On The Fly: Top stock stories for Friday
Stocks were mixed for most of the session, with the S&P and Nasdaq higher and the Dow held down by the weight of both IBM (IBM) and American Express (AXP). Both blue chips struggled following their mixed earnings reports. The averages drifted throughout most of the day, but the Dow eventually crossed into positive ground [before ending the day with a narrow gain/loss]. A government shutdown may greet investors when they return on Monday if a last minute deal is not brokered by the end of the day, while the earnings season will be kicking into high gear next week with many more S&P members set to report. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index fell to a 6-month low of 94.4 in the preliminary January report. In energy news, Baker Hughes reported that the U.S. rig count is down 3 from last week to 936 rigs. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of two Dow members - IBM and American Express - are weighing down the blue chip index after releasing their earnings reports last night. IBM reported its first constant currency revenue growth since 2012, but the stock still slipped 4% after Big Blue's FY18 adjusted EPS view of "at least $13.80" fell short of the consensus forecast of $13.92 per share. Meanwhile, Credit Suisse analyst Moshe Orenbuch said that American Express' core EPS was slightly below his $1.50 estimate as well as the consensus forecast of $1.54. American Express, which guided to FY18 revenue growth of 7%-8% and gave an earnings forecast whose midpoint is nearly in-line with expectations, fell 1.8%... Another Dow member dragging on the index again today is General Electric (GE), which is seeing its tough week continue with another 3% decline. Given General Electric's current "cash squeeze" and growing liquidity pressures, the company may ultimately be forced to raise equity capital, Deutsche Bank analyst John Inch said in a new note to investors on the stock... Meanwhile, Facebook (FB) shares were in focus after Bloomberg reported that the social media network has decided not to bid for the National Football League's Thursday night football rights. The company has bid for the NFL's Thursday games in the past, Bloomberg noted. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was NuCana (NCNA), which surged 41.5% in New York after it reported "promising" clinical data on Acelarin for the treatment of advanced biliary tract cancer. Also higher was Acorda Therapeutics (ACOR), which jumped 8.8% after Bloomberg reported that Biogen (BIIB) and Belgium's UCB are among the companies considering bids for the company. Among the noteworthy losers was Inphi (IPHI), which dropped 9.4% and was downgraded at BofA Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley after the company said it sees Q1 remaining "challenging" due to ongoing China slowdown. Also lower was McCormick (MKC), which slid 3.6% after Deutsche Bank analyst Rob Dickerson downgraded it to Sell and lowered his price target for the shares to $98 from $103. INDEXES: The Dow rose 53.91, or 0.21%, to 26,071.72, the Nasdaq gained 40.33, or 0.55%, to 7,336.38, and the S&P 500 advanced 12.24, or 0.44%, to 2,810.28.