Wall Street welcomes a new month with monthly auto sales, a reading on private-sector employment, and manufacturing data.
But looking back on last month, January was the best month for stocks in the 21st century. The Dow tacked on a whopping 415 points – its biggest monthly point gain ever. Many investors are familiar with the old Wall Street adage: “As January goes so goes the year,” which says that if the Dow ends in the plus column in January, it will end the full year higher most of the time. On this first day of February, U.S. stock futures are indicating a higher open.
Some U.S. corporate titans are making headlines this morning.
Amazon.com (AMZN) reported fourth-quarter profits that fell by 57% to $177 million, but that were surprisingly better than Wall Street estimates. However, revenue was the problem, as the Web retailer reported sales of $17.4 billion in the fourth quarter, missing expectations. It also forecast a loss for the current quarter of as much as $200 million.
While Amazon stopped short of revealing exact numbers, it did say that sales of its Kindle devices rose by an astounding 177% during the 2011 holiday season from the 2010 holiday season. The problem is many of those Kindle products sell at a loss or a very small profit margin.
Shares in the pre-market are lower by more than 8% to $178. Amazon shares hit an all-time high back in October, and have moved south by about 20% since then.
A Facebook IPO filing with the SEC is expected later this morning and the company is now expected to raise $5 billion, versus earlier expectations of $10 billion. Either way, the IPO will be one of the biggest the world has ever seen, perhaps valuing the social giant at $100 billion.(Companies don’t have to put proposed price tags on a deal in their initial filing, so it may be a while before investors find out Facebook’s actual valuation.)
In the meantime, here are some Facebook “fun facts” that show just how much of a force the company really is:
-employs 3,000 workers around the world
-generates 450,000 jobs around the world
-brought in $4 billion in ad revenue last year
-the average user spends 30 minutes on Facebook
-800 million people have signed up
Finally, ADP reported that private-sector jobs increased by 170,000 in December, essentially in-line with what Wall Street was expecting.