Fiscal worries in the Eurozone continue to dominate headlines and investor sentiment with European bourses mostly down on Wednesday. Stateside, skepticism about the prospects for the U.S. Federal Reserve to provide stimulus is high but investors will remain watchful in the coming days for signs the central bank could move to boost economic growth. Meanwhile, the U.S. National Association of Realtors will report on existing home sales in July on Wednesday. Closer to home, Statistics Canada will issue two reports on June retail sales and wholesale transactions.
Here are the stocks we're watching today:
*Hewlett-Packard Co., the former PC heavyweight, will report its fiscal third quarter earnings after the markets close on Wednesday. Analysts expect to see a loss of nearly $9 billion. Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP had previously warned that it expects a loss of $4.31 to $4.49 per share equalling a loss of $8.5 billion to $8.9 billion — the worst quarterly showing since HP started out in a garage in 1939. The massive loss is attributed to a number of factors including the cost of severance payments to the first wave of HP employees issued pink slips and due to a 2009 $13 billion acquisition of tech consulting firm Electronic Data Systems that hasn't panned out.
*Facebook stock has been on a wild ride this week. The stock slipped to its lowest level yet on Monday, $18.75, and ended the day less than half of its IPO price. Shares closed down 4.3 per cent Tuesday at $19.16 after reports surfaced late Monday that one of Facebook's directors and early investors, Peter Thiel, sold more than 20 million shares after the social-network's stock lockup ended. Investors are worried about Facebook's ability to grow revenue, especially in the all-important mobile sphere as users transition from desktops to smartphones.
*Heineken NV, the Dutch brewing company that owns more than 125 breweries in 70 countries, saw its first half profits rise thanks to the sale of a brewery in the Dominican Republic. Heineken reported a net profit increase of 30 per cent to €783 million ($976 million). The company is also inching towards a takeover of Tiger beer maker Asian Pacific Breweries though Heineken continues to struggle to buy a larger, controlling stake in APB.
*BHP Billiton PLC, the Anglo-Australian multinational mining, oil and gas company that's headquartered in Melbourne, reported its first drop in annual profit in three years and the company says it won't approve new projects until mid-2013. This could be the biggest sign yet that the global mining boom has come to an end. BHP's revenue edged up 0.7 per cent to $72.23 billion but profit for the year is down by 21 per cent at $17.12 billion.
*Toll Brothers Inc., a U.S.-based luxury homebuilder, will release its third quarter 2012 results after the markets close on Wednesday. Analysts expect to see 18 cents per share on revenues of $505 million. The company reported earnings of 9 cents per share on revenues of $373.7 million in its second quarter, up by 17 per cent from the comparable prior-year quarter, driven by rising demand and low competition for the luxury products it produces.