Top of the Morning – $JNJ Sales Up But Profits Down

Yahoo Tops Expectations (FT)

Yahoo’s profits fell 26 per cent in the third quarter of 2011 compared to a year before but still beat analysts low expectations, sending its shares higher amid the most tumultuous period in its history. In his first earnings call since taking over when Carol Bartz was fired as chief executive, Tim Morse, Yahoo’s interim chief executive and chief financial officer, attempted to strike an optimistic tone with investors.

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Abbott Laboratories to Split in Two (NYTimes)

Abbott Laboratories said on Wednesday that it planned to split itself into two companies by spinning off its research drug division to shareholders. Abbott is the latest company to look to a spinoff as a way to bolster its stock price, following the likes of Kraft Foods, McGraw-Hill ITT and the Williams Companies. Many of these corporate breakups have focused on casting off slower-growing or riskier businesses to hold on to high-growth operations.

BlackRock Reports Higher 3rd Qtr Earnings Thanks to Fees (Bloomberg)

BlackRock Inc., the world’s biggest asset manager, said third-quarter profit increased 8 percent on higher fees for managing client assets and advising institutions on hard-to-value securities. Net income increased to $595 million, or $3.23 a share, from $551 million, or $2.83, a year earlier, the New York-based company said today in a statement. Excluding certain one-time items, BlackRock earned $2.83 a share, compared with the $2.66 average estimate of 14 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Police Seize €245m in Italian UniCredit – Barclays Probe (FT)

Italian police have seized funds worth €245m at UniCredit, Italy’s largest bank by assets, as part of probe into allegations of tax fraud via a complex financial scheme set up by the Italian bank and Britain’s Barclays. The Italian bank said it was “very surprised by this initiative and remains convinced that both it and its employees acted correctly and properly in relation to this matter”‬.

Moody’s Downgrades Spain Rating (FT)

Moody’s has cut Spain’s sovereign credit rating, making it the last of the big three rating agencies to take action in less than a month as confidence wanes over whether the eurozone’s fourth-largest economy will be able to meet its ambitious deficit reduction targets. Citing Spain’s “moderate growth prospects” and vulnerability to further market turmoil freezing its access to international lending, Moody’s lowered its sovereign rating two notches from Aa2 to A1 and put it on negative outlook.

$JnJ Reports Sales Up, Profits Down (FT)

Johnson & Johnson, the healthcare and consumer products group, reported a decline in third-quarter profit, as US consumers shied away from expensive medical procedures and shifted to cheaper store-brand drugs. Economic weakness led to declining US sales of J&J’s over-the-counter drugs and medical devices, causing net earnings to fall 6.3 per cent from a year ago to $3.2bn, or $1.15 per share.

Intel Beats Expectations (FT)

Intel beat Wall Street expectations with record quarterly revenues and profits as sales of its processors for data centres and notebook PCs boomed. However, sales of its low-power Atom microprocessors fell 32 per cent as the netbook market fell sharply in the face of competition from tablets such as Apple’s iPad 2.

Apple $AAPL Missing Earnings Estimates (FT)

Apple reported $6.62bn in third-quarter profits, but missed quarterly earnings expectations for the first time in years, sending its shares down more than 6 per cent in after-hours trading. Analysts had been looking for earnings of $7.25bn, according to one survey, but Apple missed that target as iPhone sales proved disappointing. Apple said it sold 17.07 million iPhones in the quarter, up 21 per cent in units from a year earlier, but below projections of about 19m.

Exxon, BP and Eni SpA to Upgrade Iraqi Oilfields (WSJ)

Exxon Mobil Corp., BP PLC and Italy’s Eni SpA will spend around $100 billion to upgrade three oilfields in southern Iraq, the top energy adviser to the Iraqi Prime Minister said Wednesday. Thamer Ghadhban said some $50 billion would be spent to upgrade the supergiant West Qurna Phase 1 oilfield which is being developed by Exxon Mobil. The remaining $50 billion will be spent by BP and Eni to upgrade the Rumaila and Zubair oil fields respectively, he said.

SABMiller Announces Strategic Alliance with Turkish Brewer (WSJ)

SABMiller PLC Wednesday announced a strategic alliance with Turkish brewer Anadolu Efes to expand their presence in the fast-growing markets of Turkey, Russia, Central Asia and the Middle East. SABMiller, the world’s second-biggest brewer by volume after Anheuser-Busch InBev, said the partnership was highly attractive,” and will increase the development and distribution of both businesses’ brands.