Jan. 08 - Summary of business headlines: Alcoa revenues fall as aluminum prices drop; Boeing 787 becoming less than a dream; Sears declines after CEO plans exit; Wall Street ends lower. Conway G. Gittens reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL Stocks fall for the second day in a row with investors waiting to see what shakes out during earnings season. But for a second day in row stocks closed off their lows of the day to finish with modest declines. Alcoa released fourth-quarter results after the close. Profits hit forecasts as cost-cutting offset lower aluminum prices. Revenues were better than expected at $5.9 billion, but down slightly from the same time the year before. Apart from earnings, Boeing is having problems with its newly launched 787 Dreamliner. A Japan Air Lines flight had to return to the gate after a fuel leak. A different J-A-L aircraft had a fire the day before. And according to the Wall Street Journal, a third plane, operated by United Airlines, has wiring problems. Back in December, regulators ordered inspections of all 787s after fuel leaks were found on two aircraft. Shares of Boeing are down 4-1/2 percent in two days. Sears Holdings, parent of Sears and Kmart, out with sales figures that include the holiday shopping season that were not as bad as feared. The company is getting a new CEO though. Chairman Eddie Lampert is taking over day-to-day operations after the current chief steps down to deal with family health issues. But the change at the top is shaking confidence in a turnaround plan - sending that stock tumbling more than 6 percent. Sticking with retail, signs of just how deep the drop-off from the holiday shopping season is for retailers. Chain store sales fell more than 4 percent last week, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. It's all about gadgets this week. Samsung says its sells 500 handsets a minute. Meanwhile AT&T says it sold a record of more than 10 million smartphones at the end of last year. Smartphones can be costly for service providers - cautious investors pushed shares of AT&T lower. A mixed bag in Europe - but the moves were tiny as investors await clues on the health of corporate sales.