Jan. 29 - Summary of business headlines: Amazon reports highest profit margin in years, Ford and Pfizer beat forecasts, Microsoft's new Office software launches, consumer confidence drops. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Amazon stock rose more than 10 percent in after hours trading after its earnings beat forecasts. The online retailer reported revenue jumped 22 percent in the crucial holiday period. Operating income surged 56 percent and the company had its highest profit margin in over three years in North America. Also out today: Ford earnings beat forecasts- but warned of a $2 billion loss in Europe this year because of the recession. Pfizer's earnings quadrupled- and beat forecasts- helped by rebounding sales in emerging markets. But the largest U.S. drugmaker warned 2013 profits would be weaker than Wall Street has estimated. Rival Eli Lilly also beat forecasts. Shares of both companies rose. Microsoft launched its new Office 365 software- its most profitable product line. Subscriptions will cost $100 a year. Morningstar's Norman Young: NORMAN YOUNG, SENIOR EQUITY ANALYST, MORNINGSTAR (ENGLISH) SAYING: "People like, a Google Docs, are coming out with competitive products that are not necessarily the same but may be good enough and so I think the point of having Office 365 is that it offers users or customers a little more flexibility on payments. It gives them a lot more robust of a product and it keeps them updated." Apple stock rose after it said it would sell an iPad with 128 gigabytes of storage- twice that of existing models. Consumer confidence dropped to its lowest level in more than a year in January. Americans are more pessimistic about the economic outlook and their own financial prospects, according to the Conference Board. Home prices rose 0.6 percent, as expected in November, that according to the S&P Case/Shiller Home Price Index. U.S. markets turned in a mostly winning session. The S&P 500 is on track for its best month since October of 2011. European Markets had a solid day, hitting fresh two-year highs on optimism about global economies.