It was a busy day as The Dow opened lower then rallied toward the close before ending the day off 13 at 18,149. Trading volume was heavier on the Dow but lighter on the NASDAQ which closed up 15 points thanks to strength in tech stocks like Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook. For the week the Dow eked out a miniscule gain of 0.005%. For the year the Dow is up 4.1%
Various buyout rumors were flying around on Friday. One source reported that AT&T is in advanced talks to buy Time Warner. The news drove Ma Bell’s stock lower while pushing Time Warner up about 9%. In other buyout news former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that while he is a shareholder of Twitter he does not plan to attempt a buyout of the social media company. When considering Ballmer’s track record at Microsoft, Twitter exec’s no doubt breathed a sigh of relief. It was also rumored that Softbank is interested in Twitter. One interesting factoid about Twitter is that suiters for the company have been scared off by the uncontrollable nature of tweeting where any subject at any time is fair game. Free speech can be uncomfortable and Disney for instance cited this as its reason for backing away from a possible deal since some tweets could go against the company’s “family” orientation.
Microsoft, aka “Micropoopee”, reported Q3 results that beat estimates as net income was up 7% and sales were up 3%. The company’s forward guidance was also higher and this trifecta sent shares to an all-time high. The company continues to execute well on its global cloud initiative.
Railroad operator Union Pacific fell hard after its earnings report yesterday thanks to a 9% drop in profits and a 7% drop in revenue. Justin “JL” Long, an analyst with Stephens & Co. said the rail sector can be a good indicator of the overall health of the economy and that current trends in shipping volumes are indicative of a slowly growing economy.
One area seeing some growth however is the hospital space. Thanks to improved reimbursements under the ACA, hospitals are now looking at upgrade and expansion plans. Once source I spoke with said his organization is busy with 3 major hospital projects while several more are lining up behind them. I wonder if the election will affect this trend at all.
Last night we took 23 scouts to the UW Planetarium. Only in Seattle do you have to go indoors to see the sky! Our next trip in a couple of weeks is to the Observatory in Goldendale.