Stock futures were lower this morning as retail sales and initial jobless claims data came in worse than expected. Comcast Corp
(NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable
(NYSE:TWC) could see heavy trading after Comcast acquired its rival for $45 billion.
Before the opening bell, Dow
(INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures were down 0.37% to 15,884. S&P 500
(INDEXSP:.INX) futures fell 0.46% to 1,808.80 and futures on the Nasdaq Composite
(INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) sank 0.49% to 3,606.75.
Comcast ended an eight-month bidding war for Time Warner Cable today. Comcast will pay Time Warner shareholders $159.82 per share or $45.2 billion. The all-stock offer is more than $20 above where Time Warner was trading before the announcement. The merger of the largest and second-largest cable providers might raise significant antitrust scrutiny from regulators. Shares of Comcast dropped 3% on the news, while Comcast rose 9%. Charter Communications
(NASDAQ:CHTR), which was also vying for Time Warner, fell 6.4%. Charter reportedly offered $38 billion for Time Warner.
After reporting earnings yesterday afternoon, Cisco Systems, Inc.
(NASDAQ:CSCO) shares fell 4% despite beating earnings expectations and raising its dividend. The networking infrastructure company reported that net profit fell 55% in the fourth quarter, and adjusted earnings per share came in at $0.47. Revenue fell 7.4% to $11.16 billion, falling short of estimates. CEO John Chambers said that the decline in sales was partly due to weakness in emerging markets. Cisco also raised its quarterly dividend by $0.02 to $0.19 per share.
Shares of CBS Corporation
(NYSE:CBS) rose 4.4% after it delivered earnings that exceeded expectations. Earnings per share for the owner of the most popular television network came in at $0.78, up from $0.60 per share a year ago. Revenue rose 5.8% to $3.91, boosted by a more lucrative fee arrangement with Time Warner Cable and increased streaming through Amazon
(NASDAQ:AMZN) and Hulu. CBS also announced that it will quadruple its stock buybacks for this quarter to $2 billion.
In economic news, retail sales unexpectedly fell 0.4% in January. Economists had expected sales to fall 0.1%. December's increase was revised down to 0.1% from 0.2%.
Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose by 8,000 to 339,000 last week. Claims were expected to fall by 1,000 to 330,000.
Overseas stock markets also declined today. Italy's FTSE MIB Index
(INDEXFTSE:FTSEMIB) dropped 1.5% as the country's leadership struggle intensified. Prime Minister Enrico Letta is facing calls to step down in favor of Matteo Renzi of the Democratic Party.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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