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While you were sleeping: Overnight wrap 10/2/09

While you were sleeping: BusinessWire overnight wrap

Feb. 10 – Whirlpool Corp., the world’s biggest maker of home appliances, posted a 76% drop in fourth-quarter profit and said earnings will fall further this year as the global downturn erodes sales.

“The severity and scope of the global economic downturn has significantly increased over the last several months and had a significant impact on consumer demand in all parts of the world,” chief executive Jeffrey Fettig said in a statement.

Whirlpool stock rose 0.3% to US$36.47 and has dropped 25% in the past month. The appliance maker was among a slew of companies whose earnings have been undermined by economic contraction in major economies. NYSE Euronext, operator of the New York Stock Exchange and the world’s biggest owner of bourses, reported a loss of US$1.34 billion in the fourth quarter after taking a US$1.59 billion charge to write down the value of its 2007 purchase of Euronext NV. The shares dropped 7.1% to US$21.30.

Shares on Wall Street traded lower as investors awaited details of the governments plan to aid financial institutions. Coca-Cola Co. fell 3.1% to US$42.24 after Australia’s Lion Nathan abandoned a takeover offer for its part-owned Coca-Cola Amatil unit. Home Depot fell 2.3% to US$22.99 and Kraft Foods declined 1.8% to US$25.87.

Hartford Financial Services surged 18% to US$15, leading insurance companies higher, amid speculation it will be the recipient of government funds. Bank of America jumped 12% to US$6.88.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.6% to 8235.27 and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 0.4% to 865.41. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.5% to 1583.68.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner delayed the announcement of the administration’s bank-rescue plan that taps remaining funds in the so-called TARP fund.

Geithner is seeking to bring private investors into the financial rescue package which is to be announced Tuesday in Washington. Funds will be targeted at firms identified as being most in need of capital, Bloomberg reported, citing people briefed on the matter.

Copper fell after the delay in the announcement, stoking anxiety about the prolonged recession. Copper futures for March delivery fell 1% to US$1.613 a pound on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Crude oil fell on expectations inventories extend their expansion last week as the economic downturn sapped demand for fuel. Crude oil for March delivery fell 1.4% to US$39.62 a barrel in New York.

Gold dropped as some traders speculated the U.S. will adopt a more meagre fiscal stimulus package than President Barack Obama has promoted, as the measures are watered down in the Senate. The package may be about US$780 billion, down from the US$850 billion of aid mooted earlier.

Gold futures for April delivery fell 2.4% to US$892.80 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The U.S. dollar and the yen fell versus the euro on speculation U.S. government aid measures will underpin banks and reduce the haven appeal of the greenback and the Japanese currency.

The dollar fell to $1.3024 per euro from $1.2940. The yen weakened 119.14 per euro from 118.85. The yen rose to 91.48 per dollar from 91.89.

In Europe, the Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index climbed 0.4% to 199.35, as better-than-expected earnings at Barclays helped lift shares of banks. Barclays gained 11%, leading the FTSE 100m Index up 0.4% to 4307.61

In Germany, the DAX 30 climbed 0.5% to 4666.82, led by an 8.5% gain for Commerzbank and a 6.2% increase for Deutsche Bank. France’s CAC 40 climbed 0.4% to 3134.87, with Renault gaining 7% and Peugeot climbing 3.9%.


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