Two days after a super storm shut down much of the financial district, Wall Street is planning to reopen its doors Wednesday morning as regular trading operations at the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq resume. Even though Hurricane Sandy slammed the brakes on a handful of U.S. companies scheduled to report earnings, there was plenty of market-moving news that will likely be on traders' minds when they report to work tomorrow.
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On Monday, Apple Inc. (AAPL) showed two key executives the door in its biggest management shakeup in a decade. Scott Forstall, the long-time head of the company's iOS mobile software division, was fired as well as John Browett, the new head of Apple's retail store. Browett leaves immediately while Forstall will stay on as an advisor to CEO Tim Cook until next year.
It's been speculated that Forstall sealed his fate when he refused to sign a public apology for Apple's maps application, which contained errors and drew widespread criticism. The departures come shortly before the critical holiday shopping season and may have long-term effects at the company, said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Gartner. .
On Tuesday, Ford Motor (F) reported a flat profit for the third quarter as heavy losses overseas undercut its strong performances in the North American market. The country's second-largest automaker said it earned $1.63 billion in the quarter compared with $1.64 billion in the same period last year. Global revenue dropped to $32.1 billion, down from $33.1 billion in the third quarter of 2011. The American automaker has been struggling in the European market, where sales levels have fallen to the lowest levels in nearly two decades.
Hurricane Sandy also dampened the spirits of some Facebook (FB) employees who had waited nearly six months to cash in their stock on Monday, as the "lock-up" on trading expired. The world's No. 1 online social network became the first American company to debut on the public markets with a valuation of more than $100 billion. About 234 million shares of Facebook stock owned by company employees were eligible for trading Monday.
In Germany, Deutsche Bank (DB) reported a $795 million third-quarter profit Tuesday but warned the economic environment remains uncertain and presents challenges in the future.
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Meanwhile, Swiss bank UBS (UBS) announced Tuesday it plans to cut up to 10,000 jobs as part of a restructuring plan at its investment bank unit. The firm has been struggling with the fallout from the sovereign debt crisis and slow-moving European economy. The company booked a $2.3 billion loss.
Hurricane Sandy caused the first unplanned shutdown of the financial markets since 2001. The last time stock trading was closed for a weather event was in 1985, when Hurricane Gloria hit the East Coast. The last time the NYSE was closed for two straight days due to weather was in 1888, when a blizzard left drifts of snow as high as 40 feet in New York.