Here are 10 things you need to know in markets today as earnings season heats up around the world.
Alibaba’s Massive Quarter Wasn’t Enough. Alibaba revenue surged 40% to $US4.22 billion. But analysts were expecting $US4.42 billion. The stock is down by around 8% in pre-market trading. “Gross merchandise volume across our China retail marketplaces grew 49% year on year, and our annual active buyers increased to 334 million in 2014, an increase of 45% year on year,” CEO Jonathan Lu said. “Our unrivalled leadership and momentum in mobile continued — we added 48 million active users sequentially and delivered over US$1 billion in mobile revenue during the quarter.”
McDonalds’ CEO Is Out. McDonald’s announced that CEO Don Thompson is leaving the company. Thompson will retire on March 1 after 25 years with the fast-food chain, McDonald’s said in a statement. Steve Easterbrook, the senior executive brand president and chief brand officer, will take Thompson’s place as CEO.
Facebook Revenue Surged. Facebook said on Wednesday its revenue grew 49% to $US3.85 billion in the final three months of 2014, as strength in mobile advertising helped the Internet social networking company beat Wall Street’s revenue target.
Samsung Profits Slumped. Strong chip earnings failed to make up for weakness in the South Korean giant’s smartphone business. The result put the firm’s 2014 profit at 25 trillion won, down from a record 36.8 trillion won in 2013 and the lowest since 2011.
Deutsche Bank Actually Made Money. Germany’s biggest bank booked a Q4 net profit of 441 million euros, beating analysts’ expectations for a net loss. “Costs linked to several legal cases, such as a probe into allegations of possible manipulation by banks in gold and silver price-fixing, have been reduced, the bank added,” AFP reported. “Litigation costs have weighed on the group’s results in recent years.”
Gazprom Profits Crashed. Russia’s massive energy company said quarterly profits plunged by 61% to 105.7 billion rubles, or $US1.5 billion. This happened as energy prices fell and the company suspended supplies to Ukraine, one of its main customers.
Eurozone Sentiment Improves. The eurozone economic sentiment index climbed to 101.2 in January from 100.6 in December. This was a hair below the 101.6 expected by economists. “The slow improvement in euro area sentiment continues providing support for the idea that the economy is accelerating slightly from the slowdown in the middle of last year,” Pantheon Macroeconomics’ Claus Vistesen said. “Consumer confidence has firmed in the last few months, and we expect further gains this quarter as the boost from low oil prices to real incomes feed into sentiment. “
German Unemployment Drops Again. Germany’s unemployment rate fell to 6.5% in January from 6.6% in December. “Overall, the upbeat trend in German labour market indicators will likely continue to support spending and wage growth in the first half of the year,” Pantheon’s Vistesen said.
Markets Are Mixed. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 is down 0.6%, France’s CAC 40 is up 0.1%, and Germany’s DAX is flat. Asia closed lower with Japan’s Nikkei down 1.0% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng down 1.0%. US futures are up with Dow futures up 79 points and S&P futures up 8.4 points.
Light US Economic Data. At 8:30 a.m. ET, we’ll get the latest tally of initial jobless claims; economists estimate the weekly number climbed to 300,000 from 307,000 a week ago. At 10:00 a.m., we’ll get the December pending home sales report; economists estimate sales climbed by 0.5%.