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Stocks To Watch: Apple, Blackstone, Ford, Kraft, Sony


Today's top stories and some stocks with potential to move...


Stocks to watch for Thursday, July 26:

  • Apple (AAPL) reported a fiscal third-quarter profit that rose 73% from a year ago, spurred on by strong sales of its flagship Macintosh computers and iPod digital media players, as well as shipments of 270,000 of its new iPhones.
  • (BIDU) reported second-quarter net earnings of 141.9 mln yuan ($18.6 million), or 4.09 yuan per share (54 cents), up from 58.5 mln yuan, or 1.69 yuan a share, in the year-ago period. The Beijing-based Internet search provider said revenue for the three months ended June 30 rose to 401.3 mln yuan ($52.7 million) from 191.6 mln yuan last year.
  • Berkshire Hathaway's (BRKA) Buffet bought small stake (less than 5%) in Kraft Foods (KFT) joining Nelson Peltz and Carl Icahn as major investors.
  • Blackstone (BX) has sold many of Equity Office Properties Trust's office properties, often for record prices, since buying the real-estate firm five months ago.
  • Comcast's (CMCSA) net income rose 28% as the company signed up more digital-television customers ahead of a government mandate for new set-top boxes.
  • E-Trade Financial (ETFC) reported second-quarter earnings that were a little higher than a year before as the discount broker continued to add customer accounts but was hit by legal and regulatory costs.
  • Ford (F) on Thursday swung to a surprise second-quarter profit after seven quarters of losses on cost-cutting and a turnaround in its core automotive operations. Ford, which is in the midst of restructuring plan that includes closing 16 plants and cutting up to 45,000 jobs, posted a net profit of $750 mln, or 31 cents per share, compared with a loss of $317 mln, or 17 cents, a year earlier.
  • LSI (LSI) said it swung to a second-quarter loss, hurt by acquisition-related charges, and unveiled more cost-cutting measures.
  • Microsoft (MSFT) said it would lower the price of its Xbox 360 high-definition DVD player add-on to $179 in the United States, from $199, and add five free movies to anyone who buys the machine in August or September. This move comes on the tails of MSFT's decreasing market share in the video game console market due to the popularity of Nintendo's (NTDOY.PK) Wii.
  • Morgan Stanley (MS) moved a senior investment banker, executive Walid Chammah, from New York to London to head the firm's international operations.
  • Qualcomm (QCOM) posted higher-than-expected earnings for its third fiscal quarter despite a growing legal battle with rivals that could keep wireless phones featuring the company's chips off the U.S. market.
  • R.H. Donnelley (RHD) has purchased Web-based marketing directory for $340 mln to $360 mln due to the increasing influence the Internet has on the yellow-pages and white-pages business of the publisher.
  • Sony (SNE) said on Thursday its quarterly profit more than tripled after strong digital camera sales and a softer yen far outstripped losses at its game unit. Company said it's "more cautious about the business environment for the remainder of the fiscal year for the electronics and game segments compared to our May forecast".
  • Symantec (SYMC) said its first-quarter profit slid lower compared to the period a year earlier, though the security software maker still managed to turn in a better-than-expected performance.

Market Update:

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng -0.64%, Nikkei -0.88%, Sensex +0.49%, Taiwan -1.78% and Shanghai +0.52%.
  • A quick look across the pond finds European bourses in the red with the CAC -1.22%, DAX -0.73%, FTSE -0.93%, ATX -0.66%, Swiss Mkt. -0.97% and Stockholm -0.68%.
  • Crude oil is trading higher +0.90 to 76.78 and gold is lower -1.0 to 672.8 this morning.
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No position in stocks mentioned.

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