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Stocks to Watch: Fannie Mae, Merck, Prudential...


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


Stocks to watch for Wednesday, December 5, 2007:

  • Abbott Laboratories (ABT) plans to cut 1,200 jobs at two of its vascular products plants, attributed to a slowing coronary stent market. The company will lay off all of the 500 workers at its plant in Galway, Ireland, and 700 of about 4,500 employees at its facility in Temecula, Calif.
  • Chico's FAS (CHS) reported 3Q earnings of $23.5 mln, or 13 cents a share compared with $42.1 mln or 24 cents a share a year ago. Sales at the company rose 3.4% to $416 million.
  • Cisco Systems (CSCO) hopes to improve innovation and explore new business and technology direction by hiring a new chief technology officer, Padmasree Warrior. Warrior was formerly executive vice president and chief technology officer at Motorola (MOT)
  • Fannie Mae (FNM) said it will sell $7 bln in non-convertible preferred stock this month. The company also said that in the beginning of 1Q of 2008, it would cut its quarterly dividend to 35 cents a share from 50 cents.
  • Guess (GES) reported 3Q net income of $58.3 mln, or 62 cents a share, up from $44 mln or 48 cents a share a year earlier. Revenue for the period ended Nov. 3 increased 43% to $469.1 million from $328.8 million.
  • IBM's (IBM) acquisition of Cognos (COGN) for $58 a share has been granted an early termination of its mandatory waiting period by the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Merck (MRK) gave a disappointing earnings guidance on an expected sharp drop of sales of its osteoporosis drug Fosamax stemming from increased generic competition. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company also expects to take a $670 million pretax charge in the current year to resolve civil federal and state probes related to past marketing and sales practices. Merck said the settlement agreements aren't yet final.
  • Prudential Financial (PRU) has agreed to create a joint asset-management venture in India with Indian real-estate developer DLF Group. PRU will own a 61% stake in the venture, which will be called DLF Pramerica Asset Managers Private Limited.
  • Wal-Mart (WMT) said yesterday it had finalized a bid to buy-out the remaining minority shareholders in Japanese supermarket chain Seiyu. The bid is valued at $849 mln. WMT has bought out the remaining 49% in Seiyu it did not own.

Market Recap

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +1.61%, Nikkei +0.83%, Sensex +1.07%, Taiwan +0.30% and Shanghai +2.58%.
  • A quick glance towards Europe finds the CAC +0.98%, DAX +0.75%, FTSE +1.38%, ATX +1.15%, Swiss Mkt. +0.47% and Stockholm +0.96%.
  • Crude oil is trading higher +1.50 to 89.82 and gold is also showing gains of +1.7 to 809.30 this morning.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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