Stocks in the news: General Motors, Google, Adobe Systems

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General Motors (GM) revealed its auditors have raised "substantial doubt" about its viability. While perhaps not surprising as GM hasn't been doing all that great before the recession, and is now trying to survive the worst auto sales climate in 27 years with government loans. Recurring losses from operations are not healthy in the best of times, and being unable to generate enough cash can casts doubts about its ability to continue as a going concern. CEO Wagoner's compensation was cut to $5.4 million last year from $14.1 million in 2007. GM shares are declining over 14% in pre-market trade.

Google (GOOG) now plans to let its $8.6 billion in cash "pile up" as it weathers an economic recession. While, according to Google's CEO, who also said the recession will eventually affect Google too, the search giant doesn't expect to see a fall in revenue, and the cash is deemed a conservative investment and will not be used to pay dividends.

Ford Motor Co. (F), which hasn't taken government loans, meanwhile announced Wednesday "critical" plans to erase up to $10.4 billion in debt through stock and tender offers. This could retire as much as 40% of the $25.8 billion in outstanding debt Ford carried on its books at the end of 2008. Ford is facing the same tough environment, as its sales were nearly halved in February. Ford's chief Alan Mullali faced questions from audience at the WSJ, and will be on Fox Business today at 10:30 am. F shares are down nearly 6.5% in pre-market trade.

Adobe Systems (ADBE) said it expects its first-quarter profit and sales to fall short of the company's prior outlook, but said earnings will hold up. Three different analysts upgraded ADBE. ADBE shares are up over 10% in pre-market trade.

Bank of America (BAC)'s long-term ratings have been put under review and possible downgrade by Moody's. Moody's also cut the outlook on JP Morgan Chase (JPM) from stable to negative, and put Wells Fargo (WFC) under review. BAC and JPM shares are down over 4%, WFC shares down over 9% in pre-market trade.

Retail:
  • Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) sales jumped 5.1%, beating the average estimate for 2.4% by analysts
  • Costco Wholesale (COST) and BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. (BJ) February sales both missed Wall Street expectations.
  • Target (TGT) sales dropped 7%, in line with analysts' estimates.
  • Macy's (M) same-store sales were down 8.5% in February, below expectations.
  • Gap (GPS) same-store sales in February fell 12%, better than estimates.
In brief:
  • Foot Locker (FL) swung to a fourth-quarter loss, but excluding items it beat estimates. Shares declined 3.7% in after-hors trading.
  • AT&T (T) was upgraded from Neutral to Buy at UBS.
  • General Dynamics (GD) said its board raised the quarterly dividend to 38 cents from 35 cents. Shares are up 1.9% in pre-market trade.
  • Hot Topic (HOTT) said its February same-store sales rose 10.8%, far better than expectations. Shares soared over 9% in after-hours trading.
  • Exxon Mobil (XOM) will be holding an analyst day.
  • AIG (AIG) -- there's a Senate Banking Committee hearing on government aid for the insurance giant today.
Companies reporting today include:
  • Clearwire (CLWR) - is expected to report after the bell fourth-quarter loss of 71 cents a share, according to First Call.
  • Urban Outfitters (URBN) - is expected to report before the bell fourth-quarter earnings of 28 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters. URBN missed estimates. Shares down over 7% in pre-market trade.
  • Marvell Technology (MRVL) - is expected to report after the bell fourth-quarter earnings of a penny a share, according to Thomson Reuters.
  • Ciena (CIEN) - is expected to report after the bell fourth-quarter earnings of 7 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters.
General Electric Co. (GE) investors are treating the company as though it's on the verge of failing ahead of a potential cut in its top-level AAA rating. Investors are concerned GE Capital may need more outside funding to cover potential writedowns. So while GE posted its third-highest annual profit ever, it has lost about $264 billion in market value in 12 months, culminating is Wednesday's decline to the lowest closing price since November 1992. Shares are declining again in pre-market trade.
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