Top 10 News Items for 04/29 - 05/03: Jobs Boost Markets; New Dow Record; Apple Now in Debt

May 3, 2013 4:05 PM EDT
1. The U.S. Labor Department reported Friday that total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 165,000 in the month, which was better than the 140,000 economists on average expected. The unemployment rate was little changed at 7.5 percent and one full percentage point above the Federal Reserve target of 6.5 percent. In addition to a better-than-expected April report, nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised from +268,000 to +332,000, and the change for March was revised from +88,000 to +138,000. With these revisions, employment gains in February and March combined were 114,000 higher than previously reported.

2. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit another milestone today, surpassing the 15,000 mark for the first time. The move comes as market chatter suggests that the fundamentals still aren't there and the run higher is without merit. It took six years, from the first time it crossed above 14,0000 in July 2007, to reach this new milestone. Prior to that, the move was from 13,000 to 14,000 in the span of about a month. The index's counterpart, the S&P 500, is also trading at all-time highs.

3. Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) sold $17 billion worth of bonds in a record sale on Wednesday, which was the largest corporate debt deal on record. The debt received an AA+ rating by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services and Aa1 by Moody's.

4. On Thursday morning, Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) announced that the board of directors has unanimously elected Brian Krzanich as its next chief executive officer (CEO), succeeding Paul Otellini. Krzanich will assume his new role at the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting on May 16, 2013. Krzanich, Intel’s chief operating officer since January 2012, will become the sixth CEO in Intel’s history.

5. On Tuesday, Pfizer, Inc. (NYSE: PFE) reported Q1 EPS of 54 cents with revs of $13.5 billion, compared with consensus estimates calling for EPS of 55 cents and revs of $14.0 billion. Overall, investors weren't impressed and Pfizer ended the week on a lower note.

6. U.S. auto sales saw a nice jump in April, with auto sales popping 8.5 percent for the month to 1.285 million cars and light trucks. Ford (NYSE: F), General Motors (NYSE: GM), and Chrysler all saw impressive gains in truck sales, with Ford F-Series sales rising 24 percent, GM's Silverado series seeing a 23 percent gain, and Chrysler's Ram trucks rising an impressive 49 percent over the prior year. Ford saw an 18 percent rise in sales, while GM and Chrysler both inked an 11 percent gain.

7. The Conference Board said Tuesday that its index of consumer attitudes rose to 68.1 in April, versus expectations of a 60.8 reading by economists. March was upwardly revised to a reading of 61.9, from 59.7 previously reported. Concerns that still linger with consumers include continued open market action by the Fed, as well as the recent payroll tax hike.

8. Notable earnings outside of Pfizer for the week:
  • American International Group (NYSE: AIG) reported Q1 EPS of $1.34, topping analyst estimates calling for $0.87. Premiums earned were $8.56 billion versus $8.64 billion expected;

  • Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) reported Q1 EPS of $0.12 on revs of $1.46 billion. The Street was looking for EPS of $0.13 and revs of $1.44 billion. Click here for more color;

  • Linkedin (NYSE: LNKD) reported Q1 EPS of $0.45, $0.14 better than the analyst estimate of $0.31. Revenue for the quarter came in at $324.7 million versus the consensus estimate of $317.08 million. Despite the strong results, guidance gave investors concern during Friday's session. For more color, click here.

9. On Monday, SINA Corporation (NASDAQ: SINA) said it reached an agreement on a strategic alliance between several entities affiliated with SINA, including PRC subsidiaries of Weibo Corporation, and several entities affiliated with Alibaba Group, including Taobao (China) Software Co., Ltd. and Zhejiang Technology Co., Ltd., to jointly explore social commerce and develop innovative marketing solutions to enable merchants on Alibaba e-commerce platforms to better connect and build relationships with Weibo users.

10. ING U.S. (NYSE: VOYA) went public at $19.25 after pricing 65.2 million shares at $19.50 on Thursday. The expected range was $21 to $24. ING Group's ownership in ING U.S. fell to 75 percent following the offering.

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