Indexes Take Mild Gains, Apple, Atheros Slip After Hours

The NYSE composite ended 0.6% higher and the S&P 500 up 0.5%. The Nasdaq composite and Dow closed 0.3% and 0.2% higher, respectively.

Apple (AAPL) capped the session with a solid earnings report after hours. The iPod maker reported Q4 earnings of $3.67 per share vs. the Thomson Reuters consensus of $2.07. Revenue of $15.68 billion was up 32% and also well above the $12.06 billion consensus. Apple shares dipped slightly in after-hours trading after a 3% gain during the regular session.

Atheros Communication (ATHR) fell 3% after hours, after topping analyst consensus views for both earnings and revenue.

Texas Instruments (TXN) fell 2% in extended trading. Its 52-cent EPS topped views for 49 cents, and revenue, at $3 billion, cleared analysts’ $2.98 billion expectations. The heavyweight chipmaker said orders were up 75% vs. the prior year and raised first-quarter earnings and revenue guidance. [Read the full article]

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The Bovespa stock index, Brazil’s benchmark, fell 4% last week and 1.8% the week before. The iShares Brazil (EWZ) ETF, which tracks big-cap stocks, lost 7.6% last week and 5.7% the week before.

The Brazilian ETF had been surging ahead of those of most other countries. Now it’s off 8.4% year to date. Its six- and 12-month trailing gains are fading fast.

Brazil, a major exporter of raw commodities such as iron ore, coffee, soybeans and orange juice, has for years seen its fortunes tied to those goods’ prices.

Brazil’s economy and stock market rose as commodity prices advanced. Now Brazil is feeling a fallout as prices are falling for most of those goods. (Orange juice is enjoying support from the crop-destroying Florida freeze.)

On the face of it, Brazil is suffering from China’s tighter monetary policy. Slightly higher interest rates and moves to cool loan growth are Beijing’s reaction to rising inflation and signs of bubble formation in real estate and stocks. [Read the full article]

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Last week, GE reported earnings of 28 cents a share, beating estimates. While that is encouraging, the massive conglomerate still saw earnings and sales slip on a year-over-year basis, extending a streak of declines that dates back to the second half of 2008.

The global recession spurred GE to preserve cash as credit losses mounted at its financing arm, GE Capital. Among the cutbacks the company made were suspending its share buyback and reducing its annual dividend for the first time since 1938. The annual dividend yield is now 2.5%.

Given “dramatic changes we’ve made in the company in the past 18 months, the future outlook looks pretty good,” said Chief Financial Officer Keith Sherin in a published report.

Meanwhile, Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said in a conference call after Q4 results that GE sees “the ability to grow the dividend in line with earnings by 2011,” according to TheStreet.com. [Read the full article]

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