** IN PLAY TODAY **
- Macro: European new car registrations
- Earnings of note: ABB, Zurich Financial, Julius Baer,Air France KLM, Societe Generale, ING, Randstad, L’Oreal , Solvay, Umicore, DaimlerChrysler, Reed Elsevier, Arcelor, and Diageo.
- DaimlerChrysler AG said fourth-quarter profit rose 84 percent on the sale of
the MTU industrial-engine division and increased demand for commercial vehicles.
Net income increased to 966 million euros,or 95 cents a share, from 526 million
euros, or 52 cents. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expected net income of 643
million euros. Revenue gained 9.8 percent to 41.5 billion euros.
- Umicore SA said second-half profit rose almost 6 percent as it extracted more
precious metals from industrial waste and it sold more catalytic converters for
cars.Net income rose to 75.9 million euros, or 2.97 euros a share, from 71.9
million euros, or 2.87 euros, a year earlier. Net income was expected to be 67
- Reed Elsevier Plc said 2005 profit increased as science, legal and business
publishing revenue rose and education “disappointed.'’ Net income rose to 462
million pounds, or 18.6 pence per share, in the 12 months ended Dec. 31, from
459 million pounds, or 18.6 pence, in the year-earlier period. Revenue rose 7.4
percent to 5.17 billion pounds. Consensus expected revenues of 5.14 billion
- Diageo Plc said fiscal first-half profit rose 21 percent as the company sold
more spirits in the U.S. and cut costs.Net income in the six months through
December climbed to 1.17 billion pounds from 967 million pounds a year
earlier. The median analyst estimate was 931 million pounds. Sales rose 8.3
percent to 5.36 billion pounds.
- Societe Generale said fourth-quarter profit climbed 42 percent, lifted
by consumer lending in France and abroad and on higher earnings at
its corporate and investment banking division. Net income rose to 1.13 billion
euros from 797 million euros in the year-earlier period. Profit beat
the 973 million-euro median estimate.
- Arcelor SA raised its dividend by 85 percent after reporting fourth-quarter
profit that was more than twice as much as analysts expected. Shareholders will
get a dividend of 1.20 euros a share, up from 65 cents a year ago. Net income
rose to 1.25 billion euros from 820 million euros a year earlier. Arcelor was
expected to report profit of 559 million euros.
- ABB posted a fourth-quarter profit on increased demand in the Middle East and
U.S. and plans to pay its first dividend since 2000.Net income was $222 million,
or 11 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $223 million, or 11
cents a share. Sales climbed 2 percent to $6.06 billion. The year-earlier loss
included a $232 million payment to resolve asbestos claims. The order book and
sales numbers were below consensus though.
- ING Groep said fourth-quarter profit rose 31 percent as earnings from consumer
banking and the Internet unit ING Direct increased. Net income climbed to 1.84
billion euros,or 85 cents a share, from 1.41 billion euros, or 65 cents a share,
a year ago. Earnings beat the 1.41 billion-euro median forecast.
- Julius Baer Holding said profit last year fell 30 percent because of costs
tied to the purchase of four money-management units from UBS AG. Net income
dropped to 145 million Swiss francs ($111 million) from 207.9 million francs a
year earlier. The bank booked 138 million francs in costs for the acquisitions
and said it’s “well on the way'’ to reaching planned savings of 100 million
francs a year.
- Zurich Financial FY05 net profit beats expectations. Reports FY05 net attributable income of US$3.2bn, +30%; EPS CHF 27.11; ROE 15.5%; business op. profit US$3.947bn. Says all businesses contributed to the result. Raises DPS to CHF7.0 from CHF4.0 in 2004.
- Air France-KLM Group said third-quarter profit more than tripled after the carrier won passengers away from Deutsche Lufthansa AG and British Airways Plc on flights to the U.S. Net income in the three months ended Dec. 31 grew to 77 million euros or 29 cents a share, from 23 million euros a year earlier, or 9 cents. Profit missed the 103 million-euro median estimate.
- Randstad Holding NV said fourth-quarter profit fell 9 percent on costs from a goodwill impairment.
Net income dropped to 85.6 million euros from 94.5 million euros a year earlier. Sales gained 19 percent to 1.84 billion euros. The company was expected to say fourth-quarter net income fell to 78.1 million euros on sales of 1.75 billion euros, according to the median estimate.
- Diageo, Reed Elsevier, Umicore on the tapes now. LÓreal & Daimler Chrysler expected within 30 minutes. Update later on.
** ASIAN TRADING HEADLINES **
- Asian Stocks Climb on Cheaper Oil; Toyota and Hon Hai Precision Advance
- Qantas First-Half Net Falls 9.6 Percent on Record Fuel Spending, Job Cuts
- Singapore Raises Its 2006 Economic Growth Forecast to as Much as 6 Percent
- Bank of Japan Will Be Flexible After Policy Shift Ends, Nishimura Says
- AMP Second-Half Net Income Drops 25 Percent on Lower Investment Earnings
- Malaysia Manufacturing Investment Jumped 27 Percent in 2005 on Electronics
- Rakuten Fourth-Quarter Profit Rises on Credit Card, Insurance Businesses
- Samsung Aims to Extend Olympic Games Sponsorship to 2012 to Spur Phone Use