Sea of Red: Markets Worldwide Lose Ground (Bloomberg)
Worldwide, a wave of fear seems to have swept up investors — leaving a trail of red numbers in its wake. In the Far East, the Nikkei 225 lost 2.26 percent, while the Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite gave back 1.32 and 1.4 percent, respectively. While in Europe, the Italian general election ended with no clear winner — raising major concerns about the region’s economic stability near term: England’s FTSE 100, France’s CAC 40 and the German DAX lost 1.36, 2.37 and 1.87 percent, respectively. Finally, U.S. index futures look to be rallying slightly, and could go green shortly after yesterday’s bath. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq, currently reflect losses of 1.55, 1.83 and 1.44 percent, respectively.
Real Renovation: Home Depot’s Net up almost One-Third (AP)
The largest home improvement chain in the United States got even bigger in the fourth quarter of 2012. Home Depot’s net income blew past expectations, surging 32 percent. For the period ending Feb. 3, the company earned $1.02 billion (68 cents per share), compared to $774 million (50 cents a share) last year. A good chunk of the growth can be attributed to the quarter having an extra week… But all of the goodwill can be attributed to Home Depot management as it announced a $17 billion share buy back, and a quarterly dividend boost of 34 percent. Home Depot’s moves should help investors to boost their profits in 2013.
Nestle’s Still on Eating Binge, Gobbles up Pamlab (Reuters)
Nestle, the world’s largest food group, watched its waste line expand again this morning, as it agreed to buy Pamlab, a U.S. medical foods company. Pamlab will become part of the Zurich-based behemoth’s Nestle Health Science wing — a division focused on profits from the growing demand for medical foods. Pamlab brings to Nestle the ability to serve food to an aging population — one with medical conditions that require restrictive diets. And the newest acquisition becomes Nestle’s third in the medical food arena, joining two groups acquired last year: U.S.-based Prometheus Labs and CM&D Pharma Ltd located in the United Kingdom.