Headlines this morning include job cuts at Caterpillar, earnings from Sears, J.C. Penney and Wendy's, more suspicious trades before the Heinz deal, an Dreamliner update and Ford planning to sell cars in Burma.
Heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar (CAT) announced plans to cut 1,400 jobs at a plant near Charleroi , Belgium on Thursday. The company said the cuts are due to high costs and a weak European economy. The facility that will see the cuts is one of the company's largest in Europe and employs 3,700 people.
Retailer Sears Holdings (SHLD) reported a loss of $4.61 per share for the quarter ended Feb. 2, compared to a loss of $22.63 per share in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted earnings from continuing operations were $1.12 per share on revenues of $12.26 billion. Analysts had expected adjusted EPS of 98 cents per share on $11.7 billion in sales.
A derivative trade in London has raised the suspicions of regulators who are already looking into a big options bet placed from a Swiss-based Goldman Sachs (GS) private wealth account just before Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) and 3G Capital made a $23 billion bid for ketchup-maker Heinz. Known as a contract-for-difference, the London trade is a way to bet on changes in share prices without owning the shares. The contracts are unregulated in the U.S., but are popular in Britain because they require little capital and can be traded on margin.
Airplane-maker Boeing and the Japanese firm that makes the troubled lithium-ion batteries in the 787 Dreamliner are at odds about how to fix problems with the batteries and get the planes flying again according to the Wall Street Journal. Ray Conner, Boeing's CEO of commercial airplanes, said there is no dispute with GS Yuasa Corp. The Journal said GS Yuasa wants the fix to include a voltage regulator to stop voltage from entering the better, while Boeing favors a better box to house that batteries and greater cooling capacity.
Struggling retailer J.C. Penney (JCP) reported a net loss of $2.51 for the period ended Feb. 2, compared to a loss of 41 cents in the year-ago period. On an adjusted basis, the company reported a loss of $1.95 per share on revenue of $3.88 billion. Analysts expected a loss of 18 cents per share. Same-store sales fell by 31.7 percent, even wider than the 27.8 percent decline analysts expected.
Square-hamburger chain Wendy's (WEN) reported earnings of 7 cents per share on sales of $629.9 million. Analysts had expected EPS of 8 cents on revenue of $630 million. The company reaffirmed its 2013 guidance for 18 cents to 20 cents per share, which compares to a mean estimate for 18 cents.
Auto-maker Ford (F) has signed a deal to sell cars in Burma, also known as Myanmar. The company joins a number of other companies that have taken advantage of lifted sanctions after a series of political and economic reforms in the country.