By Matt Shannon
The markets rallied strongly today with the NASDAQ up 3.29%. Both the Dow and S&P were up, closing at 7978.08 and 834.38 respectively. Price on the 10 year treasury was up and the yield was down, to settle at 2.759%. Oil was up today settling at $52.64, while gold contracts were down settling at $908.90.
Dow Chemical (DOW) had a great day, up over 12%, after announcing today that it was going to sell Morton International to Germany’s K+G for $1.68 billion in cash. This move comes a day after announcing that it had closed the deal to buy Rohm & Haas (ROH) for $16.4 billion. Dow acquired a $12.5 billion bridge loan, new investments, and cut its dividend by 64% in efforts to buy the company. The sale of Morton will help to pay down debt caused by the Rohm & Haas purchase and analysts believe it will prevent further credit downgrades of Dow. Dow, a leading chemical company, has been affected by Kuwait’s Petrochemical Industries Co.’s decision to abandon the joint venture to purchase Rohm & Haas. As a result many thought that Dow’s deal would not go through because it lost additional funding which was going to be provided by the petrochemical company. Dow is down over -25% from the time the Kuwait company backed out.
Banks had a good day as news was released that Financial Accounting Standards Board is expected to relax fair-value accounting rules allowing auditors more leeway in valuing illiquid mortgage assets. Bank of America (BAC) and Citi (C) were both up over 2% in reaction to the news. The FASB board meeting to vote on this issue is tomorrow morning, and it looks pretty favorable that the rules will be relaxed. In other financial news, Wells Fargo (WFC) was up today after releasing earnings of 75 cents a share. The financial holdings company saw revenues reach a record $42.23 in 2008, up 7% from 2007. Wells Fargo was able to make a profit this year despite a loss of $2.55 billion in the fourth quarter.
Research in Motion (RIMM) was up over 7% today. Today was the second straight day that RIM rallied as positive expectation of earnings drove the price up. Analysts estimated that RIM would earn 84 cents a share in the quarter. RIM reported after hours and shattered estimates by announcing earnings of 90 cents a share this quarter. RIM announced that revenues were up 25% to $3.46 billion this quarter, resulting in an after hours price of over $58. RIM also just recently announced that it launched an online application store to rival Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone Store. The tech giant hopes to increase market share of its popular Blackberry line of products, fending off attacks from Apple’s very popular iPhone.