NYSE Euronext returns to profit in 4th quarter

Trans-Atlantic stock exchange operator NYSE Euronext said Tuesday that it returned to profit in the fourth quarter as cost-cutting efforts helped offset a drop in revenue amid falling global share trading volumes.

The operator of the New York Stock Exchange and markets in Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels reported earnings of $172 million, or 58 cents per share, in the three months ended Dec. 31. That compares with a loss of $1.34 billion, or $5.06 per share, a year earlier when collapsing equity markets forced it to slash the value of the 2007 merger of NYSE and Euronext.

NYSE Euronext’s $640 million in net revenue slipped 6 percent in the fourth quarter, but still beat expectations. Analysts had forecast a profit of 48 cents per share on net revenue of $638.3 million, according to a Thomson Reuters poll.

The company blamed “a decline in global cash equities volumes” as well as price cuts at some of its European and U.S. operations for the drop in revenue. [Read the full article]

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Shares of investment company Solar Capital Ltd. dropped in its market debut Tuesday after it raised less money than it had hoped for in a weak market for IPOs.

Shares of Solar Capital closed down 50 cents at $18, while broader markets rose. The Dow Jones industrial average finished up 1.5 percent.

Volatile stock markets have made speculation-shy investors careful of buying into IPOs this year. Many companies offering shares have also been troubled by heavy debt loads, no operating history or slow growth.

Four companies have shelved IPOs so far in 2010. Of the nine companies that have gone public, many were forced to accept lower prices than they had hoped for or cut the number of shares offered.

Solar Capital, based in New York, invests in companies with junk-rated debt. It raised $92.5 million before expenses in its initial public offering by offering 5 million shares priced at $18.50 apiece. [Read the full article]

The Dow posted its largest one-day percentage gain in three months on Tuesday, boosted by reports of an aid plan for heavily indebted Greece.

A senior German ruling coalition source said euro zone governments have decided in principle to help Greece, comments that calmed investors worried about a threat to global economic stability.

“There’s a relief that something can be worked out to prevent a collapse of their bond market,” said Ben Halliburton, chief investment officer at Tradition Capital Management in

Gains on Wall Street were broad-based, but shares of commodity-related companies shot higher as a decline in the dollar lifted prices of oil and gold. Shares of Chevron (NYSE:CVX – News) gained 1.7 percent to $71.31.

The Dow Jones industrial average (DJI:^DJI – News) rose 150.25 points, or 1.52 percent, to 10,058.64. [Read the full article]

In public, Toyota is running apologetic TV ads and vowing to win back customers’ trust. Behind the scenes, the besieged carmaker is trying to learn all it can about congressional investigations, maybe even steer them if it can.

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It’s part of an all-out drive by the world’s biggest auto manufacturer to redeem its once unassailable brand — hit anew on Tuesday as Toyota’s global recall ballooned to 8.5 million cars and trucks. The day’s safety recall of 440,000 of its flagship Prius and other hybrids, plus a Tokyo news conference where the company’s president read a statement in English pledging to “regain the confidence of our customers,” underscored a determination to keep buyers’ faith from sinking to unrecoverable depths.

In Washington, facing congressional inquiries and government investigations, Toyota through its lawyers and lobbyists is working full-speed to salvage its reputation. [Read the full article]

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