Top 10 News Items 08/20 - 08/24: FOMC Hints at Easing; Mega Healthcare Merger; Apple's New Milestone; Early Facebook Supporter Sells

August 24, 2012 4:16 PM EDT
  1. The FOMC released the minutes for a meeting held on July 31st - August 1st. One of the comments from the report that stuck out the most was: "Many members judged that additional monetary accommodation would likely be warranted fairly soon unless incoming information pointed to a substantial and sustainable strengthening in the pace of the economic recovery."

    On Thursday, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said the FOMC was no longer relevant. Bullard cited recent, positive economic data in the U.S. and the rally in the stock market.

    Click here for more full release.

  2. Two notable mergers from the week:
    • Aetna (NYSE: AET) said it entered a deal to acquire Coventry Health Care (NYSE: CVH) for $27.30 in cash and 0.3885 Aetna common shares, amounting to about $42.08 as of last Friday's closing Aetna price. Click here for more; and

    • Health Care REIT (NYSE: HCN) announced a deal to acquire Sunrise Senior Living (NYSE: SRZ) for $14.50 per share in an all cash transaction. For more on the deal, Click here.
  3. Though there were many, two of the most notable earnings reports came from Dell and peer Hewlett-Packard:
    • On Tuesday, Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL) reported adjusted EPS of 50 cents on sales of $14.5 billion, compared with expectations calling for EPS of 45 cents and sales of $14.65 billion. The company also lowered full-year 2012 EPS expectations to $1.70, from $2.13 before.

    • H-P (NYSE: HPQ) produced EPS of $1.00 on sales of $29.7 billion for its third quarter report, mixed to consensus views. H-P's EPS came straight in-line with guidance issued earlier in the month. For more on H-P's results, click here.
  4. Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) reached another all-time high this week, hitting $674.88 on Tuesday.

    The rise came as sentiment is full into Apple's September 12th event, which should culminate with the debut of its next iPhone. Other speculation surrounds whether a smaller iPad will make an appearance at the event.

    Apple's new high comes as CEO Tim Cook is celebrating his first full year in the role. Since taking over last August, Cook has seen Apple's stock price rise over 78 percent and instituted a well-deserved dividend policy for investors.

  5. Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) reported second-quarter earnings of 20 cents per share on sales of $10.55 billion, missing consensus views calling for EPS of 39 cents and sales of $10.86 billion. In addition, the company named Hubert Joly as its new President, Chief Executive Officer, and a member of its Board of Directors.

  6. Baidu, Inc. (Nasdaq: BIDU) fell over 6 percent on Thursday amid comments and a price target cut at Deutsche Bank. The firm cited increased competition from Qihoo 360 (Nasdaq: QIHU) in the Chinese Internet search segment.

  7. On Wednesday, eBay's (Nasdaq: EBAY) PayPal entered a parntership with Discover (NYSE :DFS) for payments at all U.S. locations the Discover card is accepted, with potential for international expansion. As of the release, Discover is accepted at over 7 million domestic locations, or about two terminals per square mile in the land-only portion of the contiguous United States.

  8. Tuesday, Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) shares closed about 4.3 percent lower following the late-Monday disclosure of a large sale from investor Peter Thiel.

    Thiel said he unloaded over 20 million shares of Facebook on August 16th and 17th.

  9. Autodesk, Inc. (Nasdaq: ADSK) was crushed Friday following its second-quarter 2013 report late Thursday. The company reported EPS of 48 cents on sales of $568.7 million, missing expectations calling for EPS of 49 cents and sales of $593.1 million. The company trimmed sales and margin growth expectations for fiscal 2013.

    Additionally, Autodesk said it would undergo a restructuring plan as it continues the shift into cloud and mobile computing. The company anticipates taking a pre-tax charge in the range of $50 million to $60 million in connection with the restructuring. Approximately $40 million to $45 million of the pre-tax charges will be taken in the third quarter of fiscal 2013. Most of the remaining charge will be taken in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013.

  10. Tuesday, Fifth Third (Nasdaq: FITB) said the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System did not object to the proposed capital actions through March 31, 2013 included in Fifth Third’s capital plan submitted in June under the Comprehensive Capital & Analysis Review process. The bank also announced a 100 million stock buyback plan and could boost its dividend to 10 cents per quarter, a 25 percent increase from the current rate of 8 cents.

    Since the start of 2012, Fifth Third shares have gained 17.5 percent, closing just above $14.75 on Friday afternoon.

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Deutsche Bank, Federal Open Market Committee, Clarium Capital Management, Dividend, Top 10 News Items for the Week, Peter Thiel, Stock Buyback, Earnings, James Bullard

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