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Spotlight Stocks: Deutsche Bank, General Motors, Google, Shell

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

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Stocks to watch for Thursday, July 31, 2008:

  • Aetna (AET) reported 2Q earnings of $480.5 million, or 97 cents a share, up 6.4% from $451.3 million, or 85 cents a year ago. Membership growth and rate hikes aided the numbers. Revenue rose 15 percent to $7.83 billion from $6.79 billion. Analysts had expected a profit of 93 cents a share on revs of $7.87 billion.

  • Deutsche Banks (DB) took fresh writedowns, bringing its total bill from the credit crisis to over $11 billion, reported Reuters. The company reported 2Q pretax profit of 642 million euros ($1 billion), down sharply from 2.7 billion euros a year ago. The writedowns included 1 billion euros related to the residential mortgage market and 500 million euros from monoline insurers.against bond defaults.

  • General Motors (GM) will reportedly eliminate 5,000 salaried positions by November 1 as part of its most recent cost-cutting initiative. The Wall Street Journal reports the laid off employees represents 15% of the company's total white collar work force. GM also confirmed its plans to scale back its vehicle-leasing operations. It is expected to report a large quarterly loss tomorrow.

  • Google (GOOG) is mulling over the idea of creating its own venture capital investment arm. Google's senior vice president of corporate development and chief legal officer, David Drummond will head the group. Venture capitalists invest in private start-ups at an early stage, usually in hopes of a big payout if the company is sold or if its stock goes public.

  • Royal Dutch Shell (RDS-A) reported 2Q profits of $11.56 billion, a 33% rise year over year. The quarter included a net $73 million of one-time items, as divestments were offset by mark-to-market valuations on U.K. gas contracts and tax charges, reported MarketWatch. $351 million in profits came from its oil sands projects, a 74% rise from a year ago when it reported a 21% drop in production.

  • Starbucks (SBUX) reported its first ever quarterly loss, posting a fiscal 3Q net loss of $6.7 million, or 1 cent per share, down from a profit of $158.3 million, or 21 cents a share a year ago. Store closings and restructuring costs weighed on the numbers. Total revenue rose a slower-than-expected 9 percent to $2.6 billion. The company also lowered its forecast for the full year.

  • Unilever (UL) reported 2Q net profit of 909 million euros ($1.41 billion), down 21% from 1.14 billion euros a year ago. Sales fell 1.4 percent to 10.4 billion euros ($16.2 billion). The company cited a strong euro, higher taxes and restructuring costs for the drop. The company said that the underlying sales growth (up 6.8%) in Europe and North America was due to price increases.


Market Recap

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +0.18%, Nikkei +0.07%, Sensex +0.48%, Taiwan -0.65% and Shanghai -2.15%.

  • A quick check across the pond finds the CAC +0.30%, DAX +0.62%, FTSE +0.31%, ATX +1.51%, Swiss Market +0.72% and Stockholm +0.21%.

  • In commodities, crude oil is trading lower -1.15 to 125.62 while gold is higher +7.2 to 910.1 this morning.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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