April 24 - Summary: Both Amazon and Microsoft earnings beat forecasts, Markets modest gains; GM profits plummet; Zimmer buying Biomet; Jobless claims rise. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Tech titans out with earnings after the closing bell. Amazon net income jumped 32 percent last quarter, and revenue was up a better-than-expected 23 percent. The online retailer getting a boost from strong sales of electronics. Microsoft profits fell, but the results were still better than forecasts. The PC market still sliding, hurting its consumer business. Morningstar's Norman Young: SOUNDBITE: NORMAN YOUNG, SENIOR EQUITY ANALYST, MORNINGSTAR (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The pleasant surprise here is that they were able to eke out a little bit of a gain in their commercial licensing business, or, sorry, their consumer licensing business which includes the Windows PC segment. So, this is after some, you know, pretty bleak PC sales over the last couple of years." Starbucks earnings were in line with forecasts. Sales at Starbucks cafes were up a bit more than forecasts. The regular trading session was volatile, concerns related to Ukraine offsetting a strong pull upward from Apple. That stock surging after stellar results Wednesday after the bell. The major U.S. indexes closing mostly higher with the Dow flat on the day. General Motors first quarter profits however took a nosedive, down 88 percent. That massive recall hit hard, but the numbers were still better than forecasts. Tesla got some new ammunition in its fight to sell their electric cars directly to consumers. Three top officials at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission came out in a blog against laws that ban automakers like Tesla from doing just that. The views are their own, and it's not clear if the FTC will take action. And a big deal in the medical devices business. Zimmer Holdings stock shot up on news of its $13 billion deal to buy orthopedic products company Biomet. Jobless claims up more than expected, up 24,000 to 329,000 for the week ended April 19th. But that's still considered a level that shows an improving trend in the labor market. In Europe, modest gains, on signs of a pickup in corporate takeover activity.