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Morning Update

Jobless claims for the week of July 14th were 386,000. Initial claims for the week of July 7th were revised down a sharp 26,000 to 350,000. This has brought the four week average of initial jobless claims down 1,500 to 375,500. This week’s increase can partly be attributed to annual auto plant shutdowns for retooling in July.

After yesterday’s close American Express beat earnings but reported lighter than expected revenue, slower than average growth in card member spending. Loan losses have remained at record low levels. American Express’s customers are typically seen as affluent, making American Express earnings a good indicator of the spending habits of wealthier Americans.

IBM missed revenue expectations for the 4th time in a row but still managed to beat on earnings. IBM revised their future earnings outlook upwards, giving trader’s confidence in tech’s resilience.

This morning Verizon reported earnings miss of $0.64 per share, an increase of 12.3% year-over-year. Verizon’s revenues grew 3.7% and cash flow grew 20.1% compared to 2Q2011.

Signs of a Chinese slowdown could be seen in YUM Brand’s earnings, which missed the street consensus of $0.70 per share by $0.03. Same store sales rose 10% in China last quarter but that operating profit at those stores declined 4% before currency translation. In a conference call management attributed declining profit margins to high inflation in China and expects the setback to be short-lived. China is YUM’s largest profit-contributing area.

Today after the close two of tech’s giants will be reporting what are expected to be drastically different earnings reports. Google’s earnings could be record second quarter numbers despite rising competition from Apple and Facebook, along with associated charges with its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings. Specifically investors will be looking to see how many new Google+ members the company has attracted to gauge its competiveness with Facebook. Last quarter Google+ has 190 million members while Facebook had 901 million.

In stark contrast the optimism surrounding Google’s earnings, Microsoft’s are expected to be a record second quarter loss. This is the result of the company taking a one-time charge of #6.2 billion to write off its 2007 acquisition of aQuantive, an online advertising agency. Microsoft investors are focused on the release of Window’s 8 on October 26, 2012. This will be the main catalyst for earnings growth for the rest of the year.


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