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Pre-Market: Jos. A. Bank Acquires Eddie Bauer; AIG Raises Dividend, Cuts Jobs


Consumer sentiment and industrial production are on tap this morning.

US stock indices are heading slightly higher this morning before reports on consumer sentiment and industrial output.

Ahead of Thursday's gains, Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures were up 0.10% to 15,995 before the opening bell. S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) futures rose 0.09% to 1,825.90 and futures on the Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) gained 0.21% to 3,658.50.

Today, Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc (NASDAQ:JOSB) announced that it will acquire Everest Holdings, which owns the Eddie Bauer retail brand, for $825 million. Golden Gate Capital, a private equity firm, bought the brand in 2009 for $286 million plus the assumption of liabilities. The acquisition of Eddie Bauer could give Jos. A. Bank an advantage in the ongoing battle between it and The Men's Wearhouse, Inc. (NYSE:MW). For several months, the two men's retail chains have been trying to buy one another. Jos. A. Bank shares fell 3% this morning on the news, while The Men's Wearhouse fell over 8%.

American International Group, Inc (NYSE:AIG) shares fell 0.6% in pre-market trading despite announcing several shareholder-friendly moves. The insurance company boosted its quarterly dividend by 25% to $0.125 per share and said that it will buy back $1 billion more in shares. Earnings per share for the fourth quarter rose to $1.15, beating analyst estimates. A year earlier, it took a loss of $2.68 per share when Superstorm Sandy led to big insurance payouts. It also said that it will lay off approximately 3% of its global workforce.

Weight Watchers International Inc. (NYSE:WTW) shares dropped 22% in pre-market trading today after the company reported earnings. The weight-loss company reported that it earned just $0.54 per share missing estimates by $0.07. The company projects that it will earn between $1.30 and $1.60 per share in 2014, which missed analyst projections by over $1.

Bloomberg reported that Avon Products Inc. (NYSE:AVP) might have to spend up to $132 million to settle criminal charges for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Avon recently added $77 million to its reserves for settling civil and criminal charges that it paid bribes in China and other countries.

A spate of downbeat data on the economic calendar could potentially rock the markets today. At 9:15 a.m., we will get the latest data on January industrial production, which is likely to show a 0.2% increase, down from 0.3% in December 2013. At 9:55 a.m., the University of Michigan/Reuters consumer sentiment is expected to fall to 80 this month from 81.2 in February.

January export prices slowed to 0.2% growth from 0.4% in December of last year. Economists expected 0.1% growth. Import prices rose 0.1%, beating expectations of a 0.01% decline.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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