US EQUITIES WEEK AHEAD: Iran Talks Planned; Verizon Wireless To Launch 4G Service

Date : 12/03/2010 @ 2:39PM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Autozone, Inc. (AZO)
Quote : 590.06  -5.21 (-0.88%) @ 12:05AM

US EQUITIES WEEK AHEAD: Iran Talks Planned; Verizon Wireless To Launch 4G Service

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A second round of international negotiations with Iran are scheduled to be held next week in Switzerland, with the U.S. and its European allies saying they pledge to bring Tehran into the global financial system if Iran begins to constrain its nuclear program.

Meanwhile, a handful of retailers, apparel companies and the nation's top two tax preparers are among those planning to report their latest quarterly earnings results next week.

Verizon Wireless said it plans to begin offering its faster next-generation wireless service on Sunday as the carrier officially jumps into the 4G fray. The higher speeds bring a potential competitive edge in jockeying for the most affluent customers.

   Second Round Of International Talks With Iran Scheduled 

A long-anticipated second round of international negotiations with Iran are scheduled to be held Monday and Tuesday in Geneva, in what is seen as a make-or-break test of the Obama administration's efforts to use diplomacy to end Tehran's nuclear work. But Iranian officials have damped hopes for progress by saying Tehran isn't ready to halt production of nuclear fuel.

   Retailers, Apparel, Tax Preparers To Report Results 

A handful of apparel and retail companies--including Talbots Inc. (TLB), Men's Wearhouse Inc. (MW) and Oxford Industries Inc. (OXM)--are expected to report their latest quarterly results next week. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters projected a mixed performance from the trio, with top- and bottom-line growth only expected from Men's Wearhouse, which operates stores for men in the U.S. and Canada.

Meanwhile, tax-service providers H&R Block Inc. (HRB) and Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. (JTX) are scheduled to report results on Tuesday and Friday, respectively. Wall Street analysts expected H&R to report slightly better results, while Jackson Hewitt's fiscal second-quarter loss is seen widening.

Other companies expected to report their latest earnings next week include auto-parts retailer AutoZone Inc. (AZO) on Tuesday and gun maker Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. (SWHC) on Wednesday.

   Verizon To Turn On 4G Mobile-Broadband 

Verizon Wireless said it plans to begin offering its faster next-generation wireless service on Sunday as the carrier officially jumps into the 4G fray. The carrier--jointly owned by Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) and Vodafone Group Plc (VOD, VOD.LN)--said its new fourth-generation service initially will be for laptop aircards only, with additional devices, including smartphones, coming by the middle of next year.

   Exchanges Expected To Seek Extension Of Circuit Breakers 

U.S. stock exchanges next week are expected to ask regulators to extend for four additional months a pilot program that limits price swings in some stocks put in place last summer in the wake of the market's May 6 "flash crash," according to people familiar with the matter. Market operators plan to seek an extension until April 11 of so-called circuit breakers for individual stocks and exchange-traded funds, the people said.

   Sources Say Sale Of Yoplait Stake To Start Next Week 

A process to sell half of Yoplait, the world's second-largest yogurt maker, is expected to kick off formally next week as presale documents are dispatched to interested parties, people familiar with the matter told Dow Jones Newswires Friday. French private equity firm PAI Partners, which owns 50% of Yoplait, is keen to sell the holding.

   FDA Panel To Review Proposed Weight-Loss Drug 

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday said Contrave, a proposed weight-loss drug from Orexigen Therapeutics Inc. (OREX), raised blood pressure in some patients but met one of the agency's standards for being an effective weight-loss treatment. Contrave, which is being developed with Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. (TKPYY, 4502.TO), is a combination of two drugs already on the market. The product will be reviewed by an FDA advisory panel next week.

   Talks Between U.S., Asian Allies To Focus On North Korea 

The U.S., Japan and South Korea will hold talks next week as the nations plan a joint strategy on dealing with North Korea after its deadly artillery bombardment of South Korea. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is scheduled to meet with representatives from the other two nations to discuss developments in the region. Meanwhile, South Korea is planning to hold its own military exercises next week, including drills on flashpoint border islands in parts of the Yellow Sea that are disputed with the North. To Host Annual User Conference In California Inc. (CRM), a maker of customer-relationship management software, will host an expected 25,000 at its annual user conference, Dreamforce, in San Francisco. Salesforce Chief Executive Marc Benioff will offer keynote addresses on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, while former U.S. President Bill Clinton will keynote on Wednesday night.

   Bernanke To Appear On 60 Minutes On Sunday 

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will appear on CBS's "60 Minutes" show this Sunday, the television network said. Bernanke is expected to discuss the unemployment rate, the deficit and the Fed's decision to purchase $600 billion in U.S. Treasurys in an effort to boost a weak economy.

   Consumer Sentiment Seen Improving In December 

The preliminary University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index is expected to show an increase in December to 72.2 from the final reading of 71.6 in November, according to a consensus. The index grew in the prior month due to the performance of the equity market and better employment numbers. U.S. stocks capped their best two-day performance since July this week as better-than-expected retail and home sales encouraged investors.

   Brazil's Vale To Start Trading Shares In Hong Kong 

Brazilian mining giant Vale SA (VALE, VALE5.BR) said it will start trading shares on the Hong Kong stock exchange next week to boost its visibility in Asian markets. Vale decided to list Hong Kong depositary receipts to allow investors the option to trade Vale shares in various time zones.


Among the significant conferences next week are the Credit Suisse Group Holiday Conference Monday through Wednesday in Orlando, Fla.; UBS Global Media and Communications Conference Monday through Wednesday in New York; the Canaccord Genuity Cardio/Diabetes & Obesity Conference on Tuesday and Wednesday in San Francisco; the Goldman Sachs U.S. Financial Services Conference on Tuesday and Wednesday in New York; the William Blair & Co. LLC Global Services Growth Stock Conference on Tuesday and Wednesday in Scottsdale, Ariz.; the Barclays Capital Global Technology Conference on Wednesday and Thursday in San Francisco; and the Macquarie Securities Alternative Energy Conference: Powering Change on Wednesday and Thursday in New York.

-By John Kell, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2480;

(Jeanette Borzo, Jennifer Corbett Dooren, Roger Cheng and Dow Jones Newswires staff contributed to this report.)


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