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Spotlight Stocks: Credit Suisse, Dell, Merrill, Toyota

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

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Stocks to watch for Thursday, March 20, 2008:

  • Credit Suisse (CS) warned investors of the potential for a 1Q loss as fears of further writedowns once again surface. Shares dropped 11% on the news. Reuters reports Brady Dougan, the American chief executive of CS, said an extended investigation had revealed no new valuation flaws since last month when he was forced to reveal that CS traders had deliberately mispriced CDO debt derivatives.
  • Dell (DELL) has plans to buy computer hardware from China over the next two years worth about $52 billion. The company is looking to keep costs low as its biggest market, the US, faces a recession.
  • Merrill Lynch's (MER) international unit sued a unit of Security Capital Assurance (SCA) alleging that it's attempting to avoid financial obligations to insure as much as $3.1 billion in seven credit-default swaps, or contracts in which one party insures another against the risk of losses, reported the Wall Street Journal. Merrill could take more mortgage-related write-downs when it reports earnings next month.
  • Nike (NKE) reported 3Q profit of $463.8 million or $0.92 a share, up from $350.8 million or $0.68 a year ago. Sales climbed to $4.54 billion from $3.93 billion. Analysts estimated NKE to earn $0.80 a share on sales of $4.36 billion.
  • Toyota (TM) says it may not be able to meet its 2008 global sales target of 9.85 million vehicles as the price for materials is rising and demand in the US is waning. Chairman Fujio Cho predicts U.S. auto sales this year to reach 15.5 million units, in line with most car makers' forecast of 15.5 million to 15.7 million cars and light trucks.


Market Recap

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng -3.47%, Taiwan +1.93% and Shanghai +1.13%.
  • A quick glance towards Europe finds the CAC -0.83%, DAX -0.11%, FTSE -0.60%, ATX -0.93%, Swiss Mkt. -1.35% and Stockholm -0.87%.
  • Commodities are struggling this morning as crude oil is lower -2.40 to 100.14 and gold is tanking -31.0 to 914.2.

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