The Day Ahead: Facebook Soars on Mobile

 | Jan 30, 2014 | 8:42 AM EST
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Tech news dominates Thursday's premarket, led by a big earnings win from a social-media giant and Google's (GOOG) decision to slough off an underperforming unit.

U.S. futures were recently indicating a higher open, shrugging off Wednesday's selloff highlighted by the Federal Reserve's decision to further reduce its bond-buying program.

Earnings are making for positive action so far today. Facebook (FB) showed big fourth-quarter sales gains late Wednesday, driven by a surge in mobile advertising, and investors "liked" the results so much that the shares are nearly 18% higher in premarket trading.

Meanwhile, Action Alerts PLUS holdings Lam Research (LRCX) and ServiceNow (NOW) delivered strong quarterly results last night. Lam beat on the top and bottom lines, and ServiceNow surpassed sales views and delivered in-line income. More importantly, NOW guided for higher current-quarter and full-year results.

More results from AAP holdings came from Occidental (OXY), which topped earnings estimates by $0.04 per share but missed revenue calls, and Timken (TKR), which beat profit views by a nickel and surprised on the top line as well.

In other earnings news:

  • UPS (UPS) shares were climbing after the shipping giant delivered in-line earnings.
  • Exxon Mobil (XOM) shares were down slightly posting a $0.01-per-share earnings miss on a 16% drop in profit.
  • 3M (MMM) saw net income rise from a year ago but missed sales views.
  • Colgate-Palmolive's (CL) net income came in a penny a share ahead of analysts' expectations.
  • Altria (MO) missed on the top and bottom lines.
  • Symantec (SYMC) said quarterly profit jumped by nearly one-third, but the company also offered a weak sales outlook.
  • Qualcomm (QCOM) offered mixed quarterly results and raised its full-year outlook.
  • Visa (V) beat EPS estimates by $0.04 on in-line revenue, helped by increased credit-card payments.

Meanwhile, recently added AAP stock Google is set to lead earnings reports after today's close, but the search giant is already making headlines with a deal to sell its Motorola Mobility handset business to China's Lenovo for $2.9 billion. Portfolio co-manager Stephanie Link said in an Alert that exiting the handset business should lead to better margins and will be less of a distraction to management.

Look for results later today from companies including Amazon (AMZN), Broadcom (BRCM) and Chipotle (CMG).

In economic news, the U.S. economy grew faster than expected in the fourth quarter, with gross domestic product rising 3.2%, 2 basis points better than consensus. Also, weekly initial jobless claims rose by 19,000 last week to 348,000, up from 326,000 the previous week. Look for pending home sales at 10 a.m. ET.

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