- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 22, 2009

UPDATED:

Wall Street closed Wednesday with mixed results, following more quarterly-earnings reports, including a worse-than-expected one from Morgan Stanley.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 7,886.57, down 82.99 points. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stocks Index closed at 843.55, down 6.53 points, and the tech-heavy NASDAQ closed at 1,646.12, up 2.27 points.

Morgan Stanley reported $578 million in losses from January to March, breaking a string of upbeat, first-quarter reports from the financial industry during the markets’ six-week rally.

Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. all have had better-than-expected first-quarter reports during the rally. And U.S. markets largely have taken their lead from the reports.

On Wednesday, AT&T Inc. and McDonald’s Corp. were among the major U.S. companies outside of the financial industry to report better-than-expected first-quarter results.

McDonald’s reported that profits increased by 4 percent. AT&T said that profits fell 9.7 percent but that its wireless division is strong, having activated 1.6 million iPhones in the past three month.

AT&T stock was up 2.37 percent, to $25.88 a share, at the close of trading. McDonald’s was down 2.48 percent, to $54.25.

Capital One Financial Corp. reported more than $111 million in losses for the first quarter, compared with a $1.4 billion loss in the fourth quarter of 2008. The company also said it would added roughly $124 million to reserves for loan losses “in anticipation of higher expected charge-offs in 2009.”

U.S. markets are trying to extend a rally that follows 12-year lows in March.

The markets fell Monday, with the Dow losing 289 points, then recovered Tuesday after Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said a majority of U.S. banks have enough capital to cover additional losses in the recession.

Analysts interpreted his remarks as an indication of favorable results from the government’s so-called “stress tests” for the country’s 19 biggest banks. The results are now expected to be made public in early May.

Mr. Geithner spoke Wednesday morning at the Economic Club of Washington but said nothing new about the Obama administration’s plans for the U.S. banking industry, instead focusing on the global economy and repeating an International Monetary Fund report Tuesday that the recession will cost banks worldwide $4 trillion in credit losses.

In overseas trading, Japan’s Nikkei stock average rose 0.18 percent, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 1.08 percent, Germany’s DAX index was up 2.06 and France’s CAC-40 was up 1.72 percent.

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