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Spotlight Stocks: Ambac, Apple, Citigroup, Sony

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

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Stocks to watch for Friday, March 7, 2008:

  • Ambac Financial (ABK) announced it had sold $1.5 billion of shares and convertibles, which prevented it from having its AAA rating cut. It sold $1.25 billion of common shares at $6.75 a share, or 9 percent below Thursday's closing price, with the other $250 million from mandatory convertible securities, paying 9.5 percent per year and with a conversion premium of 18 percent.
  • Apple (AAPL) announced plans to create a foundation in which software developers can create future programs to use on the iPhone. The move is aimed at making the iPhone more appealing to corporate users by offering a wider array of software. Apple announced a $100 million fund called the iFund which would be dedicated to this initiative.
  • Citigroup (C) CEO Vikram Pandit said that the company was not trying to sell its South Korea unit after a $9.83 billion 4Q loss tied largely to mortgages. According to Reuters, the company plans to cut its home loan exposure by $45 billion, reduce risk and save $200 million a year in an overhaul of its U.S. residential mortgage business.
  • Google's (GOOG) $3.1 billion acquisition of advertising group DoubleClick looks like it will be approved by the European Commission, which has been investigating antitrust issues. According to the Wall Street Journal, the transaction would enable Google to make a more aggressive push to expand beyond search ads into the market for graphical display ads such as banner ads.
  • Sony (SNE) has entered into discussions with Microsoft (MSFT) over offering a Blu-ray drive for the Xbox 360. To this point, Microsoft has supported the rival HD-DVD format. The Financial Times reports that while this would make the Xbox more competitive with Sony's PlayStation 3, it also means boosted revenues for the company's electronics division.
  • Tata Motors (TTM) of India is planning to sign a memorandum of understanding about purchasing Ford's (F) Jaguar and Land Rover brands. The deal appears to be going through, but issues still remain regarding negotiations with the Unite union and its 12,000 members.


Market Recap

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng -3.60%, Nikkei -3.27%, Sensex -3.42%, Taiwan -1.47% and Shanghai -1.39%.
  • A quick look towards Europe finds the CAC -1.01%, DAX -1.39%, FTSE -1.34%, ATX -1.50%, Swiss Mkt. -1.66% and Stockholm -1.30%.
  • Crude oil is trading down -0.17 to 105.30 while gold is higher +4.6 to 981.7 this morning.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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