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Stocks to Watch: Merrill Lynch, Research in Motion, Washington Mutual


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


Stocks to watch for Friday, December 21, 2007:

  • Boeing (BA) won a contract valued at up to $1.2 bln from NASA to build tracking satellites. The company will build up to four Tracking and Data Relay Satellites.
  • Campbell Soup (CPB) has agreed to sell its Godiva Chocolate unit for $850 mln to Yildiz Holding. Godiva's annual sales are $500 million, and the company expects the sale to close in the next several months.
  • General Dynamics (GD) has signed on to upgrade 180 Abrams tanks to ensure compatibility with the Army's future combat system requirements. The contract is worth $257.8 mln and the company said it could bring in more than $320 mln in revenue if all options are exercised.
  • Jabil Circuit (JBL) reported 1Q earnings of $62 mln, or 30 cents a share, compared with $41.4 mln, or 20 cents a share a year ago. Revenue at the company came in at $3.4 bln vs. the year ago number of $3.2 bln.
  • Merrill Lynch (MER) is in talks with Temasek Holdings Pte. of Singapore to have as much as $5 bln injected into the struggling financial company. Merrill is expected to write down an additional $8 bln in the 4Q.
  • Micron Technology (MU) reported a 1Q loss of $262 mln, or 34 cents a share, compared with a gain of $115 mln, or 15 cents a share a year ago. Revenue at the company was $1.54 bln vs. $1.53 bln a year earlier.
  • Research in Motion (RIMM) reported 3Q earnings of $370.5 million, or 65 cents a share, compared with earnings of $175.2 million, or 31 cents a share, for the same period last year, factoring in a $10.7 mln boost from the resolution of a tax issue. Revenue at the company grew 100% to $1.67 billion.
  • SunTrust (STI) said it will take $1.4 bln in exposure to SIVs on its balance sheet. It also expects to report a $400 mln write down this quarter. The bank is considering options including a sale or trade of its 43.6 mln shares of Coca-Cola (KO), valued at $2.66 bln.
  • Washington Mutual (WM) is being investigated by the SEC regarding the reporting of mortgage loans that may have been based on inflated home appraisals. According to the WSJ, the investigation will include whether WaMu accurately disclosed to investors of mortgage-backed securities how its loans were appraised as well as whether the company properly accounted for its loans in financial disclosures to investors of the company.

Market Recap

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +2.26%, Nikkei +1.50%, Sensex +0.37%, Taiwan +1.07% and Shanghai +1.15%.
  • A quick check across the pond finds the CAC +1.43%, DAX +1.52%, FTSE +0.93%, ATX +1.16%, Swiss Mkt. +0.63% and Stockholm +1.34%.
  • Crude oil is trading higher +0.24 to 91.30 and gold is also up +2.3 to 801.5 this morning.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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