Market Minute: Maker of Bushmaster Rifle Eyed for Acquisition

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 07:  A Smith & Wesson .357 magnum revolver is displayed for customers to rent at the Los Angeles Gun Club on December 7, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  Gun enthusiasts rent the the weapon to try out before making a purchase at a gun store . Leading firearms maker Smith & Wesson reports almost 50 percent increase in sales revenue.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty ImagesA Smith & Wesson .357 magnum revolver is displayed for customers to rent at the Los Angeles Gun Club.

Video correction: Apple's stock price dropped below $400 a share for the first time in 16 months on Wednesday, but the company has not in fact been the world's most valuable during that entire period. Exxon Mobil, which surpassed Apple on that score yesterday, in fact claimed the title on Jan. 25, 2013, before ceding it back to Apple.

On Wednesday the Dow Industrials fell 138 points, the S&P 500 lost 22 and the Nasdaq tumbled 60. The market has suffered two of its biggest losses of the year this week.

Gun makers Smith & Wesson (SWHC) and Sturm Ruger (RGR) have reportedly expressed interest in acquiring Freedom Group, which makes the Remington and Bushmaster brands. The Wall Street Journal says Freedom could be valued at around a billion dollars. Defense contractor Alliant Techsystems (ATK) may also consider a bid.

On the earnings scorecard:

  • Verizon's (VZ) net rose a better-than-expected 16 percent, as the company continued to add phone and FiOS customers.

  • UnitedHealth Group's (UNH) profit fell 14 percent. The company also lowered its revenue estimate for the full year.

  • Investors are ready to hang up on phone maker Nokia (NOK) after its sales dropped 20 percent.

  • American Express (AXP) says its net edged up by two percent, but that still beat expectations.

  • EBay's (EBAY) net rose 19 percent, but the internet retailer's forecast for the current quarter was bit shy of expectations.

  • After the close we'll hear from three tech industry giants: Microsoft (MSFT), Google (GOOG) and IBM (IBM).

Apple (AAPL) has lost $300 dollars a share since peaking in September. That's a drop of more than 42 percent.
The company's stock briefly dipped below $400 yesterday after a key supplier, Cirrus Logic (CRUS), warned its revenue would fall short of expectations.

The Federal Reserve is apparently considered new measures to make sure some banks are not "too big to fail." A pair of Fed officials said major financial institutions may be required to hold even higher levels of capital.

And Gap (GPS) says it plans to expand its presence overseas, opening Old Navy stores in China and elsewhere.

–Drew Trachtenberg