Money Minute: IBM Awaits Investor Reaction; Budget Deal Reopens Gov't


What will investors focus on now that Congress has finally allowed the government to reopen? That's one of seven money stories you need to know this Thursday.

The crisis in Washington has been averted, at least for another few months, so investors can turn their attention back to the Federal Reserve, economic growth and corporate earnings.

Who are the winners and losers in this dragged out Washington saga? Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, House Speaker John Boehner and other hardline conservatives are facing some heat right now. And it's hard to find many winners -- even though investors may have escaped unscathed.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) soared 205 points Wednesday, as the Senate's 11th hour agreement triggered a relief rally. The Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) jumped 45 points and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) moved back within 4 points of the record high set last month.

Standard & Poor's says the government shutdown will cut 0.6 percent from the nation's GDP in the fourth quarter. That's about $24 billion.

This is a big day on the earnings calendar. This morning we're getting upbeat reports from Verizon (VZ), Goldman Sachs (GS) and United Healthcare (UNH). After the closing bell, Google (GOOG) takes center stage.

ibm earnings
Yasuyoshi Chiba, AFP/Getty Images

IBM (IBM) shares are likely to take a big hit after Big Blue reported that sales fell well short of expectations, partly because of weakness in its business in China. Analysts say the prospects for a quick turnaround aren't good.

Fewer homeowners than expected have benefited from the $25 billion agreement worked out last year with five leading banks. The government monitor of the fund also says more people chose to give up their homes in short sales than the number who reduced the amount they owe on their homes.

And Facebook (FB) has some parents up in arms. The social networking company is easing its privacy rules for teenage users that will open their postings to a much wider group. Since teens don't always exercise the best judgment, the move is raising concerns that kids will become more vulnerable to bullying and to sexual predators. For Facebook, it's all about winning back teens and getting more money from advertisers. Don't be surprised to see this new policy revised.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.