Shares of Apple Inc. (AAPL) were higher in trading ahead of Wall Street's opening, following a near 9-point gain on Tuesday. The Cupertino, Calif.-based computer maker reported stellar earnings earlier in the week and announced several new computer models on Tuesday, along with a new type of computer mouse, which allows users to manipulate what they see on the screen by pinching, swiping and using other gestures, similar to the control mechanism made popular on the screen of Apple's iPhone.

Aircraft-maker Boeing Inc. (BA) reported Wednesday it lost $1.6 billion in the third quarter, as charges related to delays on its new 787 and revised 747 jets took a toll on profits. The Chicago-based company also slashed its profit forecast for the year. Boeing shares fell more than 2 percent in pre-market trading to $50.70 a share.


Sun Microsystems Inc. (JAVA) fell Tuesday after it announced the company will cut more than 3,000 workers ahead of its merger with rival software-maker Oracle Corp. (ORCL). The $7.4 billion deal still requires approval by the European Commission. Sun made the disclosure in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday.

KeyCorp (KEY) reported a wider loss in the third quarter as the housing crisis continued to take its toll on the Cleveland-based banker. Shares of the company slipped nearly 3 percent in after-hours trading ahead of Wall Street's opening bell. KeyCorp lost $438 million, or 52 cents a share, compared with a loss of $48 million, or 10 cents a share, during the same quarter a year ago. Analysts in a Thomson Reuters survey had expected on average loss of 41 cents a share.

Drug maker Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) turned to profit in third quarter, earning $948.1 million, or 86 cents a share. Excluding restructuring and other costs, Lilly earned $1.20 a share. Analysts expected $1.02 a share. A year ago, the Indianapolis company lost $456.6 million, or 43 cents a share, after accounting for legal costs to settle government investigations into its Zyprexa schizophrenia drug. Lilly shares were higher in pre-market activity, up more than 1.5 percent to $35.80 a share.

More earnings in brief:
  • Morgan Stanley (MS) posted its first quarterly profit in a year, earning $757 million, or 38 cents a share, for the third quarter. Though down sharply from the year-ago profit of $7.7 billion, or $7.38 a share, this year's third-quarter results beat analyst estimates of 30 cents, according to a poll by Zacks.com.
  • Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) doubled its third-quarter profit compared to a year ago. The San Francisco banking giant reported earnings of $3.2 billion, or 57 cents a share.
  • Investment-banker Piper Jaffray Cos. (PJC) reported it earned $9.7 million, or 47 cents a share. A year ago, the Minneapolis-based firm posted a loss of $27.5 million, or $1.75 a share.

Select analyst calls:
  • RBC Capital Markets commenced coverage of Travelers Cos. (TRV) and Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP) as Outperform and Paychex Inc. (PAYX) as Market Perform.
  • Lexmark International (LXK) raised to Neutral at JPMorgan.
  • Barclays (BCS) started as Outperform at FBR.
  • Brinker International Inc. (EAT) cut to Neutral at Goldman Sachs.




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