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19.01.2011 14:23

Before the bell:

U.S. stocks were headed for a mixed open Wednesday, as investors mulled earnings results from financial heavyweights Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo, and reacted to reports on the housing market.

On Tuesday, stocks closed higher as shares of Boeing and other industrial names rose -- offsetting weakness from Citigroup (C) and Apple (AAPL). The tech giant didn't report their blowout quarterly earnings until after the close.
Companies: Before the opening bell Wednesday, Goldman Sachs (GS) posted lower fourth-quarter earnings of $2.39 billion, or $3.79 per share, on revenue of $8.64 billion.
While earnings slightly beat expectations, revenue missed. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected Goldman to report earnings per share of $3.76 on revenue of $9 billion. Shares of the bank edged slipped more than 2% in pre-market trading.
Meanwhile, Wells Fargo (WFC) logged quarterly earnings of 61 cents per share on revenue of $21.5 billion -- which was in line with forecasts. Shares of the bank were down about 2% following the report.
Apple reported its best quarter ever late Tuesday. The company's revenue of $26.7 billion was driven by holiday iPad and iPhone sales, which were much better than forecast. The tech giant's profit of $6 billion also set a new record. Apple sold 7.3 million iPads in the quarter -- easily surpassing the expectations of nearly every Wall Street analyst.
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Shares of Apple (AAPL) perked up 2% in pre-market trading Wednesday, after closing down 2% Tuesday amid concerns about Steve Jobs' medical leave of absence.
Also after the bell Tuesday, IBM (IBM) reported net income of $5.3 billion -- or $4.18 per share -- for the fourth quarter. That's up from $4.8 billion, or $3.59 per share, a year ago. Analysts had predicted earnings of $4.08 per share. Shares of IBM rose 2.5% before the opening bell.
Starbucks (SBUX) announced early Wednesday that it will begin accepting mobile payment in all of its U.S. stores, allowing customers to use select smartphones to make purchases. Shares of the company rose more than 1% in pre-market trading.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that an annual rate of 529,000 new homes were started in December, a decrease from 555,000 from November. Housing starts fell short of economists' expectations.
Building permits jumped 16.7% to an annual rate of 635,000 in December, compared to 544,000 the prior month. Economists had forecasted a rate of 560,000 permits, according to consensus.
World markets:

Oil for February delivery gained 62 cents to $92.93 a barrel.
Gold futures for February delivery rose $10 to $1,367.80 an ounce.
Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury fell, pushing the yield up to 3.39% from 3.36% late Tuesday.

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