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Spotlight Stocks: Citigroup, Home Depot, Microsoft, Staples


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


Stocks to watch for Tuesday, May 20, 2008:

  • Citigroup's (C) Falcon Strategies hedge fund is causing serious pain for three large US banks who hoped they'd see nice returns on a controversial type of employee life insurance, reported The Wall Street Journal. While Citi has already agreed to give back some money to individual investors, it may now be pressured into giving some back to the banks which put more than $1.6 billion into the fund. Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) has filed a suit against Citi while Wachovia (WB) was the most heavily exposed of the banks.
  • Home Depot (HD) reported 1Q earnings of $356 million, or 21 cents a share, down sharply from $1.05 billion, or 48 cents a share a year ago. The company cited the slowdown in the US housing market and also charges related to store closures and a new store pullback for the decline. Total sales fell 3.4 percent to $17.9 billion.
  • Microsoft (MSFT) has made a new proposal to Yahoo (YHOO), offering to buy its search business and take a minority stake in the company, reported Reuters citing a person familiar with discussions. As part of the deal Yahoo would put its Asian assets, including significant minority stakes in Yahoo Japan and China's Alibaba Group, up for sale, while Microsoft would buy a chunk of what remains of the company, the source said.
  • Staples (SPLS) made a hostile offer of 1.5 billion euros ($2.34 billion) for Corporate Express N.V. (CXP) which was unwilling to negotiate terms of a deal it rejected last week. Staples has received a credit line of $3 billion for the deal.

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Market Recap

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng -2.23%, Nikkei -0.77%, Sensex -1.17%, Taiwan -2.43% and Shanghai -4.48%.
  • Over in Europe we find the CAC -1.11%, DAX -0.94%, FTSE -1.36%, ATX -1.71%, Swiss Mkt. -1.29% and Stockholm -1.18%,
  • Commodities are edging higher as crude oil trades +0.08 to 127.13 and gold +1.3 to 907.2 this morning.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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