Here’s what’s important in the financial world this morning:
China’s: Manufacturers have started the new year off slowly with the HSBC flash manufacturing purchasing managers index’s 48.8 January reading. This represented a slight rise over December’s final 48.7 number, which was a three-month high. There were some positive signs from January’s reading for increased activity through sub-indexes measuring new export orders, work backlogs and finished goods stock.
Google’s: Shares took a dive in after-hours trading on Thursday after its fourth quarter earnings report missed the mark on Wall Street estimates. It wasn’t all gloom and doom as the company’ earnings per share increased 8.6 percent to $9.50 and its net revenue rose 25 percent to $10.58 billion. A 35 percent rise in costs to $3.38 billion, unfavorable foreign exchange rates, changes to its ad formats and the sale of additional mobile ads all affected Google’s earnings.
IBM: IBM also reported its fourth quarter earnings on Thursday with news that earnings per share exceeded estimates from its 11 percent increase to $4.71. Revenue rose 2 percent to $29.5 billion but missed estimates. The company gave a strong 2012 guidance and predicted a 10.5 percent rise in earnings per share, higher than analysts’ forecasts. IBM said there’s a strong pipeline for software and services, exemplifying reassurance for global corporate IT spending and confidence, according to Reuters.
Tech: Sony and Panasonic had their debt ratings cut by Moody’s over concerns for continuous losses at their TV divisions. This comes two weeks ahead of their earnings announcements. Panasonic has faced financial problems since April 2011 after buying out two major subsidiaries while Sony will battle to regain TV profitability over the next two years thanks to tougher competition and a stronger yen.
[Editor’s note: the above is a cross post that originally appeared on Wall St. Cheat Sheet.]