Monday, April 27, 2009

Wall Street Opens Lower Amid Flu Outbreak Worries, Verizon in Focus

. Monday, April 27, 2009

By stockOzone team

US stocks fell sharply in early trade Monday on fears that the swine flu outbreak will hurt an already weak global economy. At 10:13 am ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 67.30 points or 0.83% to 8,007.08. The S&P 500 declined 9.49 points or 1.10% to 856.74. The Nasdaq Composite decreased 17.69 points or 1.04% to 1,676.60.

The United States on Sunday declared a public health emergency as officials confirmed 20 cases of swine flu in five US states and warned that they expected more in the coming days. The virus has already killed over 100 people in Mexico.

Shares of major U.S. airlines declined in premarket action on Monday following an outbreak of swine flu. Meanwhile healthcare stocks gained. GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK), maker of Relenza anti-flu drug, rose over 3%.

Early on Monday Verizon Communications (NYE: VZ) said that its first quarter profit rose slightly to $3.21 billion, or 58 cents a share, from $3.05 billion, or 57 cents a share, in the same quarter a year ago.

Whirlpool (NYSE: WHR) said its first-quarter net income declined 28% to $68 million, or 91 cents a share, from $94 million, or $1.22 a share, a year ago. Revenue decreased 23% to $3.6 billion.

Health insurer Humana (NYSE: HUM) said that its first quarter net income more than doubled to $205.7 million, or $1.22 per share, compared with profit of $80.2 million, or 47 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue increased 11% to $7.71 billion.

Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) reported that second quarter net loss of $289 million or 18 cents a share, compared to profit of $766 million or 47 cents a share in the second quarter of last year. Revenues fell to $2.46 billion from $2.61 billion.

Chrysler LLC on Sunday reached a concession agreement with the United Auto Workers and won ratification of its cost-cutting deal with the Canadian Auto Workers.

Meanwhile, in a Securities and Exchange filing, General Motors (NYSE: GM) said that it intends to offer $27 billion in common stock to its debt holders as part of a restructuring plan.

European stocks retreated in afternoon trade. At 13:18 London Time, UK FTSE dropped 35.33 points or 0.85% to 4,120.66. The German Dax and French CAC decreased 1.30% and 1.44% respectively.

Asian stocks finished mixed. The Nikkei 225 rose 18.35 points or 0.21% to 8,726.34. The Hang Seng index of Hong Kong plunged 418.34 points or 2.74% to 14,840.42.

NYMEX Crude oil for June delivery climbed as much as $2.90, or 5.6% to $48.65 a barrel.

Disclosure: Author does not own any of the stocks discussed here.

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