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Stocks to Watch: Ford, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Starbucks


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


Stocks to watch for Tuesday, January 8, 2008:

  • Bear Stearns' (BSC) James Cayne is stepping down from his role as CEO while remaining on as chairman of the company. His expected successor is Alan Schwartz, 57, who is currently a well respected investment banker.
  • Circuit City's (CC) same-store sales for the month of December dropped 11.4% amid lagging domestic sales (-12.2%). International sales rose 6.5% while total net sales in December fell 8.9% to $1.92 billion from $2.1 billion in the prior-year period.
  • Ford Motor (F) is looking to expand its India operations, planning to invest $500 mln to more than double its production capacity there. While the expansion is targeting India's growing middle class primarily, it will also be an important hub for exporting vehicles to other foreign nations.
  • Genzyme (GENZ) has entered an agreement with Isis Pharmaceuticals (ISIS) with regards to the development and sale of mipomersen, a cholesterol-lowering drug candidate from Isis. GENZ will buy 5 million shares of ISIS for $150 mln, plus will pay a $175 million up-front license fee, along with significant milestone payments, pending antitrust clearance.
  • Microsoft (MSFT) plans to buy Norwegian data-search company Fast Search & Transfer for a cash deal valuing the company at $1.2 bln, reported the Wall Street Journal. The bid has been approved by Orkla ASA and Hermes focus Asset Management Europe, Fast's two largest owners.
  • Morgan Stanley (MS) is looking to sell its 34.4% stake in China International Capital Corp. amid efforts to establish a new securities joint venture in the US. This marks a rare opportunity for buyers to invest sizable capital in China.
  • Quicksilver Resources (KWK) reported its board has approved a two-for-one stock split of outstanding common stock, leaving the company with approximately 158 mln shares outstanding. According to MarketWatch, the stock split is applicable to stockholders of record at the close of business on Jan. 18 and will be accomplished through a stock dividend to be issued on Jan. 31, the company said.
  • Starbucks (SBUX) chairman Howard Schultz will replace Jim Donald, the company's chief executive. Schultz aims to slow U.S. expansion while closing some underperforming locations. Alternately, he will aim to increase expansion internationally.

Market Recap

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng -0.25%, Nikkei +0.19%, Sensex +0.29%, Taiwan +1.01% and Shanghai -0.13%.
  • A quick check of European bourses finds the CAC +0.87%, DAX +0.55%, FTSE +0.48%, ATX +0.96%, Swiss Mkt. +1.64% and Stockholm +0.01%.
  • Commodities are looking strong as crude oil is trading higher +1.16 to 96.25 and gold is also on the rise +13.1 to 875.1.
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