Aug. 7 - Summary of business headlines: Stocks climb ahead of mixed after-hour results from Walt Disney and Priceline.com; Labor Department data show U.S. job openings at post-recession high; Standard Chartered fiasco grows. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Wall Street moves up for a third day without any new blow-ups in Europe, leaving investors to bet the Europeans are working on a battle plan. Gains held for most of the session with the Nasdaq continuing to outpace in percentage terms. After the bell: Superheroes weren't enough to beat sales forecast at Walt Disney. "Avengers" flew into the history books as the third highest grossing movie of all time, but a drop in advertising revenues and lower ratings in the broadcast division were the villains in terms of Disney missing revenue estimates. Profits were better than hoped. Morningstar's Michael Corty: SOUNDBITE: MICHAEL CORTY, EQUITY ANALYST, MORNINGSTAR (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think that both the parks and the movie studio were even stronger than my expectations. On the park side, I expected the results, but they are going against tougher comparisons and year-over-year they continue to put up great numbers and on the studio side there was a huge jump in profitability." Meanwhile, the clicks keep coming at Priceline.com but revenues were not as strong as hoped. Earnings excluding items were ahead of forecasts, but the outlook is below consensus. The name-your-price travel website says a slowing global economy will hurt travel in coming months. Oil prices leaped to a 12-week high. Traders point to supply concerns in Europe and a big refinery fire in California for the move up. New data are offering hopeful signs for the labor market. At the end of June job openings inched up to 3.8 million, according to the U.S. Labor Department, that's a post-recession high. Now all that needs to be done is to match the right people with those openings. Last month, hiring came in at 163,000, according to separate data. The big story in Europe: Standard Chartered. The White House says the U.S. Treasury is in close contact with the New York regulator accusing Standard Chartered of hiding $250 billion in dealings with Iran. The accusations are shaking investors' confidence in the UK bank and leaving many to wonder if other banks will be accused of doing the same thing. Shares in the UK and Germany were up less than a percent and France was up 1-1/2 percent. Conway Gittens, Reuters