in payment schedule was leaked to traders by a GT client.
US Sues Novartis for Kickbacks (Reuters): Novartis was sued on Tuesday by the United States, which accused the Swiss drug maker of using kickbacks to induce pharmacies to steer thousands of patients to its drug Myfortic, which is used for people who have undergone kidney transplants. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan said Novartis disguised the kickbacks as rebates and discounts, in a scheme that caused Medicare and Medicaid to issue tens of millions of dollars of reimbursements based on false, tainted claims.