Stocks to watch: General Motors, Morgan Stanley
The automaker reports a record profit, but it's still weaker than expected. Moody's threat to cut credit ratings looms over Morgan Stanley and other banks.
Updated at 9:25 a.m
General Motors (GM) reported its biggest quarterly profit ever Thursday. Still, the automaker missed fourth-quarter earnings estimates by a penny as it lost money in Europe and South America. Excluding certain items, the company earned 40 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had estimated 41 cents. Revenue rose 3% to $38 billion, in line with estimates. GM said 2012 will bring "continued pricing improvement with cost inflation well contained, while product mix and pension expense are expected to be unfavorable." Revenue is expected to grow.
The credit ratings of Morgan Stanley (MS), UBS (UBS) and Credit Suisse (CS) could be cut three notches by Moody's Investors Service because of the risks associated with the eurozone debt crisis. Moody's is reviewing the long-term ratings of 17 global and 114 European financial institutions. The ratings agency said the guidance is "indicative only." Goldman Sachs (GS), JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Citigroup (C) are among the banks that could see their ratings cut two notches, Moody's said.
NetApp (NTAP), the data storage software company, posted in-line results for its fiscal third quarter and provided a fourth-quarter outlook that sits within analysts' ranges. NetApp reported non-GAAP profit of $216 million, or 58 cents a share, for quarter ended in January on revenue of $1.57 billion, matching analysts' estimates. For its fiscal fourth quarter ending in April, NetApp expects non-GAAP earnings of 60 cents to 65 cents a share on revenue ranging from $1.65 billion to $1.73 billion. Analysts forecast profit of 63 cents a share on revenue of $1.68 billion.
Nvidia (NVDA), the graphics chip-maker, forecast revenue of $900 million to $930 million for its fiscal first quarter ending in April. Analysts expected sales of $944.6 million.
DirecTV (DTV) said fourth-quarter profit rose 16% to $718 million, or $1.02 a share. Revenue rose 13% to $7.46 billion. DirecTV added a net 590,000 subscribers in December in Latin America. But U.S. subscriber additions fell to 125,000 from the 289,000 added last year. Analysts expected fourth-quarter earnings of 92 cents a share on revenue of $7.41 billion.
J.M. Smucker (SJM) posted adjusted third-quarter profit of $1.22 a share, down from $1.27 a year earlier. Revenue rose 12% to $1.47 billion. Analysts expected profit of $1.41 a share on revenue of $1.54 billion.
Nordstrom (JWN) is expected to post earnings of $1.09 a share in the fourth quarter on sales of $3.17 billion.
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