Jan 22 - Summary of business headlines: Quarterly sales rise at Google, IBM debunking fiscal cliff slowdown fears; Johnson and Johnson gains on drug sales; DuPont tempers expectations; Existing homes sales drop, but recovery intact; Wall Street hits fresh 5-year high. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Wall Street creeps up to a fresh five-year high as earnings season roars ahead. The Dow gains 62 points, the S&P 500 rises 6 points and the Nasdaq - up 8 points. After the bell, Google's cost-per-click were down, while paid clicks were up, And total revenues jumped 36 percent to more than $14 billion. So on the surface, the search giant's results were seen as largely positive. IBM beat sales forecasts in yet another sign worries of a tech spending slowdown at the end of last year due to the fiscal cliff debate, not a worry. In other earnings news, a disappointing quarter for Verizon. Hefty costs for providing service to smartphones like the iPhone is eating into the company's pockets. The telephone company is looking to slash $2 billion in costs at its wireless unit. A rebound in prescription drug sales and demand for medical devices helped Johnson & Johnson top forecasts. Meanwhile, fellow Dow component DuPont beat expectations but sluggish demand in once red-hot markets, causing the company's CEO to temper expectations. On the economic front, sales of previously owned homes dropped 1 percent in December, but Coldwell Banker CEO Budge Huskey is not worried. SOUNDBITE: BUDGE HUSKEY, CEO, COLDWELL BANKER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "What we are really seeing is a return to a more traditional market, what we were used to before we went through the experiences of the boom and the recent bust. So we are starting to see an uptick in second-home purchases again, we are seeing the move-up buyer market return now and we're going back to the way real estate was supposed to be." Despite the drop in existing home sales- it was still the second-highest sales rate in three years. In European action - pricing worries in the telecom sector weighed on sentiment - leading to declines in Germany, France and the U.K.