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Spotlight Stocks: Alcoa, Google, Merrill, WPP

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

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Stocks to watch for Wednesday, July 9, 2008:

  • Alcoa (AA) reported 2Q earnings of $546 million, or 66 cents a share, a 24% drop from $715 million, or 81 cents a share a year ago. Revenue dropped 6% to $7.62 billion. Analysts had expected profits of 64 cents per share on revenue of $7.36 billion. Factors such as a gas pipeline explosion in Australia and power supply disruptions at a smelter in Texas brought down earnings.

  • Google's (GOOG) YouTube may see its advertising revenue for this year fall short of expectations, according to The Wall Street Journal. The amount may come in at around $200 million. According to one source, Google also has significantly cut the number of YouTube clips it will sell ads against, so as not to sell them against videos that may violate copyrights. Due to the unknown nature of most user generated clips, companies are uneasy to place their ads there.

  • Merrill Lynch (MER) may receive an offer worth between $4.5 and $5 billion for its 20% stake in Bloomberg, reported the New York Post. The offer comes from a blind trust run by Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City. MER is hoping to sell this stake, along with its 49% stake in Blackrock (BLK), before it reports 2Q earnings on July 17.

  • WPP Group (WPPGY) made a hostile 1.08 billion pound ($2.13 billion) bid for Britain's Taylor Nelson Sofres, after it had previously agreed to merge with GfK Holdings AG, reported Reuters. TNS shareholders are expected to be taken by the offer, which has a high cash component. WPP is the world's second largest advertising company.


Market Recap

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +2.76%, Nikkei +0.15%, Sensex +4.60%, Taiwan -0.05% and Shanghai +3.75%.

  • A quick check of Europe finds the CAC +1.03%, DAX +0.90%, FTSE +1.19%, ATX +2.64%, Swiss Mkt. +1.93% and Stockholm +1.43%.

  • In commodities, crude oil is trading higher +1.84 to 137.89 and gold is lower -0.4 to 922.9 this morning.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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