Dow Chemical Soars on Third Point Stake

The market is in full churn mode moving both up and down today before closing near the flat-line. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 44 points finishing the day at 16,414. The Standard & Poors 500 Index finished flat while the more technology heavy Nasdaq closed with a small gain of 28 points.
On the first day of trading after the Martin Luther King holiday weekend investors returned to a full slate of activity.
Leading the charge is Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW). The chemical company soared nearly 7% after it was announced that Daniel Loeb and his Third Point hedge fund had taken a large stake in the company.
The size of the stake was not disclosed, but it is said to be large. As is typical with Loeb, the position is not meant to be friendly to management. In a letter to investors, Loeb blasted management for under delivering results against guidance and said that Dow’s petrochemical business ought to be spun-off.
Johnson & Johnson disappoints
At the top of the list of companies reporting results today was Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ). The giant health care products company announced it had exceeded estimates by 4 cents per share in the 4th quarter. Revenues also bested estimates, but the company said that 2014 earnings per share would be at the low end of expectations.
That was enough to disappoint investors who sent shares down as low as $92.62 before rebounding throughout the day. The stock closed at $94.03 losing 1.5%.
Delta Airlines continues to fly
Shares of Delta Airlines (NYSE: DAL) continued its impressive run. The stock, already a big winner in 2013, added more than 3% after another blow-out earnings report. The company said it made 65 cents per share before one-time items. Analysts were expecting a profit of 63 cents per share. The big news was on the margin front. There, Delta said that first quarter operating margins would fall between 6 and 8 percent. Cowen & Co. had a margin forecast of 5.4%. If the company hits the high end of its forecasted range shares could move even higher.
Blackberry surges on Pentagon usage
Blackberry (NASDAQ: BBRY) the much maligned smart phone maker jumped after a report from the Pentagon said that the Blackberry device was the overwhelmingly most used device in the defense department. The stock was up nearly 10% on the news. Thus far in 2014 the stock is up some 30% now.
Apple brushes off downgrade
Societe Generale cut their rating on shares of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL). Investors shrugged pushing up the technology behemoth by 1.5% on the day. The concern at Societe is that sales of the i-Phone 5 have slowed. The company reports earnings results after the market closes on Monday, January 27, 2014. The bet today is that Apple is likely to produce a typical blow-out quarter against expectations. We shall see.
Target slides on concerns about identity theft impact
If there was a dead stock in the market today, Target (NYSE: TGT) might be the one. Shares of the giant retailer were down nearly 2% today. Over the weekend a not so flattering story in the New York Times suggested how remarkably easy it was for hackers to penetrate Target systems. If so, there could be some big liability issues here that have yet to be fully priced in the stock. In addition, the impact of the theft on customer habits remains to be seen. Investors look to be selling today and asking questions later.

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