Stocks in the news: Citigroup, General Electric, Google

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Citigroup Inc. (C) ended a five-quarter losing streak by posting a $1.6 billion profit on gains from an accounting rule that helps companies in distress. But the bank posted a loss per share of 18 cents because of payment of preferred dividends, beating analyst estimates for a loss of 32 cents. Meanwhile, revenue nearly doubled, reaching $24.79 billion. Shares jumped 6 percent before the bell.

General Electric (GE) first- quarter profit also topped estimates, falling less than expected, as demand for energy equipment and jet engines tempered the effects of real- estate losses and rising consumer-credit defaults at GE Capital. Profit from continuing operations declined 35 percent to $2.83 billion, or 26 cents a share, 4 pennies better than expected. Shares were higher in pre-market trade.

Google (GOOG) on Thursday posted a first-quarter profit that beat analysts' estimates thanks to continued spending by search advertisers and a clampdown on costs. While both earnings and revenues grew year-over-year, the search giant recorded its first-ever sequential decline in net revenue since it went public. CEO Schmidt also acknowledge that he sees no end in sight for the recession. All-in-all, though, it seems the company is weathering the economic downturn relatively well. Shares declined in pre-market trade.

Mattel (MAT) reported a loss that just missed analyst expectations as first-quarter sales dropped 15 percent -- also missing estimates. The toy maker's loss for the quarter ended March 31 totaled $51 million, or 14 cents per share, missing analyst estimates of a loss of 13 cents per share. Shares gained 4.6 percent in pre-market trade.

Sony Ericsson on Friday posted a 293 million euro ($387 million) net loss in the first quarter on falling sales and said it would slash an additional 2,000 jobs to cut costs. Sales in the quarter tumbled by 36 percent to 1.7 billion euros. The results were largely in line with expectations.

General Motors (GM) also will be in the spotlight as CEO Fritz Henderson is scheduled to update the media on the automaker's restructuring at about 10:15 AM. It may detail a plan to swap bonds for equity. Shares climbed 5.7 percent in pre-market trade.

BB&T (BBT) said first-quarter profit fell 37 percent, reflecting an increase in credit losses tied to real estate, but the results topped analysts' forecasts. BBT shares soared over 10 percent in pre-market trade.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) -- The United Food and Commercial Workers union has stepped up efforts to organize employees at Wal-Mart, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Dryships (DRYS) has completed its at-the-market equity offering of $500 million, strengthening its balance sheet and helping the company to reduce debt. Shares jumped over 11 percent before the bell.

Disclosure: Long Citi, GE
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