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MENAFN - ProactiveInvestors - Australia - 16/01/2013

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U.S. stocks were mixed overnight as investors remain on the sidelines pending corporate earnings later this week. Shares in Apple tanked for a second day in a row, on reports it had slashed orders for iPhone 5 components because of weak demand, erasing $17 billion from the stock market. Facebook
(MENAFN - ProactiveInvestors - Australia) U.S. stocks were mixed overnight with many investors still on the sidelines pending the release of corporate earnings later this week.

The Nasdaq was dragged lower by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) which tanked again Tuesday, down 2.9% to 487.03, after the tech company lost nearly 4% in the prior session on reports it had slashed orders for iPhone 5 components because of weak demand, erasing 17 billion from the stock market.

Facebook unveiled Graph Search a sort of search engine for users to connect and find services.

By the close the Dow Jones had added 26 points to 13,534, while the Nasdaq closed seven points lower at 3111.

Obama and Bernanke

Over the past two days, both President Obama and U.S. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke have called on Congress to quickly raise the debt ceiling. Fitch said Tuesday that a delay in raising the debt ceiling would lead to a formal review of the U.S.'s AAA sovereign credit rating.

Meanwhile, on the earnings front, some big names are coming up this week with major banks Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) set to report their results Wednesday, while Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and General Electric (NYSE:GE) are due later in the week.

Market movers

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) shares took a negative turn Tuesday after it unveiled a new feature that failed to grab investors' attention. Earlier this afternoon, the company introduced Graph Search, a feature that allows users to search within its social networking site, which could signal a step toward challenging Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) in the search arena.

The feature will focus initially on searches related to photos, people, places and interests, said CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the media event, which took place at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, California. Zuckerberg stressed, however, that the feature is different from Web search, where Google holds the dominant position.

But with the new feature not likely to be a major new source of revenue, the company needs to show faster growth to justify its valuation.

Shares in Forest Laboratories (NYSE:FRX) fell after it posted a wider-than-expected adjusted loss of 21 cents, and revenues that declined to 722.7 million from 1.21 billion. Analysts expected a loss of 11 cents a share on revenue of 761.9 million.

Lennar (NYSE:LEN) was also down despite reporting a net profit of 124.3 million, or 56 cents a share, for the fourth quarter that ended November 30, up from 30.3 million, or 16 cents, a year earlier. Quarterly revenue jumped to 1.35 billion from the prior year's 952.7 million, due to both greater home deliveries and higher average selling prices.

The company, on average, had been expected to post quarterly earnings of 44 cents a share, according to a FactSet survey.

Late Monday, Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ:LULU) said it projected a slightly higher profit for the fourth quarter ending February 3 than previously forecast, but Wall Street analysts had been looking for more, with shares in the yoga apparel retailer lately down over 3%.

Apparel retailer Express (NYSE:EXPR) raised its fourth quarter outlook due to better than expected performance during the holiday season, sending shares up more than 23% this afternoon. The Ohio-based company now sees a profit in the range of 72 to 74 cents a share for the three months ending February 2, up from its prior forecast of 62 to 68 cents a share.

Radisys Corp. (NASDAQ:RSYS) shares also rose almost 15% Tuesday, a day after the provider of embedded wireless infrastructure solutions said it expects to show an unspecified profit for the fourth quarter, higher than the loss of 6 cents a share it had forecast at the end of October. It also sees revenue at the "high end" of its outlook.

In other corporate news, shares of Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) gained over 6% again after reports late in the previous session of buyout talks with two private equity firms.

Economic news

On the economic front, U.S. retail sales rose 0.5% in December, topping views for a 0.4% increase, and compared to a 0.3% rise in November. Excluding autos, sales climbed 0.3%, also beating forecasts of a 0.2% rise, and higher than the flat growth a month earlier.

The news is important, as consumer spending is the single biggest source of economic growth.

Another important piece of data today is the Empire State manufacturing index, which gave a first look at the health of manufacturing for January, and disappointed investors. The index rose to negative 7.8 from negative 8.1 in December, when manufacturing was still feeling the weight of Hurricane Sandy. The negative reading marked the six straight month of contraction.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department reported the producer-price index fell 0.2% in December, compared to a 0.8% decline the prior month. Economists had forecast the index would fall 0.1%. Core PPI, excluding food and energy, rose 0.1%, in line with estimates and November results.


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