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Stocks to Watch: AT&T, Citigroup, Ford, Southwest, Sabre


It's a slow ride...


Stocks to watch for Monday, December 11

  • AT&T's (T) $84 billion merger with BellSouth could remain deadlocked at the FCC after a commissioner raised questions about whether he intends to vote.
  • Citigroup (C) may be in the spotlight Monday after U.K. press reports over the weekend identified it as having made an unsolicited offer for Egg Internet bank, part of U.K. insurer Prudential Prudential (PUK) (PRU) did not identify the bidder, which reportedly was ready to offer as much as $1.9 billion for Egg, but did issue a statement Sunday saying it had rejected a preliminary approach for Egg as "speculative and conditional." Prudential said in October that it expects Egg to report an operating loss in the second half of 2006.
  • Ford (F) will extend buy-out offers to most of its while-collar workforce next week, according to a report in the Detroit Free Press Saturday. The report, which cited Ford spokesman Tom Hoyt, said that supervisors will start meeting on Monday with thousands of lower to mid-level salaried worker to extend the offers.
  • Duke Energy (DUK) said it has approved the tax-free spinoff of Spectra Energy, the proposed stand-alone and publicly traded company consisting of Duke's natural gas businesses. Spectra shares are expected to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "SE."
  • First Niagara Financial (FNFG) said Paul Kolkmeyer, chief executive and president, has stepped down and resigned from the company's board. The financial services provider has named John Koelmel acting CEO, president and chief operating officer.
  • General Dynamics (GD) Bath Iron Works unit said the Navy has awarded it a $208 million contract option for the construction of a new combat ship with a trimaran hull scheduled for delivery in July 2009.
  • Harrah's (HET) board plans to meet Wednesday to consider all buyout offers presented to the gambling giant, after more than two months of silence on the company's future.
  • Material Sciences (MSC) said it has expanded the size of its board to eight members from seven, and named Patrick McDonnell to fill the vacancy. The coatings manufacturer said McDonnell's initial term as a director will expire at the 2007 annual meeting.
  • News Corp. (NWS) will remain a force in regional sports programming with 14 channels in big markets, after a planned deal with Liberty.
  • OSI Restaurant Partners (OSI) named Curt Glowacki as president of Outback Steakhouse. Glowacki most recently served as president and chief executive of Mexican Restaurants Inc.
  • Sabre (TSG) is on the block, and the travel-booking company could be sold as early as this week for a premium to its $3.75 billion market cap
  • Southwest Airlines (LUV) may see some action Monday after an article in Barron's over the weekend said the stock of the low-cost carrier trades at a large discount to its peers. "There's a vague feeling among investors that Southwest has grown so big it doesn't have the kind of opportunity it once had," the Barron's article said. "Yet the company's fundamentals remain impressive and will stand it in good stead regardless of the direction of oil prices or the economy, something that can't be said for the legacy carriers," it said.
  • Synergetics USA (SURG) reported fiscal first-quarter net earnings of $377,000, or 2 cents a share, down from $486,000, or 4 cents a share, in the year-ago period. There were 24.4 million shares outstanding in the quarter, compared with 11.9 million in the same period last year.
  • UnionBanCal (UB) said its main subsidiary, Union Bank of California, will receive a tax refund and interest from the State of California totaling $113.7 million, or $72.6 million after taxes. The settlement is for recovery of taxes paid between 1989 and 1995.
  • Wyndham Worldwide (WYN) Hotel Group said it has signed an agreement with Royal Orchid Hotels Ltd. of Bangalore, India, to develop 10 Ramada hotels, totaling at least 1,000 rooms. The hotels will be in the Indian states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtr, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan. Royal Orchid Chairman Chender Baljee said his company would invest 5 billion Indian rupees, or about $100 million, to build the hotels during the next three to four years.
  • Doctors for the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the investigation into an E. coli outbreak is still ongoing and they expect the case count to increase in the coming days. Earlier this week, Taco Bell, a unit of Yum Brands (YUM), pulled green onions from its restaurants on concerns that they might be linked to the outbreak.

Market Update

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +0.99%, Nikkei +0.67%, Sensex -2.90%, Taiwan -0.32%, and Shanghai +4.15%.
  • A quick check across the pond finds the CAC +0.60%, DAX +0.56%, FTSE +0.09%, ATX -0.64%, Swiss Mkt. +0.68% and Stockholm +0.77%.
  • Crude oil is trading -0.47 to 61.57 while gold is -1.6 to 629.4 this morning.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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