News this morning includes Wal-Mart fighting back against worker protests, Citigroup cutting more jobs, Cisco adding to its cloud business and a positive earnings report from Lowes. Markets are pointed higher this morning after rising on Friday to end a several-days long skid. Volumes will probably be light in this holiday-shortened week, so news from Europe, the Middle East or the Fiscal Cliff could result in an outsized move.
The discount retailer is working to head off protests planned at some of its stores over the Thanksgiving holiday. The company filed an unfair-labor practice complaint against the union the company believes is behind the plans. Wal-Mart (WMT) asked the National Labor Relations Board to issued an injunction to stop rallies and protests it says are organized by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union . The group behind the protests calls itself Organization United for Respect at Wal-Mart and was started in 2010 with financial support and advice from the UFCW, but the union says the group is now “its own nonprofit organized by Wal-Mart workers funded through dues that are voluntarily contributed.”
The original financial supermarket is reportedly planning to cut another 300 jobs from its global sales and trading desks in 2012. The latest round of cuts at Citigroup was reportedly put in process before the abrupt departure of former CEO Vikram Pandit.
The network hardware maker will buy Merkai for about $1.2 billion as the company continues to build out its cloud computing services. Merkai is currently backed by companies like Google and Sequoia Partners and will allow Cisco (CSCO) to sell products that allow control of networks through the internet.
The home-improvement retailer reported earnings of 35 cents per share, or 40 cents per share on an adjusted basis. Analysts had been expecting an average of 36 cents per share. Revenue during the quarter was $12.07 billion, beating estimates for $11.93 billion. The company has been adjusting its pricing strategies and that effort appears to be working based on the most-recent quarter's results.