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Spotlight Stocks: BHP Billiton, Hershey, Lowe's, Qwest

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

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Stocks to watch for Monday, August 18, 2008:

  • BHP Billiton (BHP) reported a record full-year net profit of $15.4 billion, a 12.4% rise from $13.4 billion the previous year. BHP declared a final dividend of 41 U.S. cents per share. The company is in the midst of negotiations to acquire rival Rio Tinto (RTP), which would be the world's second largest takeover, reported Reuters.

  • Hershey (HSY) raised its wholesale prices nearly 10% in order to offset rising costs of raw materials and fuel, reported The Wall Street Journal. "Market prices for ingredients such as cocoa, corn sweeteners, sugar and peanuts are up 20% to 45% since the beginning of the year," said President and CEO David J. West. Hershey is saying its full-year EPS is now expected to come in at the low end of the forecasted range of $1.85-$1.90 and also expects net sales growth of 3% to 4% for the year, with volume falling below expectations because of the price increases.

  • Lowe's (LOW) posted 2Q net profit of $938 million, or 64 cents a share, down from $1.02 billion, or 67 cents a share a year ago. The company raised its forecast for full-year profit to a range of $1.48-$1.56 from $1.45-$1.55.

  • Qwest Communications (Q) has tentatively reached an agreement with its largest labor union, Communications Workers of America, just a day after its contract had expired. It worked up the terms for a three-year deal encompassing 20,000 employees in 13 states. Additionally, the company reached a tentative agreement with another union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, representing Montana based employees.


Market Recap

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng -1.09%, Nikkei +1.12%, Sensex -0.53%, Taiwan -2.72% and Shanghai -5.34%.

  • Glancing towards Europe, we see the CAC +0.87%, DAX +0.33%, FTSE +0.62%, ATX -0.21%, Swiss Market +0.26% and Stockholm +0.48%.

  • In commodities, crude oil is higher +0.31 to 114.08 and gold is also trading up +8.7 to 794.7 this morning.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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