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Spotlight Stocks: Bear Stearns, Fannie, Freddie, General Mills, Visa

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Wednesday's top stories and stocks with potential to move.

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Stocks to watch for Wednesday, March 19, 2008:

  • Adobe Systems (ADBE) reported 1Q net income of $219.4 million or $0.38 a share, up from $143.9 million or $0.24 per share a year ago. Revenue rose to $890.4 million from $649.4 million. Excluding special items, the company said earnings were $0.48 a share.
  • Apple (AAPL) is in discussions with major music labels about offering its entire music library for free in exchange for paying a premium on iPods and iPhones. Research has shown that people would pay up to $100, or $7-8 a month for unlimited access.
  • Bear Stearns (BSC) saw its stocks jump 23% in yesterday's trading on speculation that JP Morgan (JPM) would have to pay more then the original offer of $2 a share. According to the Wall Street Journal, shareholders are threatening to vote against the deal.
  • Delta Airlines (DAL) will reportedly cut about 2,000 jobs and cut its flight schedule domestically in order to keep up with rising fuel prices, reported the Wall Street Journal. This is the second such cut at DAL since December. Delta now expects to pay $2.99 a gallon for fuel this year, up from its original projection of $2.67 a gallon.
  • Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE) will see the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight announce they will receive relief from stringent capital rules and will be able to pump about $200 billion into the mortgage market, reported Reuters. The companies will be permitted to use some of their capital reserves to soak up mortgage assets while pledging to raise equity capital -- probably in the form of preferred stock -- in the near future.
  • General Mills (GIS) reported fiscal 3Q profits of $430.1 million, or $1.23 a share, up 61% from $267.5 million, or 74 cents a share a year ago. Higher prices coupled with strong demand led to the increase. Sales grew 12 percent to $3.41 billion from $3.05 billion. Analysts predicted revenue of $3.24 billion.
  • Visa (V) raised a record $17.9 billion for its initial public offering. The company begins trading today. According to Reuters, the company sold 406 million class A common stock for $44 per share, above the forecast range of $37 to $42.


Market Recap

  • Asian trading closed in the green with the Hang Seng +2.26%, Nikkei +2.48%, Sensex +1.09%, Taiwan +1.51% and Shanghai +2.53%.
  • A glance towards Europe finds all red with the CAC -0.94%, DAX -0.56%, FTSE -0.84%, ATX -0.22%, Swiss Mkt. -0.43% and Stockholm -1.73%.
  • Over in commodities, crude is down -0.87 to 108.55 and gold is dipping -9.4 to 994.9 this morning.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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