Stocks in the News: Ford, Netflix, Nokia

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The following is a round-up of news likely to affect stock prices today:

Ford Motor Co. (F) made $2.7 billion in 2009, its first annual profit in four years. Cost-cutting measures, debt reduction and customers' appreciation of the fact that the company managed affairs on its own, without a bailout, were the reasons. Indeed, Ford gained market share in North and South America and Europe, despite the economic downturn. The Detroit carmaker says it expects to be profitable next year as well. Shares jumped over 3% in premarket trading.Microsoft (MSFT) and Amazon.com (AMZN) are among companies reporting after the close.

Toyota Motor Corp. (TM) expanded its recall of cars in the U.S. and extended it to Europe and China. As the carmaker struggles to salvage its safety reputation, Ford has been enjoying the fallout. Shares dropped over 2% before the bell.

The Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) reported Thursday that sales rose 6% as a result of price cuts, promotions and new versions of its products. Profit, however, slid 7% on a lower gain from selling business lines. Results beat estimates.

Eli Lilly and Co. (LLY) turned a fourth-quarter profit after recording a loss in 2008 following the buyout of cancer drug maker ImClone Systems Inc. Profit was inline with estimates, while revenue beat projections as some of Lilly's top sellers posted double-digit sales growth. Shares were up 1.7% in premarket trading.

Lockheed Martin Corp.'s (LMT) fourth-quarter earnings were little changed from a year ago, as larger profits from cargo plane and jet fighter sales were offset by higher pension expenses. Sales grew by 13% and per-share earnings rose as the result of a share buyback. The defense contractor is raising its 2010 earnings guidance. Shares jumped over 2% in premarket.

Nokia Corp. (NOK) reported strong sales of smart phones and lower costs that helped profits rise 65% in the fourth quarter, despite a 5.3% drop in total revenue. Nokia said it boosted its share of the mobile phone market to 39%, from 38%. Shares shot up over 11% before the bell.

Netflix (NFLX) shares are soaring 19% in premarket trade after it said late Wednesday fourth-quarter profit rose 36% due to a sharp increase in subscribers and reduced subscriber-acquisition costs.

Qualcomm Inc (QCOM) late Wednesday reported results that were well ahead of analyst estimates, but set a current-quarter earnings and revenue target that missed expectations. Shares skidded over 9.5% ahead of the bell.

Estee Lauder (EL) says growth in Asia and a cost-cutting program helped second-quarter profit rise 62%. Results were expected.

Nintendo (NTDOY) said profit for April through December fell 9% due to price cuts and a rising yen that offset strong holiday sales.

AstraZeneca Plc (AZN) missed analyst expectations when it reported fourth-quarter profit, even as sales from the company's swine flu vaccine and a plant shutdown at competitor Novartis AG (NVS) bolstered earnings. The drugmaker plans to reinstate a share buyback. Shares dropped 3.7% ahead of the bell.

Siemens AG (SI) said Thursday it plans to cut about 2,000 jobs in Germany due to lower market demand.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) on Wednesday unveiled the iPad. While analysts liked the price points, it seems the new tablet computer did not receive quite the same adulation as the iPhone. Several tech blogs have critiqued the product already, saying some features -- or lack of them -- are deal breakers.

Sony Corp (SNE) shares rose after a report by the Nikkei business daily that the company would likely post an operating profit of about $1.1 billion for the latest quarter, helped by a recovery in its game and TV operations.

More earnings in brief:
  • Colgate-Palmolive Co. (CL) reported a 27% profit climb on higher sales and increase prices on household necessities.
  • AT&T (T) beat Verizon (VZ) the past quarter, adding 2.7 million wireless customers, defying expectations.
  • 3M Co. (MMM) reported a strong 74% increase in fourth-quarter profit and raised its expectations for the new year. Shares were up 2% ahead of the bell.
  • Motorola's (MOT) turned a profit in the latest quarter, but revenue missed estimates and shares were down 5% in premarket trading.
  • Altria's (MO) fourth-quarter profit climbed 7% on strong sales of products like chewing tobacco as well as lower costs.
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) fourth quarter profit rose on higher sales, gain, beating estimates, but revenue came up short. Shares climbed 1% ahead of the bell.
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Markets

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