Blue chip earnings misses drove down stock futures this morning.
Futures are signaling that equities will probably trend lower today. Futures contracts on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) slipped 0.16% to 13,465.00, S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) futures dropped 0.22% to 1,488.30. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) fell 0.23% to 2,726.50.
A report on existing home sales in the US is expected to show that Americans bought homes at an annualized rate of 4.75 million in September, down from 4.82 million in August. This week, we saw housing starts surge to a rate of 894,000.
Yesterday, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) shares fell after it reported a major drop in earnings as it prepares for the launch of Windows 8. The world's biggest software maker said that profit in the September quarter fell 22% to $4.47 billion, or $0.53 per share. The Windows division took a big hit as customers defer buying new computers or operating system software until the newest version of Windows is available. About four months ago, Microsoft teased customers with the Surface tablet computer. Anticipation of the device, which is priced to compete with the iPad, all but instructed buyers to defer purchases until the holiday quarter.
General Electric (NYSE:GE) earnings also missed consensus estimates. Earnings per share rose 50% to $0.36 . GE Capital profits rose 11% despite weakness in commercial lending and leasing. A drop in wind turbine sales drove down infrastructure orders.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) shares fell off a cliff yesterday after disappointing earnings leaked out by accident before the closing bell. Trading was halted for several hours yesterday.
Google missed estimates, posting revenue of $11.33 billion and a profit of $9.03 per share. CEO Larry Page noted that Google's mobile business, which delivers ads and media to mobile devices, grew to $8 billion per year, up from $2.5 billion a year ago. The struggling Motorola Mobility unit continues to wear on earnings.
European leaders came to an agreement on banking supervision for the eurozone in the middle of last night in Brussels. By the end of this year, the legislative framework for a banking supervisor will be set up by the end of the year. Even when this is completed, it will still be some time before the regulator could recapitalize banks on its own. Still, Europe's heads, such as Herman Van Rompuy are seeing this as an important step toward a European banking union.
French President Francois Holland welcomed the agreement, saying that the "quicker the mechanism is in place, the sooner recapitalization can take place."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that this is an optimistically fast pace for slapping together a major banking regulator.
"Our goal is banking supervision that's worthy of the name because we want to create something that's better than what we currently have." she said today.
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