Feb. 12 - Summary of business headlines: Comcast gives GE $16.7 billion for remaining NBC Universal stake; Dow back above 14,000 on hopes President can ignite economy; Fund manager sees Dow 20,000; Coke sales disappoint, Kors sales soar. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Investors optimistically look ahead to President Obama's State of the Union Speech. He is expected to focus on economic growth and jobs. The final numbers are coming, but first a big deal after the bell. Comcast is buying the remaining stake in NBC Universal it does not already own for $16.7 billion from General Electric. Also buying back $2 billion in stock, hiking its dividend, and issuing quarterly results hours ahead of schedule. Meanwhile, GE, the biggest U.S. conglomerate, now out of the media business -raising a stock buyback to $35 billion, not to mention flush with that $17 billion paycheck. Both stocks finished the regular session higher and added to gains after the close. Back to the regular session now, a jump in the Dow puts the blue chip index less than a 150 points away from touching an all-time record, the S&P 500 gains ground, but the Nasdaq slips ever so slightly. Neil Hennessey, chief investment officer of Hennessey Funds is willing to go out on a limb, with his five-year prediction on the Dow. SOUNDBITE: NEIL HENNESSEY, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, HENNESSEY FUNDS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "People think I'm crazy - - But I can see the market going to 20,000 and it's now that difficult because I think we are back in the 1982-2000 market, where you can have consistent returns in the 8 to 12 percent range a year. And you get that and you're easy 20,000. And that's not taking a lot of risk, that's just a market growing little by little." Results from Coca-Cola are reminder that you need sales growth to get you there. Revenues rose 4 percent to nearly $11-1/2 billion, but that was not as good as Wall Street hoped. The blame: weakness in Europe and China. Profits beat forecasts but shares of the No. 1 soft drink company fell 2.7 percent. Michael Kors continues to shine. The high-end goods company topping expectations and raising guidance for the year. Shares surged nearly 9 percent to a fresh post-IPO high. In Europe, The City is a bit gloomier. London's financial district - getting word that Barclays' new CEO is slashing 37-hundred jobs. As for the market, stocks in the U.K. and France up about 1 percent, Germany was up by less.