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Spotlight Stocks: Ambac, Merrill, Oracle, Credit Suisse, SunMicro


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


Stocks to watch for Thursday, January 17, 2008:

  • Ambac Financial (ABK) will attempt to raise at least $1 bln in new capital in order to keep its AAA rating. The company will look to sell off equity and equity linked securities, as well as selling new debt securities and buying more reinsurance.
  • Oracle (ORCL) completed its acquisition of rival BEA Systems (BEAS) for $8.5 bln after a long resistance period beginning in October. The companies compromised to the price of $19.38 per share.
  • Merrill Lynch (MER) reported a 4Q net loss of $9.83 bln, or $12.01 a share, compared with the year ago profit of $2.35 bln, or $2.41 a share. Revenue at the company was down $8.19 billion, compared with a gain of $8.39 billion a year ago. MER also reported it took $11.5 bln in subprime related write-downs.
  • Credit Suisse (CS) is looking to expand its private banking arm internationally by adding 1,000 new bankers to cater to wealthy clients by 2010. The company said that amid major problems and layoffs in the financial sector, long-term growth prospects for the wealth management industry were intact.
  • Continental Airlines (CAL) reported a 4Q pretax profit of $71 mln, up from the year ago loss of $26 mln. The company said the rising cost of fuel was effectively offset by higher rates and more international flights. Operating revenue rose 12 percent to $3.52 billion.
  • Sun Microsystems (JAVA) agreed to purchase Swedish open-source software company MySQL AB for $1 bln, or $800 mln in cash and $200 mln in options. Sun is expected to report net income of $230 million to $265 million, or 28 cents to 32 cents a share.
  • Novartis (NVS) reported 4Q net profit dropped 45% to $904 mln from the year ago figure of $1.654 bln. The company attributed the loss to restructuring costs and a weak performance in the U.S. market. Additionally, NVS announced a 10 bln franc ($9.04 bln) share buyback proposal to be voted on at its next general meeting.

Market Recap

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +2.72%, Nikkei +2.07%, Sensex -0.84%, Taiwan -0.95% and Shanghai -2.63%.
  • A glance towards Europe finds the CAC +0.37%, DAX +0.40%, FTSE +0.01%, ATX +0.73%, Swiss Mkt. +0.55% and Stockholm +1.44%.
  • Commodities are trading higher with crude oil up +0.69 to 91.51 and gold up +2.6 to 884.8 this morning.


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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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