Bob Pisani is off; this post was written by CNBC producer Robert Hum.
U.S. markets are clinging to their gains this week, as money continues to flow into U.S. stocks. The Dow is up 1 percent this week while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq rise 0.8 percent. The Dow is poised for its 10th weekly gain over the past 11 weeks.
The picture is not as encouraging overseas in Asia though after China tightened rates and as inflation fears have persisted all week. Asian stocks took a beating this week: Taiwan down 5.9 percent, Korea down 4.6 percent, Singapore down 4.2 percent, Thailand down 3.6 percent, Indonesia down 3.0 percent. It was the worst week for Korea’s Kospi, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and Singapore’s Straits Times indexes since May.
A defiant Mubarak isn’t roiling the markets today…so far at least. After the Egyptian President shocked his citizens and the world that he will not leave his office immediately, and instead remain in office until a successor is elected, overseas markets have traded fairly calmly. Most Asian and European markets are making just fractional moves on the day.
Still, the uncertainty over in Egypt is sending the dollar higher again, extending its rally from the past few days. The Dollar Index comfortably sitting at its highest level since January 20. Meanwhile, crude oil is edging upand approaching $87 a barrel.
Nokia formally announced a set of strategic initiatives, including a partnership with Microsoft to include the software maker’s mobile operating system on the Finnish phone maker’s smartphones. Nokia has struggled as rivals like Apple and Google have captured market share with their popular iPhone and Android platforms.
Despite that announcement, Nokia shares are plunging 9 percent today as it also revealed a reorganization of its leadership team and cautioned this year and next will be “transition years.” Long-term operating margins are seen around 10 percent, slightly below the 11 percent margins seen last quarter.
Strong demand for IPOs continues. Kinder Morgan raises $2.9 billion after pricing its IPO at $30, above the expected price range of $26-$29. The private equity-backed firm, also sold more 19 percent more shares than expected (95.5 million vs. 80 million expected), making it the biggest energy IPO in 13 years. The company will trade at the NYSE under ticker “KMI.”
Kraft Foods falls 2 percent after reporting earnings in line with estimates. Organic revenues grew 6 percent, but operating margins were flat as higher prices offset higher costs. The standout was growth in emerging markets, which saw organic revenues grow 17 percent, mostly a result of very strong volumes.
Looking ahead, CEO Irene Rosenfeld expects “input cost inflation and persistent consumer weakness” to continue in “many markets.” The food maker sees organic revenue growth of at least 5 percent in 2011, and expects earnings to grow 11 percent-13 percent. That’s a bit of a disappointment from its earlier forecast.
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