April 19 - Summary of business headlines: Wall St. eyes on Boston; McDonalds sour earnings; GE cuts profit estimates; Honeywell's sweet earnings report; Boeing's get battery ok; Blackstone drops Dell bid. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Stocks came back from earlier losses on Friday to close in the black- with the Nasdaq posting a gain of more than one percent- as the nation focused on the lock-down in Boston. For the week: the major U.S. indexes posted the largest weekly percentage decline so far this year- with the key indexes all down more than 2 percent. IBM shares though posting their worst day in eight years a day after its disappointing earnings results. The company one of many to miss the mark so far this earnings season: Alec Young of S&P Capital IQ: SOUNDBITE: ALEC YOUNG, GLOBAL EQUITY STRATEGIST, S&P CAPITAL IQ (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The quality of the results overall is not that great. A lot of cost cutting. So I think overall it's been kind of sluggish. And the other thing that is hanging over the earnings season is the fact that the macro data has weakened recently, not only in the U.S. but in Europe and in Asia so people are worried then on a forward basis you know results may continue to struggle a little bit." McDonald's warning global sales would be lower in April. McDonald's stock, which has been at record levels, fell on the news. GE is blaming weakness in Europe and sliding wind turbine sales for a cut in its profit growth estimates. That news overshadowed the company's earnings- which were in line with forecasts. Higher margins helped boost profits at Honeywell despite the slow-growth economy. The conglomerate reported a first quarter profit above analysts expectations and raised earnings forecasts. Blackstone is bowing out of its pursuit of Dell. The firm cited a 14 percent drop in industry P.C. sales and a lower earnings forecast by Dell as reasons for its withdrawal. It clears the way for founder Michael Dell and his private equity partner Silverlake to go ahead with its $24 billion plan to buy the company. Good news for Boeing. The FAA has approved a revamped battery design system for its 787 Dreamliner- a key step in returning the high tech jet to the skies. Its been grounded for three months because of batteries that burned on the planes. Finance leaders of the G20 economies agreed not to set hard targets on debt reduction. Following a two-day meeting in Washington, they said they would be watching to negative side effects of massive monetary stimulus efforts - like in Japan. Turning to Europe, Britain's credit rating took another blow when Fitch Ratings became the second major international agency to strip the country of its top-notch credit rating. Fitch cut it to AA-plus from AAA, citing a weaker economic and fiscal outlook- but returned its outlook to "stable". The major European indexes closing mixed- with the London FTSE posting a gain before that downgrade.