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Spotlight Stocks: Microsoft, Starbucks, United Health


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


Stocks to watch for Wednesday, July 2, 2008:

  • Blockbuster (BBI) ditched its $1.3 billion offer to acquire Circuit City (CC). Shares of BBI rose 7% in after hours on the news while CC fell 1.6%, reported the Financial Times. CC stated that its search for strategic alternatives is "active and ongoing" and now independent of Blockbuster's participation.
  • Microsoft (MSFT) has been in discussions with media companies such as Time Warner (TWX) and News Corp. (NWS) about completing a deal that would ultimately lead to the breakup of Yahoo (YHOO), reported The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter. The idea behind a deal would be for Microsoft to acquire Yahoo's search business while another partner would combine with the remaining piece. Though it is said that such a deal is unlikely to complete.
  • Starbucks (SBUX) said it plans to close 600 stores that are company-operated in the next year. The company said the closing will be spread around the US, but noted the majority, or about 70%, were opened after the start of 2006, reported the Associated Press. About 12,000 SBUX workers will be affected.
  • United Health (UNH) will pay $912 million in settlement from two class-action lawsuits regarding historical stock-option practices. Additionally, the company lowered guidance on full-year earnings to $2.95 to $3.05 a share, down from its reduced April forecast of $3.55 to $3.60 a share. Revenue is now seen around $81 billion, the low end of its earlier forecast, reported the WSJ. It also expects 2Q earnings to be between 64 and 66 cents a share, while analysts had forecast 81 cents a share.

Market Recap

  • Asian trading closed mostly lower with the Hang Seng -1.80%, Nikkei -1.31%, Sensex +5.42%, Taiwan -0.73% and Shanghai unchanged.
  • Glancing towards Europe, we see some green with the CAC +0.62%, DAX +0.97%, FTSE +1.16%, ATX +1.43%, Swiss Mkt. +1.19% and Stockholm +1.76%.
  • In commodities, crude oil is trading higher +0.53 to 141.50 while gold is lower -9.8 to 934.8 this morning.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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