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Stocks to Watch: Allstate, Bear Stearns, Palm


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


Stocks to watch for Wednesday, December 19, 2007:

  • Allstate (ALL) said it has seen over 7,000 claims related to the October wildfires in Southern California, adding up to $335 mln in "catastrophe losses". Aside from the wildfire claims, the company recorded 10 other such claims in October and November bringing the total losses to between $360 mln and $400 mln, about $100 mln more than 4Q '06.
  • Bear Stearns (BSC) CEO James Cayne and other senior executives are expected to give up their bonuses this year as the company falls on hard times. Bear expects to report its first ever quarterly loss tomorrow. According to the WSJ, Bear's current executive compensation plan, adopted in 1986, mandates that the firm hit a minimum return-on-equity level before senior brass can receive bonuses, which the company barely met this year.
  • General Motors (GM), amid rising commodity and steel costs, will raise the prices of its 2008 model vehicles by an average of 1.5% and as much as $1,500. GM said the increases range from no change on its 2008 Chevrolet Malibu LS to a $1,500 increase on the Cadillac XLR.
  • MasterCard (MA), in accordance with a ruling by the European Commission, within six months must drop fees that it charges stores for cross-border credit card purchases. The commission said these charges are incompatible with European Union antitrust rules. MasterCard will have six months to withdraw the fees or face daily fines of 3.5% of daily global revenues.
  • Palm Inc. (PALM) reported a fiscal 2Q net loss of $9.6 mln, or 9 cents a share, down from a gain of $12.8 mln, or 12 cents a share a year ago. Revenue fell 11% to $349.6 million.
  • Take-Two Interactive Software (TTWO) reported a 4Q loss of $7.1 mln, or 10 cents a share, compared to a loss of $14 mln, or 20 cents a share a year ago. Revenue came in at $296.6 mln vs. $266.6 mln a year ago.
  • TJX Cos. (TJX) settled a lawsuit with seven banks which were suing over the intrusion of its computer system. TJX said the settlement is being covered by its 2Q reserves. The company also stated that the computer system was 'criminally attacked' and denied all wrongdoing.

Market Recap

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +1.11%, Nikkei -1.17%, Sensex +0.06%, Taiwan +2.65% and Shanghai +2.18%.
  • A quick look towards Europe finds the CAC -0.49%, DAX -0.24%, FTSE -0.33%, ATX -0.24%, Swiss Mkt. -0.80% and Stockholm -0.49%.
  • Crude oil is trading higher +0.20 to 90.28 while gold is lower -2.1 to 805.3 this morning.

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