Several factors helping stocks this morning: oil continues to drop, lots of legislation moving through Congress, and several important companies reaffirming full year earnings.
After the close, Washington Mutual reported earnings notably below expectations. The bad news is that there is more credit deterioration, which is creating more provisions for losses. The good news is the company felt they had "sufficient capital", with $40 b of available liquidity at the end of the quarter, and that 2008 would be the peak year of loss provisioning.
Elsewhere, earnings are coming in fast, and what you want to look for here is the frequent recurrence of the word, "reaffirms full year guidance."
1) Two slightly different results from two aerospace giants. Boeing was a bit light on top and bottom line in what one analyst called a "messy" quarter, though they did reaffirm their full year guidance for 2008 and 2009. They had previously announced they would take a charge for a delayed military plane contract. They cited strong global demand for their products and services.
General Dynamicsdid beat on top and bottom line, and guided higher for the full year, $6.00-$6.05 from $5.55-$5.65.
2) Whirlpool beat on top and bottom line and reaffirmed full year guidance (they had lowered guidance in April). Still, this was impressive, given that they had significantly higher material and oil costs. North American sales declined 4 percent from the prior year. But sales in Europe were up 17 percent, much of it due to currency gains. Up 8 percent pre-open.
3) Pfizerbeat by a penny and beat on the topline, they too reaffirmed full year guidance.
4) McDonald'sbeat, and international sales continue strong. U.S. comp sales were up 3.4 percent, Europe up 7.4 percent, Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa up 5.5 percent.
5) A bit of a surprise from wholesaler Costco. They pre-announced earnings "well below" consensus of $1.00, due largely to higher inflation costs. They particularly noted the pressure to hold prices, despite cost increases. This is creating pressure on rival BJ's Wholesale, which is down 9 percent pre-open.
6) Finally, watch the housing bill. The House is expected to vote on it today, and the President has dropped his opposition to it. Fannie and Freddie trading up, as they would be beneficiaries.
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