A positive report on factory activity sent markets sharply higher today. The Institute for Supply Management says its index has hit its highest level since 2004. Firms surveyed by the ISM said January brought a growing backlog of orders.
The Dow added 148 points, breaking the 12,000 threshold. It landed at 12,040. The S&P 500 rose 21 points, to 1,308. The Nasdaq jumped 51 points, to 2,751.
Major Snowstorm Hits U.S.
We've got freezing rain here, but moderate to heavy snows of 8 to 15 inches are blanketing the Midwest as part of a massive storm that stretches from Maine to New Mexico. The storm is expected to hurt agricultural operations in the heartland. Reuters reports grain elevators across the southern Plains were working with limited shifts, and meat processor Cargill was to reduce production at two Midwest pork plants ahead of the storm.
Pfizer Announces Job Cuts
We got two views of the world's largest drug-maker today. Pfizer says it will axe more than 1,000 jobs in eastern Connecticut, at its Groton research and development site. A spokesman says R&D is being downsized, while the company re-focuses on neuroscience, oncology and on boosting productivity. Meanwhile, Pfizer's fourth quarter profits beat expectations, with adjusted net income of nearly $3.8 billion.
NYS is 'Functionally Bankrupt': Cuomo
Dramatic words today from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who says the state's fiscal situation could not be worse. "New York State is functionally bankrupt," he said. "I like to use that term because when you think bankruptcy you think in terms of restructuring, and that's where we are as a state."
Cuomo presented a $133 billion plan for the 2011-2012 fiscal year at the Egg Center for Performing Arts in Albany. It's a $2 billion reduction from current spending levels. It cuts Medicaid spending by $1 billion, slashes $1.5 billion from education aid — a 7.3 percent decline — and trims $100 million from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. It also cuts $700 million in aid to New York City.
WNYC's Azi Paybarah was in Albany for the governor's speech. He talks about how the governor pitched his plan to hospitals, state workers, schools and other groups facing cuts. And Carol Kellerman, president of the Citizens Budget Commission — a civic group with lots of ties to the business world — gives some perspective on the numbers.