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Spotlight Stocks: Caterpillar, Fannie Mae, Sears, Toyota

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

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Stocks to watch for Thursday, August 28, 2008:

  • Caterpillar (CAT) chairman and CEO Jim Owens said he expects sales in China to remain strong in 2009, but sees weakness coming from rich-country economies, reported Reuters. In July growth in emerging markets offset rising commodity prices and weakness in North America, Western Europe and Japan, allowing the company to raise full-year earnings guidance. The company expects sales in China to double to $4 billion by 2010 from around $2 billion this year.

  • Fannie Mae (FNM) said its chief financial officer and two other top executives will be leaving the firm, to be replaced by three current executives. The board remains committed to CEO Daniel Mudd. Fannie's shares rose for the third straight day along with sister company Freddie Mac (FRE) as it is becoming less certain the government will bail them out.

  • Sears Holdings (SHLD) reported 2Q profit of $65 million, or 50 cents a share, dropping 62% from $173 million, or $1.15 a share a year ago. Excluding the impact of an overturned suit related to Sears bonds, earnings were 21 cents a share. The company cited problems attracting customers to the stores despite high-stakes reconstruction efforts. Revenue fell to $11.76 billion from $12.26 billion last year and same-store sales dropped 6.2% in the US. Analysts had expected earnings of 33 cents a share on revenue of $11.7 billion.

  • Toyota (TM) took its global sales target for 2009 down 700,000 vehicles to 9.7 million as rising costs for materials, slow sales in the US and high gas prices are hurting the company, reported the Associated Press. Toyota sold more than 4.8 million vehicles worldwide in the first half this year, topping the 4.5 million from General Motors (GM).


Market Recap

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng -2.29%, Nikkei +0.12%, Sensex -1.74%, Taiwan -0.67% and Shanghai +0.34%.

  • A quick check of Europe finds the CAC -0.08%, DAX -0.36%, FTSE +0.20%, ATX -0.61%, Swiss Market +0.65% and Stockholm -0.22%.

  • Commodities are in the green with crude oil up +0.75 to 118.90 and gold higher +4.1 to 834.2 this morning.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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