Mar 22 - Summary of business headlines: Better-than-expected earnings from Tiffany and Nike help Wall Street sprint to the finish line; Darden outlines low-cost menu; BlackBerry z10 goes on sale, stock drops; EU to meet Sunday on Cyprus -sources. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Wall Street ends an up-down, up-down week - up. The Dow climbed 90 points, the S&P 500 rose 11 points and the Nasdaq jumped 22 points. As for the weekly totals, the Dow narrowly snapped a three-week rally and the Nasdaq - down fractionally as well. Earnings set the tone for the day. Tiffany beat profit forecasts and predicts its full-year sales will come in ahead of Wall Street consensus. The blue box retailer is seeing better sales in Asia and it is readying a line of lower-priced silver jewelry in the U.S. Silver makes up one-quarter of Tiffany sales. Shares of the high-end retailer rose roughly 2 percent. Investors also responded positively to Nike's results, which came out after the close on Thursday. Margins at the athletic apparel company are improving. That was enough to send shares surging 11 percent to an all-new high. Darden Restaurants, the parent of Red Lobster and Olive Garden, meeting expectations. The casual dining company says it will expand its low-cost menus as consumers grapple with higher gasoline prices and higher taxes. Investors like the strategy and sent the stock more than a full percent higher. BlackBerry began selling the z10 in the key U.S. market. It may take a while to get a clear picture on sales, but there may be a clue when the company releases results next week. Kevin Burden of Strategy Analytics: SOUNDBITE: KEVIN BURDEN, DIRECTOR OF MOBILITY, STRATEGY ANALYTICS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "If BlackBerry can actually pull off 300,000 units, again this would be about 100,000 potentially for AT&T, 150,000 units for Verizon and that 's kind of the way its tracking, and about 50,000 for T-Mobile that would be a successful launch. They are certainly capable of doing that." U.S. listed shares gave up early gains to finish down by nearly 8 percent. Turning to Europe - Cyprus will be the subject of a Eurogroup Finance ministers meeting on Sunday - two EU sources told us. Stocks fell slightly in Germany and France- up slightly in the U.K. before that headline.