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Stocks to Watch: Amazon.com, General Motors, MetLife, Red Hat, TJX Cos.

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

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Stocks to watch for Wednesday, September 26, 2008:

  • Amazon.com (AMZN) is attempting to rival Apple's (AAPL) iTunes music storewith its own digital store which uses copyright-protection technology. The files downloaded on this new store can be used to burn CDs and also can be played on MP3 players including iPods. Songs start at 89 cents and the top 100 best-selling albums will be $8.99.
  • Agrium (AGU) said it is closing its Kenai nitrogen fertilizer operations because of a shortage of natural gas supply in Alaska's Cook Inlet. More than 100 employees will be laid off as a result. Agrium estimates the facility will contribute about $6 million in earnings before taxes, interest, depreciation and amortization in 2007, and account for less than 1% of Agrium's total 2007 EBITDA.
  • Discover Financial Services (DFS) posted a 16% drop in 3Q net income. In its first quarterly earnings report since June 30, Discover said net income was $202.2 million, or 42 cents a share, for the quarter ended Aug. 31. In the year-earlier period.
  • General Motors (GM) and the UAW announced a tentative agreement on a restructuring of retiree health care for about 74,000 auto workers. GM said the contract "paves the way for GM to significantly improve its manufacturing competitiveness, providing the basis for maintaining and strengthening its core manufacturing base in the United States."
  • MetLife's (MET) board approved a $1 billion stock repurchase program, set to begin an earlier $1 billion buyback program is completed. MET said about $240 million remains from the initial buyback plan.
  • Red Hat (RHT) said its second-quarter profit rose 59% to $19.1 million, or 9 cents a share. Sales at the provider of open-source software rose 28% to $127.3 million, ahead of Wall Street analysts' expectations for $125 million. Excluding certain items, earnings were 7 cents a share.
  • TJX Cos. (TJX), owner of several retail chains, was found by a Canadian government investigation to have failed to upgrade its data-encryption system in time to stop a huge credit-card data theft. The delay exposed data on at least 45.7 million credit-card numbers to hackers.


Market Update

  • Asian trading closed with the Nikkei +0.25%, Sensex +0.13%, Taiwan +1.67% and Shanghai -1.61%.
  • Glancing towards Europe, we find the CAC +0.74%, DAX +0.31%, FTSE +0.78%, ATX +0.46%, Swiss Mkt. +0.19% and Stockholm +0.30%.
  • Crude oil is trading higher +0.59 to 80.12 while gold is lower -1.9 to 736.9 this morning.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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