9:45 AM New York – U.S. and global indexes traded higher after comments from German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Illinois Tool Works agreed to divest a 51% stake in its unit for $1.1 billion. Foot Locker net soared in the second quarter.
U.S. indexes opened higher following the gain in European markets after comments from Angela Merkel suggested easing of austerity measures for Greece. Her comments also appear to back the fresh round of bond buying from the European Central Bank.
Separately, Spanish banks' bad loans rose 9.42% of total lending in June compared to 8.96% in May, the Bank of Spain reported today. Non-performing loans increased €8.4 billion in June to €164.4 billion.
Markets in Asia closed higher and the indexes in Japan extended gains for the second day and closed at a 3-month high. Market indexes in Hong Kong gained 0.8% and in India added 0.2%.
DoJ Clears Verizon Cable Deal
The U.S Department of Justice on Thursday cleared the $3.9 billion deal by Verizon Wireless to acquire a significant portfolio of wireless spectrum licenses from a consortium of cable companies with some restrictions.
The department said that, if left unaltered, the agreements would have harmed competition by diminishing the companies’ incentive to compete, resulting in higher prices and lower quality for consumers.
Illinois Tool Divests Stake in Decorative Unit
Illinois Tool Works, Inc., the industrial equipment maker agreed to divest a 51% stake in its Decorative Surfaces unit including Wilsonart and related international businesses to Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, LLC.
The company will receive cash proceeds of about $1.05 billion at closing and retain a 49% equity stake in the business.
ITW intends to utilize a majority of after-tax transaction proceeds to repurchase shares to help offset associated earnings dilution.
), the specialty retailer reported second quarter net sales for fiscal 2012 rose to $594.9 million from $558.2 million a year ago quarter. Comparable sales for the quarter increased 4.7% from the second quarter a year ago.
Net income for the quarter rose 24% to $30.7 million or 63 cents per diluted share compared with $24.8 million or 47 cents per share reported in the second quarter of 2011.
Foot Locker, Inc.
(FL)), the specialty athletic retailer said second quarter total sales increased 7.2% to $1.367 billion on comparable store sales increase of 9.8%. Net income for the quarter soared to $59 million or 39 cents per diluted share compared with net income of $37 million or 24 cents per share, reported for the corresponding quarter last year.
Hibbett Sports, Inc.
), the sporting goods retailer stated second quarter net sales grew 8% to $165.45 million from the prior-year quarter. Comparable store sales increased 4.8% in the quarter.
Net income increased 32.9% to $7.9 million or 30 cents per diluted share compared with $5.94 million or 21 cents per share a year ago.
The J. M. Smucker Company
), the food products maker reported first quarter net sales rose 15% to $1.37 billion from the prior year quarter. Net income for the quarter declined 1% to $110.86 million from $111.52 million in the same quarter last year. However, on a per diluted share basis, net income rose to $1 from 98 cents in the year ago quarter.