Dow Morning Checkup: Europe, Mobile, and Retail in Focus
This morning, markets are digesting news of a Moody's downgrade on Spanish debt, which has brought the country's rating only one level from junk status. Spanish bond yields have hit record highs today in response, nearing 7% on the 10-year bond. Following the country's new $125 billion aid package, government debt will stand at 90% of GDP, up from 60% in 2010. Concerns are also rising in Italy, where a morning bond auction saw yields on that country's bonds rise as much as 1.4% versus last month. European markets were slightly lower in response, while futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) were pointing to a slightly higher open in the past hour.
Nokia's (NYS: NOK) fall from grace hit a new level this morning as the company announced plans to reduce an additional 10,000 positions from its workforce. The move is expected to help cut costs by an incremental 2 billion euros by the end of 2013, on top of the existing goal of 1 billion. The company, which is hitching its success to Microsoft's mobile operating system, now expects operating margins in its mobile-device segment to deteriorate from first-quarter levels.
Kroger goes for the jugular
The only notable earnings report this morning is that of grocery retailer Kroger (NYS: KR) . Analysts are expecting 6% sales growth from the grocer, second only to 800-pound gorilla Wal-Mart. With many customers remaining cost-conscious, Kroger has embraced its customer loyalty program and special discounts to retain customers affected by high unemployment and gas prices. Kroger has also focused on private-label food options in its stores. On Monday the company announced that it would soon begin selling a private-label version of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters' (NAS: GMCR) popular K-cups, causing shares in the latter to fall nearly 8% on the day. Fellow grocer SUPERVALU (NYS: SVU) is looking to emulate Kroger more broadly in private labels, recently announcing its own plans to more than double private-label product options on its store shelves.
Even in the best of times, grocery retail is a tough business with razor-thin profit margins. However, there is one retailer that our chief investment officer is so excited about he just had to share it with you in this special free report. Not only does this company boast some of the best metrics in the industry, but it's also focused in a high-growth region of the world with a booming middle class. You can find out what company this is, but you have to click here to grab a free copy before it's gone!
At the time this article was published