Despite an upbeat report showing that the pace of job losses in the private sector slowed last month, Wall Street and exchange traded funds (ETFs) turned sour on a variety of weak earnings.
Fourth-quarter results from Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) missed estimates. The world’s largest drug maker also forecast profits that were below expectations. iShares Dow Jones U.S. Healthcare (NYSEArca: IYH) is down 1.3% so far this morning; Pfizer is 10.6%.
Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) said that its fourth-quarter revenue was boosted by improvements in its movie studio and cable network businesses, reports the Associated Press. The company also boosted its dividend 13% to an annual rate of 85 cents per share. PowerShares Dynamic Media (NYSEArca: PBS) is up slightly this morning; Time Warner is 5.1%.
The service sector grew slightly last month and the pace of job losses slowed, giving hope that there’s a recovery out there trying to grow stronger, reports Tali Aribel for the Associated Press. The service sector index rose less than expected to 50.5, but it was still the strongest reading since last May. Any reading above 50 also indicates growth.
U.S. companies cut 22,000 jobs last month, the lowest number in two years, reports Timothy R. Homan for Bloomberg. Economists are now looking ahead to Friday’s jobs report, which they expect will show that jobs were created in January for the second time in the last three months.
Toyota continues to be dogged by reports of faulty gas pedals as other automakers begin to report profits again. Honda (NYSE: HMC) had a strong fourth quarter and raised its earnings expectations for 2010 as a result. Ford (NYSE: F) reported its sales rose 25% in January from a year earlier. The government said today that owners of cars affected by the recall should stop driving them and take them in for repairs. [For more stories on the auto industry, go here.]
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