Here’s what’s important in the financial world this morning:
EU: Fitch downgraded Greece’s debt from “C” to “CCC” saying the Greek bond swap would be a restricted default. Economist Jeremy Cook tweeted, “It’s difficult to fathom what the market cares less about now, Greece or ratings agencies,” according to Seeking Alpha.
European markets and the euro didn’t have much of a response to the downgrade with the Stoxx 50 down 0.8 percent and a flat euro. The downgrade comes just one day after the announcement that Greece secured a second bailout of 130 billion euros from its creditors in a deal that would have private investors holding Greek debt accept a debt swap in which they exchange their bonds for lower-value debt.
Alibaba: The group bid as high as HK$19.6 billion ($2.5 billion) in an effort to take Alibaba.com private. It offered minority shareholders HK$13.50 per share for the remaining 27 percent it doesn’t own, according to Yahoo! By taking an ownership stake in Alibaba.com, Alibaba can reorganize its assets, which would help with Yahoo! negotiations.
Dell: After Tuesday’s market close, Dell Inc. reported that its fourth quarter earnings per share of $0.51, missing estimates by $0.01 while its $16.03 billion revenue beat expectations by $70 million. Looking ahead, the company forecast its fiscal 13 earnings per share to surpass $2.13 (estimated at $2.04) but its fiscal quarter one revenue to is expected to fall 7 percent quarter over quarter.
Sales jumped 12 percent year over year in services and 60 percent quarter over quarter increase in proprietary storage. Server and networking sales increased 6 percent year over year but declined from fiscal quarter three’s 13 percent.
Comcast: The cable provider announced its new subscription-base service, Streampix, which will take on Netflix . The news took a hit on Netflix’s shares on Tuesday. A subscription to Comcast’s TV and broadband services will be necessary for the new service, which will be either offered for free or $4.99 based on the subscriber’s Comcast package. Credit Suisse sees a limited effect on Netflix due to the fact Streampix will only be available to Comcast’s current subscribers.
[Editor’s note: portions of the above originally appeared on Wall St. Cheat Sheet.]