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Market Morning – Citigroup (NYSE:C), JP Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S), Verizon (NYSE:VZ), Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD)

03/31/10 by  
Filed under Bourbon & Bayonets

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Disappointingly, job figures released today from the ADP indicated that the economic recovery is as fragile as has been feared.  March showed a net loss of 23,000 jobs in the private sector.  February’s figures were also revised, and showed the month had a net loss of approximately 24,000 jobs (up from the originally reported 20,000 lost). Economists had predicted that March would have a net gain of 40,000 jobs.  The official Labor Department report is due out this Friday.  Treasury bonds have gone up after the news.

Drill, Obama, Drill?  Despite news that US President Barak Obama has proposed a plan for expanding oil drilling on the coast of the nation, oil prices have been up slightly today (at time of writing).  This drilling expansion is encouraging news for investors of American oil companies.  Obama’s plan allows for new drilling for oil off the coasts of Virginia and in the Gulf of Mexico for the first time in twenty years.  Not included in the drilling zone are the coasts of Alaska, the Northeast United States, and California.

In banking news, Barclays today announced it has finished the acquisition of Citigroup (NYSE:C) Italian-based credit card business, Citibank International Bank PLC.  The big news for the bank this week, however, was the US treasury department announcement on Monday its intention to sell off the government’s 27% stake in Citi. The Treasury is currently the majority shareholder of the company, as it currently holds approximately 7.7 billion common shares. It plans to sell them off throughout 2010, and it being reported that a specific plan (And likely timeline) are to be announced next week.

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A $100 million dollar lawsuit, filed against JP Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) for predatory lending practices by former Mets and Phillies baseball star Lenny Dykstra, has been dropped. According to reports, the bank has an agreement that allows it to foreclose on the aged ball player’s home.  Court records show that the bank is still owed approximately $13 million dollars on the California home, and that the home is currently listed for sale at $14.8 million.

Finally for banking news, it was reported that mortgage applications in the United States have increased this last week.  According to Reuters, this is the first time home loan applications have increased in roughly a month.  Spring is considered the peak-buying season for homes; this could be a reassuring sign that this traditionally strong period will not disappoint the housing market.  Sales were up 1.3% for the week, and the four-week average is up 2.2%.

In tech news, Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) is in the process of expanding their hiring process in several areas.  The mobile phone companies Sacramento, California call center is looking to fill roughly 125 jobs in April.  It’s Orlando contact center is also looking for new hires, adding approximately 100 jobs next month. We reported yesterday that Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and their network will be compatible with the newest offering of the incredibly popular iPhone, a boost for the ‘hear-me-now’ network.  With the big news coming recently from all of Sprint’s biggest competitors, quiet expansion indicates confidence from the mobile company’s leadership.

Finally, it is being reported that the drug and supermart company Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD) has an expected loss between $0.41 and $0.65 per share for the fiscal year.  The company expects its revenue to be between $25.2 and $25.6 million for the year.  According to EarningsWhispers, a leader in earnings expectations, the estimated loss for the company ending in February of next year is roughly $0.37 a share.

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