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Stocks to Watch: MBIA, Target, UnitedHealth


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


Stocks to watch for Friday, December 7, 2007:

  • AT&T (T) expects a rise in revenue for the Asia-Pacific region of at least 20% in 2008, particularly in countries such as China and India.
  • Dow Jones (DJ) chief executive Richard Zannino said he will step down once the company's acquisition by News Corp. (NWS) is completed. There is expected to be more high level shakeup after the transaction.
  • Eli Lilly (LLY) forecast a rise of as much as 14% for 2008 profit over expected year-end 2007 results. The company attributes this to strong sales of depression, diabetes and erectile dysfunction drugs. LLY said it expects seven of its products to generate at least $1 billion in sales each in 2008.
  • Ford (F) is recalling 1.2 mln trucks, SUVs and vans due to an engine sensor that could lead to stalling. The Wall Street Journal reports the recalled vehicles are all from the 1997-2003 model years with 7.3 liter diesel engines, including the Ford E-Series van, Excursion full-size SUV, and F-450 Super Duty and F-550 Super Duty trucks.
  • MBIA (MBI) plans to raise its capital if rating agencies determine that is what is needed in order to maintain its AAA rating.
  • National Semiconductor (NSM) reported 2Q net income of $90.6 mln, or 33 cents a share, compared with $91.4 mln, or 27 cents a share a year ago. Revenue at the company was $499 million, compared to $501.6 million for the same period last year.
  • Prudential Financial (PRU) is set to offer $3 bln in convertible senior notes due 2037. The initial purchaser of the notes will be given the opportunity to buy up to an additional $450 million worth in notes.
  • Target (TGT) reported a 17% rise in overall sales for November, but that included a mere 1.1% increase in stores open at least a year, against a projected gain of 2-4%. Shares of TGT fell $4.40, or 7.3% to $55.73 in afternoon trading.
  • UnitedHealth (UNH), after completing a review of past options granted to certain former officers and directors, said former chairman and CEO William W. McGuire would need to surrender a total of $600 mln, including $320 mln in stock options.
  • Yum Brands (YUM) forecasts 2008 growth will be at least 10%. The company will boost its US refranchising, expecting company ownership to be below 10% by the end of 2010, down from 20% from year-end 2007.

Market Recap

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng -2.42%, Nikkei +0.52%, Sensex +0.86%, Taiwan +0.32% and Shanghai +1.13%.
  • A quick check across the pond finds the CAC +1.09%, DAX +0.73%, FTSE +1.28%, ATX +0.66%, Swiss Mkt. +0.95% and Stockholm +0.89%.
  • Crude oil is trading higher +0.40 to 90.27 while gold is lower -0.3 to 806.8 this morning.

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