Market Minute: U.S. Companies Park Profits Overseas, Avoid Taxes
The Dow jumped more than 300 points last week. That's 2.2 percent, as the blue chip index set record highs four days in a row. The S&P 500 also rose 2.2 percent and the Nasdaq gained 2.4 percent.
The S&P is now just 15 points away from its all-time high, and many market pros think that would be more significant than the Dow's recent records. But the Nasdaq is still a long way from its record, set 13 years ago yesterday: It's 36 percent below where it was before the dot-com bubble popped in March of 2000.
Large American companies are parking more of their profits overseas. A Wall Street Journal analysis found that 60 big companies shielded more than 40 percent of their annual profit from U.S. taxes. The five with the biggest offshore holdings are General Electric (GE), Microsoft (MSFT), and three pharmaceutical giants – Pfizer (PFE), Merck (MRK) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ).
A much smaller drug firm, the Medicines Company (MDCO), could rally after reporting its experimental drug for use during angioplasty procedures, significantly outperformed Plavix – the multi-billion dollar leader from Bristol-Myers and Sanofi.
After years of delay, the new Blackberry Z-10 from Research in Motion could be available by the end of this week. Business customers can start ordering it today from T-Mobile. And it could be on store shelves for retail customers next week.
The Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010 has already cost BP (BP) more than 24-billion dollars... and the company now says future payments to people and businesses that suffered losses will be greater than previously thought. In its annual report, the company says it can no longer give a reliable estimate of costs associated with a settlement agreed to last year.