August 25, 2011 on 5:15 pm | In News of the Day | Comments Off

SKY News Summary 08-25-11

Given the recent turmoil in the stock market, today’s “company news” reminds us that good progress continues within the companies that underlie the market.

New orders of durable goods for the month of July proved very healthy, even excluding the 14.6 percent increase in aircraft orders. New orders, excluding transportation, were up 0.7 percent mainly due the sharp rise in auto parts as Japan recovers from the tsunami. Excluding defense, new orders increased 4.8 percent. Shipments of manufactured durable goods rose 2.5 percent, and unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in July, up fifteen of the last sixteen months, increased $6.1billion or 0.7 percent to $869.5 billion. Inventories of manufactured durable goods in July, up nineteen consecutive months, increased $2.9 billion or 0.8 percent to $361.0 billion. This was at the highest level since the series was first published on a NAICS basis in 1992.

Sales of new residential homes continued to be anemic in July, with June’s figure significantly revised downward. There were 298,000 new homes sold in July, down 0.7 percent from the June figure of 300,000 which was revised downward by 12,000. July is up year-over-year by 6.8 percent and the supply of new homes remains constant at 6.6 months.

According to the ICSC, chain-store sales index contracted by 1.0 percent on a week-over-week basis for the week ending August 20. This is the fourth consecutive weekly decline. Most of the drop came from the discount chains.

The figure for initial jobless claims in the week ending was 417,000, an increase of 5,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 412,000. Breaking its downward trend, the 4-week moving average increased 4,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 403,500. The Department of Labor pointed to a labor union dispute at Verizon as the reason for 8,500 initial claims this week.

Company News:

Boeing and Delta Air Lines today announced an order for 100 Next-Generation 737-900ER (extended range) airplanes. The order, with a list-price value of more than $8.5 billion, is part of Delta’s fleet renewal effort to replace its less efficient domestic airplanes.

BHP Billiton Earnings

Diageo Earnings

Fifth Third introduced the Duo Card, which is a combined credit card and debit card. The bank is the first card issuer in the U.S. to offer this type of MasterCard which allows the consumer to draw on a credit line or from their own account. . Unlike traditional debit cards, the Duo Card’s signature transactions are not directly tied to the customer’s checking account, so no cash is in jeopardy if the card is stolen or compromised.

Halliburton has successfully executed the first horizontal, multistage hydraulic fracture shale gas completion in Argentina’s Neuquén Basin for Apache. Halliburton provided all major well construction and completion services for the project, resulting in the successful delivery of South America’s first horizontal and deepest shale gas well.

HP Earnings and Acquisition plans

J&J announced that its subsidiary, DePuy Orthopaedics has received 510(k) clearance from the FDA for use of TRUMATCH Personalized Solutions with the company’s SIGMA Fixed-Bearing Knee System, one of the most widely used knee systems in the world. TRUMATCH is a surgical instrumentation and computer software system that is designed to aid in knee implant positioning and procedure efficiency. TRUMATCH helps reduce costs by decreasing OR time by an average of 35 minutes. Procedures require less instrumentation and eliminate up to nine surgical steps compared to total knee replacement performed without TRUMATCH Solutions.

Medtronic Earnings

Roche announced that the FDA approved Zelboraf (vemurafenib) for the treatment of BRAF V600E mutation-positive, inoperable or metastatic melanoma, as determined by an FDA-approved test. The FDA today also approved the cobas 4800 BRAF V600 Mutation Test, a diagnostic test developed by Roche to identify patients eligible for treatment.

T. Rowe Price introduced a Floating Rate Fund (PRFRX) for individual investors. The new no-load mutual fund represents a second addition to T. Rowe Price’s lineup of bond fund offerings this year, following the launch of the Emerging Markets Local Currency Bond Fund (PRELX). Seeking high income, the T. Rowe Price Floating Rate Fund offers long-term investors potentially attractive yields and some protection against interest rate risk by investing in loans to below investment-grade companies.

UBS plans to eliminate expenses of a total of approximately CHF 2 billion from annual costs by the end of 2013. 3,500 positions will be eliminated through redundancies as well as natural attrition. UBS expects to recognize restructuring charges of approximately CHF 550 million in connection with its cost reduction plans, approximately CHF 450 million of which will be booked in the second half of 2011. The substantial majority of the expected CHF 450 million charge will be recognized in the third quarter of 2011. The restructuring charges reflect costs related both to personnel (approximately CHF 400 million) and to real estate (approximately CHF 150 million).

Sources: Census, ICSC, DOL, Boeing, BHP Billiton, Diageo, Fifth Third, Halliburton, HP, J&J, Medtronic, Roche, T. Rowe, UBS websites.

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