The following is a round-up of news likely to affect stock prices today:
Toyota (TM) returned to profit -- of $1.7 billion -- in the latest quarter and raised its annual earnings forecast. For the first time the company gave an estimate for the cost of the global recall -- as much as $2 billion. It also acknowledged design problems with the brakes in the Prius. Analysts warn of a grim outlook as the automaker's reputation suffers. Shares declined over 1% in premarket trade.Cisco (CSCO) late Wednesday posted a jump in fiscal second-quarter profit of $1.85 billion, or 32 cents a share, and upbeat sales of $9.8 billion. The results topped Wall Street's estimates of 35 cents a share on revenue of $9.4 billion. The company also raised its outlook for the current quarter. Shares were 2.2% higher in premarket trading.
MasterCard (MA) reported higher fourth-quarter net income of $294.4 million, or $2.24 a share, on 6% higher revenue of $1.3 billion. Analysts had forecast earnings of $2.46 a share, on average. Shares dropped 2.8% ahead of the bell.
Burger King Corp. (BKC) says its fiscal second-quarter profit rose 13% to $50.2 million, or 37 cents per share, as its value menu lured cost-conscious eaters into its restaurants. Revenue rose 2% to $654.4 million. Analysts expected earnings of 34 cents per share on revenue of $634.8 million. Shares jumped 5.7% ahead of the bell.
Kellogg (K) said Thursday its fourth-quarter net income fell slightly on higher ingredient costs and as sales declined 1% to $2.9 billion. Results beat estimates. The cereal maker also lifted 2010 outlook. Shares fell 3.6%.
Yahoo (YHOO) is selling its online help-wanted site, HotJobs, to rival Monster Worldwide (MWW) for $225 million in cash. Yahoo bought HotJobs for $439 million in 2002.
Cigna (CI) said Thursday it posted a fourth-quarter profit of $330 million, or $1.19 per share, as improved equity markets boosted a couple of discontinued businesses. Revenue fell 4% to $4.64 billion. Excluding items Cigna earned $1.03 per share, beating estimates of 96 cents per share on $4.6 billion in revenue. Shares rose 1.4% in premarket.
Visa's (V) domination of debit cards in the U.S. has helped boost its revenue to $2 billion, and earnings to $763 million, or $1.02 per share, during an economic downturn when consumers have been reluctant to spend on non-essential purchases. The company handily beat Wall Street analysts' expectations of 91 cents a share in earnings on revenue of $1.92 billion. Shares rose 2.5% in premarket trading.
Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDS.A) on Thursday reported disappointing fourth-quarter earnings due to a weak refining business, and said it will freeze its dividend in 2010 and cut 1,000 more jobs. Shares declined 2.6% before the bell.
Sony (SNE) expects a smaller annual loss after blockbuster movie releases, cost cuts and robust holiday gadget sales boosted quarterly earnings more than sevenfold. It said its net profit for the latest quarter jumped to 79.2 billion yen ($861 million) from 10.4 billion yen a year earlier on robust revenue from movies, personal computers and financial services. Shares were 1.6% lower before the bell.
Unilever NV (UL) saw fourth quarter earnings fall by 27% to $1.15 billion after its year-ago figures were boosted by a one-time gain on the sale of its Bertolli olive oil business. Shares fell nearly 4.5% ahead of the bell.
GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) reported Thursday that its fourth-quarter profit soared by 66% with a big boost from sales of swine flu vaccine.
Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) said Thursday that its January same-store sales rose 8%, slightly above estimates. Other retailers reported January same-store sales: Macy's (M) were up 3.4% -- shares jumped 4.7%, Limited Brands (LTD) rose 6% and and Big Lots (BIG) increased 5.1% among others.
Amazon (AMZN) has acquired Touchco, a start-up based in New York that specializes in touch-screen technology, a person briefed on the deal told The New York Times Wednesday.
H.J. Heinz Co. (HNZ) is unveiling the first major Ketchup packaging change. The new design has a base that's more like a cup for dipping.
Kraft Foods (KFT) is planning to sell a minimum of $4 billion in bonds in four parts on Thursday to help finance its $18.7 billion acquisition of Cadbury, The Financial Times reports.
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