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Spotlight Stocks: Ambac, Novartis, WaMu, Yahoo

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

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Stocks to watch for Monday, April 7, 2008:

  • Ambac Financial (ABK) has formed a team to address customer concerns about the auction-rate securities and variable-rate debt markets, reported MarketWatch. Chairman and CEO Michael Callen said, "Many of Ambac's clients are suffering from penalty interest rates that have increased the financing costs of even highly rated borrowers."
  • AstraZeneca (AZN) is wary of generic drugs, as competition seems eminent for its blockbuster drugs Nexium, for heartburn, and Seroquel for schizophrenia. Sales of these two drugs totaled $29.56 billion last year, or 21% of the company's total sales.
  • BEA Systems (BEAS) shareholders approved the acquisition by Oracle (ORCL) on Friday. The deal is worth $8.5 billion, or about $19.37 a share. It now has to pass through the approval of European regulators.
  • Novartis AG (NVS) agreed to purchase Nestle's 77% stake in Alcon (ACL) for up to $39 billion. According to Reuters, Novartis will acquire a first, 25 percent stake in Alcon for $11 billion and is set to buy Nestle's remaining 52 percent for a fixed price of $28 billion between January 2010 and July 2011.
  • Washington Mutual (WM) is close to a deal in which it would receive $5 billion from private equity firm TPG and other investors. The new capital would help the company ease its pressing capital requirements, but it would dilute shareholders, who have already lost 74% of their investments over the last year due to exposure to the mortgage crisis, reported the Wall Street Journal.
  • Yahoo (YHOO), in response to a letter from Microsoft (MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer, said it is not opposed to a merger, but at the right price. Ballmer sent his letter over the weekend which threatened to lower Microsoft's bid if Yahoo did not move on the $31 a share offer within three weeks.


Market Recap

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +1.29%, Nikkei +1.18%, Sensex +2.70%, Taiwan +1.55% and Shanghai +4.45%.
  • Glancing towards Europe, we find the CAC +0.82%, DAX +0.79%, FTSE +0.62%, ATX +1.79%, Swiss Mkt. +1.47% and Stockholm +0.99%.
  • Commodities are trading higher this morning with crude oil up +1.29 to 107.52 and gold +8.9 to 917.9.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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