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Spotlight Stocks: Alcatel-Lucent, BP, Merrill Lynch, Sony


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


Stocks to watch for Tuesday, July 29, 2008:

  • Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) CEO Patricia Russo and Chairman Serge Tchuruk will resign as the company recently reported its sixth straight quarterly loss. Russo will remain in her role until a new CEO starts and plans to leave the company no later than year-end. The company reported a net loss for the quarter of €1.1 billion ($1.73 billion), compared with €586 million a year earlier.

  • BP plc (BP), Europe's second largest oil producer, reported a 2Q profit of $9.47 billion, up 28% from $7.38 billion a year ago. Revenue also headed higher, up 47% to $110.98 billion. The company cited soaring prices of crude oil --rising 35% per barrel over the quarter -- and gains in natural gas for the solid numbers.

  • Merrill Lynch (MER) said it plans to raise $8.5 billion by selling new stock after it announced it will record a $5.7 billion write-down of risky debt in the third quarter, reported Reuters. In the companies recent 2Q earnings report, it took $9 billion in write-downs and posted a loss of $4.9 billion. Merrill's stock sale will include $3.4 billion being bought by Singapore's state-run Temasek Holdings. Management also plans to buy 750,000 shares, it said. The company also noted the possibility the total amount may rise to $9.8 billion.

  • Sony (SNE) reported fiscal 1Q profit of 34.98 billion yen ($326.9 million), down about 50% from 66.46 billion a year ago. The company said its numbers were hurt by a strong yen, the lack of revenue from movies like "Spider-Man 3" and declining numbers in its cell phone unit. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had forecast a 52 billion yen ($486 million) profit. The company lowered its full year profit forecast to 240 billion yen ($2.24 billion) from an earlier 290 billion yen ($2.71 billion).

  • Starbucks (SBUX) says it will close 61 of its Australian outlets. The company currently operates 81 stores. Earlier this month, the company announced closings of 600 locations in the US but would continue to focus on the international market, said Reuters. It will now refocus its efforts in three major cities, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Market Recap

  • Asian trading closed in the red with the Hang Seng -1.89%, Nikkei -1.46%, Sensex -3.89%, Taiwan -3.03% and Shanghai -1.82%.

  • A quick check across the pond finds the CAC -1.26%, DAX -0.94%, FTSE +0.10%, ATX -0.03%, Swiss Market -0.98% and Stockholm -1.40%.

  • In commodities, crude oil is trading higher +0.43 to 125.16 and gold is also up +0.6 to 928.3 this morning.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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