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[credit provider=”Marcin Wichary via Flickr” url=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/mwichary/2831542077/”]

A tech giant disappoints and Greece gets worse. The Dow jumped, but it was almost completely due to IBM.First, the scoreboard:

Dow: 12,720.5, +96.5, +0.8%
S&P 500: 1,315.4, +0.9, +0.1%
NASDAQ: 2,786.7, -1.6, -0.1%

And now, the top stories:

  • It’s time to start thinking about Greece again.  (Actually, no one should’ve ever stopped thinking about Greece.) The country needs loans so that it can refinance it’s mountain of debt. However, Greece will get no money until it irons out the details of private sector involvement (PSI), ie how much the holders of Greek bonds are willing to lose.  Unfortunately, even with a PSI agreement, Greece will still be in a very deep financial hole riddled with various legal and logistical hurdles.  Having said that, CNBC reports that the ongoing Greek debt talks aren’t making much progress.
  • Sentiment wasn’t helped by today’s dose of economic data.  December existing home sales climbed by just 5.0% to 4.61 million, missing economists’ estimate for a 5.2% increase to 4.65 million (the estimate doesn’t consider prior month revisions). November sales were revised down to 4.39 million from a previous reading of 4.42 million.  But there are reasons to be optimistic. Liz Ann Sonders: We May Have Seen The ‘Rock Bottom’ In Housing >
  • Lots of stocks moved on earnings announcements today.  Three old-school tech companies impressed investors, including Microsoft, which announced EPS of $0.78 on revenue of $20.89 billion. Analysts were expecting $0.76 and $20.93 billion, respectively.  Perhaps the expectations were just too low.  Nevertheless, the stock soared 5.7%.
  • IBM reported EPS of $4.62 per share, which came right in line with estimates.  The company reported growth in all four of its business segments.  IBM jumped 4.4% effectively carrying the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s gain. Here Are The Best And Worst Stock Pickers On Wall Street >
  • Intel rounded out the trifecta of tech giants that beat estimates.  EPS came in at $0.64, well ahead of the $0.61 expected.  2011 was a record year for the semiconductor giant. The stock jumped 2.9%.
  • General Electric, on the other hand, was a laggard on the Dow. GE’s EPS came in at $0.39, beating estimates by a penny. However, revenue fell short of estimates due to weakness in Europe and unfavorable foreign exchange.
  • Everyone was talking about Google’s disappointing earnings announcement, which caused the stock to plummet 8.4%.  The search giant said non-GAAP EPS came in at $9.50 versus the expectation of $10.46.  Like GE, Google blamed the economy and the weak dollar.
  • American Airlines could be bought out by rival U.S. Airways, reports Bloomberg.
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