Happy Thursday, everyone.
European stocks are mixed and U.S. index futures are pointing to a modest decline at the start of trading today as investors try to decide whether
two bond auctions, in Spain and France, were indicative of growing confidence or pessimism
. Sure, the two governments sold all the bonds on auction, but the yield demanded by investors to take on the risk of Spanish debt rose. As far as
financial markets are concerned, there are three key risks: the uneven U.S. economic recovery; resurgent sovereign debt pressures in the euro area; and
the tricky balance in China between slowing growth and policy-easing. Today's European bond auctions offered no solution to the European question nor
are the prospects for clarity in the other two risks any better. Stock investors will look to earnings for direction today.
Among the companies investors will be talking about today is Nokia.
The Finnish phone maker reported a first-quarter operating loss of 1.3 billion euros
, or $1.8 billion, after a host of one-time charges. Analysts were expecting a loss of about 313 million euros. What makes the story so interesting is
not the fact that some Canadian investors may own the ADRs in one ETF or another, but the parallels between Nokia and Research In Motion. Both were
global industry leaders, both boasted soaring share prices and the admiration of analysts and investors around the world and both have been caught
fatally flat-footed in a market that demands constant movement and agility. Both companies are cutting thousands of jobs, putting whole communities in
peril and their futures are in question. What Nokia has going for it, however, is a history of change -- big, sweeping, whiplash-inducing change. Nokia
got its start as a paper and pulp company more than 100 years ago, turned to making rubber boots and car and bike tires. It took on a cable company in
the early 1900s, moved into technology and became a world leader in cell phones through the 80s and 90s. Who knows what the company is capable of next?
RIM, on the other hand, now has a reputation for stagnation. We'll take a closer look at these two companies today and see whether my comparison has
I will also note that Bloomberg is reporting RIM is closer to choosing a financial adviser. Unnamed sources tell Bloomberg the winning name could be
JPMorgan. I mention this only because Tenille Kennedy, a RIM spokeswoman, has declined to comment and today happens to be the day that The Captain and
Tenille scored their first No. 1. hit with "Love Will Keep Us Together" in 1975. They are still together, by the way. Now try to get that tune out of
your head. No need to thank me, really.
Bank of America topped expectations, as did
Morgan Stanley. Profit at American Express rose but fell at Stanley Black & Decker. Solid growth in China helped drive Yum Brands profit higher
while eBay saw earnings jump 20 percent. In fact, so far, about 73 percent of S&P 500 companies have topped expectations. The question is whether
beating lowered expectations is enough to drive share prices higher from here. We're also watching earnings from BB&T, KeyCorp, UnitedHealth,
Southwest Airlines, Verizon, DuPont, Union Pacific, Travelers, New York Times, Freeport-McMoran and Philip Morris. Microsoft reports after the close.
President Obama says he is going to crack down on oil market manipulation. CFTC commissioner Bart Chilton joins us at 11:30 a.m. ET to tell us
exactly what the president means and how things might change.
Every morning Managing Editor Marty Cej writes a "chase note" to BNN's
editorial staff listing the stories and events that will be in the spotlight
that day. Click here to have it delivered to
your inbox before the trading day begins.