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Spotlight Stocks: AmEx, Bank of America, Countrywide, ConocoPhillips

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

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Stocks to watch for Friday, January 11, 2008:

  • America Express (AXP) will take a pre-tax charge for the 4Q of about $440 mln because of lower spending, higher delinquencies and loan write-offs. The company says that the weaker economy is largely affecting cardholders' ability to make purchases and pay bills.
  • Bank of America (BAC) has agreed to acquire troubled mortgage lender Countrywide Financial (CFC) for $4 bln in stock. In exchange for one share of CFC, shareholders will receive 0.1822 of a Bank of America share, valuing Countrywide stock at a 7.6% discount to Thursday's closing price. The deal will be neutral to BAC earnings per share in 2008 and accretive in 2009.
  • Chevron (CVX) forecasts that its 4Q net income will top its 3Q results due to higher crude oil and natural gas prices in its upstream segment. The company also said its downstream segment will be lower in the 4Q than previously.
  • ConocoPhillips (COP) is the lead candidate to be part of a multi-year, $10 bln project to develop the Shah natural gas field, located in Abu Dhabi. The company is currently competing against Occidental Petroleum (OXY) and Royal Dutch Shell.
  • Blackstone (BX) said it plans to purchase hedge fund GSO Capital Partners for up to $930 mln. The fund has about $10 bln in assets under management and primarily invests in distressed assets and makes leveraged loans, reports the Wall Street Journal.
  • Intel (INTC) faces antitrust litigation as New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced an investigation into the company's practices which seem to coerce customers into not buying rival Advanced Micro Devices' (AMD) chips.
  • Verizon (VZ) said that it has not seen any significant impact on business amid the slowing economy and lagging housing sector. "We've seen virtually no economic impact," said Verizon President and Chief Operating Officer Dennis Strigl, speaking at an investor conference. "I don't see it. Total access lines are fine."


Market Recap

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng -1.34%, Nikkei -1.93%, Sensex +1.19%, Taiwan -0.35% and Shanghai +0.52%.
  • A look across the pond finds the CAC -0.46%, DAX -0.34%, FTSE -0.76%, ATX -1.16%, Swiss Mkt. -1.02% and Stockholm -0.49%.
  • In commodities, crude oil is down -0.93 to 92.79 and gold is also trading lower -1.0 to 892.6 this morning.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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