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Spotlight Stocks: Biogen, JP Morgan, UBS, Wachovia

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

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Stocks to watch for Tuesday, August 12, 2008:

  • Biogen Idec (BIIB) saw billionaire investor Carl Icahn up his stake in the company from 4.3% to 6% after the recent weakness in the stock. The Wall Street Journal reports the purchase of about $259 million is a sign Icahn will not drop his efforts to prompt a sale of BIIB, where he had previously failed.

  • JPMorgan (JPM) has reportedly lost about $1.5 billion since July in the credit and mortgage markets and because of wider credit spreads and lower levels of liquidity, according to a regulatory filing. Reuters reported that deteriorating trading conditions and widening spreads on mortgage-backed securities have hurt the company. The bank was forced to write down the value of its $33 billion in mortgage-backed securities as prices continued to drop in July.

  • UBS (UBS) reported a 2Q net loss of 358 Swiss francs ($331 million), compared with a profit of 5.5 billion francs a year ago. The company also said it had losses and write-downs totaling $5.1 billion for the quarter. The bank said it had net new money outflows during the quarter of 43.8 billion francs ($40.5 billion), compared with inflows of 34 billion francs in the second quarter 2007. UBS also announced it will split off its investment banking unit.

  • Wachovia (WB) widened its previously reported 2Q losses to $9.11 billion, or $4.31 a share, to cover costs to settle a probe of auction-rate securities sales. On July 22, WB had reported a loss of $8.86 billion, or $4.20 a share. Additionally, the company plans to cut 6,950 jobs, 600 more than it had disclosed.

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Market Recap

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng -1.00%, Nikkei -0.95%, Sensex -1.88%, Taiwan -0.43% and Shanghai -0.52%.

  • Glancing across the pond, we see the CAC +0.08%, DAX -0.07%, FTSE +0.19%, ATX -0.79%, Swiss Market -0.05% and Stockholm +0.16%.

  • In commodities, crude oil is trading lower -0.94 to 113.50 and gold is also dropping -12.0 to 809.5 this morning.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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