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Spotlight Stocks: Altria, ConocoPhillips, Fannie Mae, Lehman Brothers


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


Stocks to watch for Monday, September 8, 2008:

  • Altria (MO) announced it will purchase UST, the maker of Skoal and Copenhagen brand tobacco products, in a deal worth about $10 billion. The terms of $69.50 per share in cash represent a 3% premium over UST's closing price on Friday of $67.55. Altria will also assume about $1.3 billion in UST debt in the deal, boosting the total value of the transaction to $11.7 billion.

  • ConocoPhillips (COP) said it will contribute up to $8 billion in a joint venture with Origin Energy to develop the massive coal-seam gas (CSG) assets and build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project. The deal will help Origin stave off a hostile $11 billion takeover bid from BG Group. Conoco said it would pay $5 billion to the joint venture and would carry Origin Energy for their first A$1.15 billion ($950 million) in joint venture expenses, reported Reuters.

  • Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE), after getting bailed out by the US Treasury over the weekend, helped stock markets around the world surge higher, such as Germany's DAX jumping 3.45 percent to 6,338.89 and France's CAC 40 climbing 4.83 percent to 4,399.55. The two companies own or guarantee about half of U.S. mortgage debt, which has weighed on global markets. "Their implications are likely to be positive for markets because it's a source of uncertainty close to resolution," said Glenn Stevens, the head of Australia's central bank.

  • Lehman Brothers (LEH) named new co-heads of global fixed income after Andrew Morton stepped down. Eric Felder and Hyung Soon Lee will take over the responsibilities. Additionally, Lehman appointed Riccardo Banchetti and Christian Meissner co-chief executive officers of Europe and the Middle East and announced that Jeremy Isaacs will retire as chief executive officer for Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific at the end of the year, reported Reuters.

Market Recap

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +4.32%, Nikkei +3.38%, Sensex +3.18%, Taiwan +5.57% and Shanghai -2.68%.

  • Glancing towards Europe, we see the CAC +4.70%, DAX +3.39%, FTSE +3.81%, ATX +4.49%, Swiss Market +3.59% and Stockholm +4.30%.

  • In commodities, crude oil is trading higher +0.81 to 107.06 and gold is also higher +8.6 to 807.4 this morning.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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