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Spotlight Stocks: Altria, American Express, Honda, Microsoft

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

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Stocks to watch for Friday, April 25, 2008:

  • Altria Group (MO) reported 1Q earnings of $2.45 billion, or $1.16 a share, down 11% from $2.75 billion, or $1.31 a share, a year ago. On a continuing operations basis, excluding various charges and gains, Altria would have earned 37 cents a share, up from 33 cents. The company cited costs related to the spinoff of Phillip Morris International (PM) for the loss.
  • American Express (AXP) posted 1Q profit of $991 million, or 85 cents a share, down 6% from $1.06 billion, or 87 cents a share a year ago. Shares traded higher after hours as the company beat expectations and confirmed its outlook for the rest of the year. Yet, the company remains cautious due to strapped US consumers, putting away an additional $881 million for credit losses during the quarter.
  • Honda (HMC) reported fiscal 4Q profit plunged 86% to 25.4 billion yen ($244.2 million) from 176 billion yen a year ago. Quarterly sales edged down 1 percent to 3.056 trillion yen ($29.4 billion) from 3.088 trillion yen. The loss was reportedly due to a one-time corporate tax levied on its Chinese joint venture, according to the company.
  • Microsoft (MSFT) reported fiscal 3Q profit of $4.39 billion, or 47 cents a share, down 11% from $4.93 billion, or 50 cents a share a year ago. Revenue edged up to $14.45 billion from $14.4 billion in the year-ago quarter. Shares were down after the report despite the company forecasting a strong fiscal 2009.
  • Yahoo (YHOO) said it will open its site to Web services from developers and create other features similar to those seen on social networking sites, reported The Wall Street Journal. This "open platform" strategy has been used by sites such as Facebook and others. One example is a a single profile page where a user can manage information about himself/herself and who he or she is friends with.


Market Recap

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng -0.64%, Nikkei +2.38%, Sensex +2.42%, Taiwan -0.47% and Shanghai -0.71%.
  • A quick look towards Europe finds the CAC +1.07%, DAX +1.19%, FTSE +0.42%, ATX +0.65%, Swiss Mkt. +1.52% and Stockholm +2.77%.
  • In commodities, crude oil is trading higher +0.78 to 116.82 while gold is lower -2.8 to 884.0 this morning.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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