Today's trading was like the love interest from school that got away, but at the last minute came back. Things were looking great with a near 200 point rally on the heels of much better than expected new home sales and after durable goods posted a gain rather than another loss.
But the Treasury auction followed the UK's disappointing lead and the markets fell deep into negative territory. A late-afternoon recovery came out of nowhere, probably on funds buying in with end-of-the-day orders. When the closing bell rang, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 90 points, or about 1.2 percent, to close at 7,750.
American Express (AXP) was hit with the equivalent of a downgrade today. JPMorgan re-initiated coverage of he stock today, but the rating was re-initiated with an "underperform" rating. It used to have an outperform rating. The call was deemed as way late but the market took a chunk out of it. This was down 2% at $13.59 shortly before the close.
American International Group (AIG) has a "going concern" note in the annual report of its International Lease Finance Corp. airplane leasing unit. This is as its survival is in doubt because it needs to raise additional financing from its parent or from another lender. AIG shares were down 13% at $1.20 shortly before the close.
Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) has had its ratings outlook revised to "Negative" from "Stable" along with its subsidiaries. The good news is that the "AAA/A-1+" ratings on the counterparty credit ratings were maintained, at least for now. Mr. Buffett's stock was down almost 2% at $86,911.01 late in the day.
DryShips (DRYS) posted $0.43 EPS and a 6.6% year over year decline in revenues to $217.9 million; estimates were $0.66 EPS and $209.6 million in revenues. This is also the company's Q4-2008 report, so it is a bit late in the quarter when you consider that this is a December-end report. Shares were down 16% at $4.64 shortly before the close.
IBM (IBM) was down over 1% late in the day on layoffs. Big Blue is set to send some 4,700 services worker jobs to India. The number may ultimately hit 5,000 depending on which report is accurate.
Procter & Gamble (PG) was touted last night by Jim Cramer on CNBC's MAD MONEY as a dividend grower with a current yield of 3.4%. Cramer thinks the company will raise its dividend and it may be a winner in the dollar devaluation ahead. Shares were up almost 1% at $47.45 shortly before the close.
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