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US EQUITY OPENING NEWS INCLUDING: eBay PayPal unit is running a trial with Home Depot for in-store paymentsJanuary 09 2012, 1:50pm
US stock futures are set to open relatively flat ahead of US corporate earnings season, which kicks off today with Alcoa reporting after-market.
• FTSE (-0.20%), CAC (+0.27%), DAX (-0.15%), FTSE MIB (-0.16%), IBEX (+1.24%), SMI (-0.19%), prices taken at 1337 GMT.
Bank of America – Co. cutting around one fifth of its managing directors across its Asian investment banking division in a bid to cut costs as the outlook sours in the once booming region. (RTRS)
Disney – Co.’s worldwide marketing president, MT Carney, is apparently exiting the company. Chairman Rich Ross has spoken to potential replacements including Sony Pictures' worldwide marketing president Marc Weinstock, who declined the job. (LA Times) In other news, is in the early stages of considering options for Touchstone Pictures, the film label created to house edgier fare. One option may include a possible sale of the film imprint. (New York Post)
Coca Cola – Co. and Nestle have ended their joint venture to sell iced tea in the US and Asia as Coke has announced plans to launch a rival tea brand. (FT)
Alcoa – Co.’s shares could rise 30% if depressed aluminium prices rise, as aluminium demand could double in the current decade. (Barron’s)
United Technologies – Co. awarded USD 194mln government contract for long lead components, parts, and materials required for the delivery of 37 propulsion systems for the Lot VI F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program. (WSJ)
Companies paying dividend: Merck (USD 0.4200)
Human Genome Sciences – Co. says R&D expense is expected to total between approximately USD 195mln and USD 205mln in 2011. (RTRS)
Ford – Co. sells 519,390 units in 2011, up 7%, and 49,238 units in December, up 10%. Co.’s Executive Chairman Bill Ford is to Outline Personal Mobility Vision at Mobile World Congress on Feb. 27 in Barcelona, Spain. (theflyonthewall)
Bristol-Myers – Co. to acquire Inhibitex for USD 26 per share in USD 2.5bln deal. (RTRS)
Transocean – Co. offers investors 'deep value', as they are hovering near a 52-week low of USD 38.21, and don't reflect strong earnings and cash-flow projections for 2012 given the positive outlook for global-exploration spending on offshore drilling rigs. (Sources)
Gilead – Co. announces early termination of HSR waiting period with respect to Gilead's cash tender offer for Pharmasset. (Sources)
Companies paying dividend: Omnicom (USD 0.2500) Progress Energy (USD 0.2590)
Yahoo – Co. is searching for several new board candidates to replace outgoing directors. (WSJ) In other news, new CEO Scott Thompson will be paid a USD 1mln annual salary, plus USD 5.5mln in restricted stock units. (WSJ)
eBay – Co.’s PayPal unit is running a trial with Home Depot for in-store payments. (RTRS)
Netflix – Co. launches in the United Kingdom and Ireland offering instant and unlimited access to a broad range of entertainment for the low monthly price of GBP 5.99 and EUR 6.99 respectively. (WSJ) In other news, CEO Reed Hastings says US subscribers turned up in the back half of Q4 and said the company does not expect to raise fresh capital this year as the cost of international expansion could contribute to overall loss at the co. (RTRS)
Intel/Microsoft – Co. should make a ‘big splash’ at CES. (Barron’s) Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system will go on sale sometime this year, with a developer release expected in February. The next version of the company's software for smartphones, Windows 8, will be demonstrated. Investors should also learn a little bit more about Office 15, the next version of Microsoft's office productivity suite. And Intel can look forward to the introduction of a new chip called Ivy Bridge, the first chip ever to use a 3D kind of semiconductor transistor called tri-gate. Intel' Medfield chip for mobile phones has received positive early reviews - some think the company may talk up design wins or details about another mobile chip at CES. (Barron’s)
Motorola Mobility – Co. sees Q4 revenue USD3.4bln vs. Exp. USD 3.88bln. The estimate includes 10.5mln mobile devices, of which approximately 5.3mln were smartphones. The results were impacted by the increased competitive environment in the mobile device business and higher legal costs associated with ongoing intellectual property litigations. The company estimates sales of USD 900mln for Home business in Q4. (Sources)
Companies going ex-dividend: Oracle (USD 0.0600)
Capital One – Co. added to Top Picks Live list at Citigroup, price target USD 60
Travelers - Co. upgraded to Conviction Buy from Buy at Goldman, price target is USD 67
Affiliated Managers - Co. added to Top Picks Live list at Citigroup, price target raised to USD 115 from USD 110
El Paso Electric – Co. upgraded to Hold from Underperform at Jefferies, price target raised to USD 34.50 from USD 28
Fairchild Semiconductor - Co. upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
Broadcom – Co. upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
XL Group – Co. downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman, price target is USD 22
Costco – Co. downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at Bernstein, price target lowered to USD 76 from USD 80
StanCorp Financial - Co. downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Sterne Agee, price target is $37
Reinsurance Group – Co. downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Sterne Agee, price target is USD 62
Akamai – Co. downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Citigroup, price target remains USD 27
Merck – Co. downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies, price target raised to USD 40 from USD 37
VeriSign – Co. downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at BofA/Merrill, price target remains USD 36
First Horizon – Co. downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at BofA/Merrill, price target remains USD 7
General Motors – Co. to unveil first small Cadillac in 25 years in a bid to compete with luxury foreign brands. (WSJ)
Semiconductor sector upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Deutsche Bank on expectations that growth will accelerate as the year progresses.
Regis – Co. reports Q2 Same Store Sales down 3% , and reports Q2 revenue USD 563mln vs. Exp. USD 570.3mln (Sources)
Mistras - Co. reports Q2 EPS USD 0. 28 vs. Exp. USD 0. 25, Q2 revenue USD 114.2mln vs. Exp. USD 105.76mln (Sources)