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MENAFN - ProactiveInvestors - Australia - 06/11/2012

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U.S. stocks were higher on the eve of the U.S. presidential elections, although investors are hesitant to make any big moves before the outcome is known. Gold was higher overnight - last trading at US$1685 an ounce.
(MENAFN - ProactiveInvestors - Australia) Many investors are keeping their money off the table until the fate of the U.S. presidential elections between incumbent President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney has been decided.

The race is neck and neck, with investors hoping that the outcome is decided late tomorrow night, and that the decision is not dragged out for days. A decisive election, regardless of the outcome, could start an equities rally.

U.S. did however trend higher overnight, and by the close the Dow Jones had added 20 points (0.15%) to 13,113, while the NASDAQ rallied 18 points (0.59%) to 3000 (almost, currently exactly 2999.66).

On a slow economic news day the Institute for Supply Management reported its index of non-manufacturing activity fell to 54.2 in October, from 55.1 the previous month - but importantly a reading above 50 indicates expansion.

U.S. Corporate News

In corporate news, shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) rose after the company said it sold three million iPads in just three days since the launch of its new iPad mini and the updated 10-inch version of the iPad - double the previous first weekend milestone for the third generation iPad in March.

The company, however, did not specify how many units of each iPad it sold. Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray estimated that between 2 and 2.5 million units of the weekend's sales were of the iPad mini, above his initial estimate of 1 to 1.5 million units.

It was also reported later in the day by Reuters that a federal judge threw out a lawsuit by Apple against Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). The suit alleged Google's Motorola patent licensing practices were unfair.

Shares of Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) rose even after the company posted a wider loss than anticipated. On an adjusted basis, the California-based company's loss would have been 97 million, or 92 cents a share.

Analysts polled by FactSet were forecasting a loss of 89 cents a share on revenue of 55.7 million. The company also stood by its full year revenue forecast and in a letter to investors, it described the third quarter as a "fundamental turning point" since it is now able to mass produce around 100 cars per week - compared with five per week at the beginning of the quarter.

Health insurer Humana (NYSE:HUM) topped Street views when it reported its profit for the third quarter, and raised its full year earnings forecast. The company also announced two acquisitions, and said president Bruce Broussard would be promoted to CEO, effective at the start of next year.

IntercontinentalExchange (NYSE:ICE) reported a 1% decline in quarterly profit on account of lower trading volumes in over-the-counter North American natural gas and power contracts, as well as a decline in credit default swap transactions. The commodities exchange reported earnings of 1.79 per share, compared to 1.80 a year earlier, but topped estimates of 1.72 per share, according to Thomson Reuters.

Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) reported third quarter earnings that missed Street views, as it lost more video subscribers, with shares down more than 6%. The second largest US cable television operator said net income rose to 808 million, or 2.60 per share, from 356 million, or 1.08 per share, a year earlier. Excluding special items, earnings were 1.41 per share, trailing the 1.43 per share analyst estimate.

Heavyweight bank HSBC (LON:HSBA) has set aside a further 500 mln (US800 mln) to cover the costs of a potential fine for money laundering. In July, US authorities accused the bank of aiding "drug kingpins and rogue nations" in a 340-page report slamming its "pervasively polluted" culture.

The committee attacked the bank for allowing Middle Eastern terrorist financiers access to US dollars, while it also failed to control the laundering of Mexican drug money.

Today, the company said it is working towards an agreement with the authorities, which are expected to make a decision on the size of the fine in the coming weeks. The extra provisions were revealed in its third quarter results, which showed that pre-tax profits were down 51% to US3.5 bln (2.2 bln).

In other news, Silver Wheaton (TSE:SLW) (NYSE:SLW) Monday said its third quarter profit and revenue fell as silver prices declined, but production increased 26 per cent as the company stood by its full year output forecast.

Netflix's (NASDAQ:NFLX) shares rose 1.08 per cent Monday afternoon, after it announced a stockholder rights plan to protect against a potential hostile takeover of the company.

The plan was announced in response to activist investor Carl Icahn's disclosure last week that he had acquired an almost 10 per cent stake in the company.


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