Stocks in the news: Jabil Circuit, Ford, General Electric

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Jabil Circuit (JBL) reported a $42.1 million loss in its fiscal second quarter on 20 cents a share. Excluding items, Jabil earned 13 cents a share. Revenue declined by 5.6% to $2.9 billion. While sales were below forecast, its earnings were inline with estimates. However, its third quarter projections were below analysts'. JBL shares gained over 7 percent in pre-market trade.

Ford Motor Co. (F) slashed CEO Alan Mulally's compensation by more than 30 percent to $13.6 million last year, when the automaker lost a record $14.7 billion and the stock fell 66 percent. While the compensation includes $2 million in salary and the rest in bonus, it's important to remember Ford is the only major U.S. automaker not seeking U.S. loans and that it achieved its 2008 performance targets for pretax profits, cash flow, cost cuts, market share and vehicle quality.

CIT Group's (CIT) credit rating was cut by Standard & Poor's by one notch. The rating agency also said it's becoming less concerned about CIT's near-term liquidity position. Shares gained 3.8 percent in pre-market trade.

General Electric Co. (GE) said Wednesday it has been awarded a $300 million contract for work on a new east-west natural gas pipeline in China. GE's oil and gas division will provide compression equipment and turbines for the PetroChina pipeline that will run 8,700 kilometers through 13 of China's provinces. GE shares gained 3.2 percent in pre-market trade.

DryShips (DRYS) reported a $1.02 billion quarterly loss. Excluding items, net income for was $23.5 million or 43 cents per share, much lower than analyst estimates of 66 cents per share according to Thomson Reuters. It also said it's still in talks with lenders to waive breaches of loan covenants. DRYS shares dropped nearly 12 percent in pre-market trade.

Blockbuster Inc. (BBI) is to unveil a deal today to transmit movies and TV shows to TiVo digital video recorders. BBI shares soared 19 percent in pre-market trade.

Pfizer Inc. (PFE) won approval from European regulators to sell its treatment for women with weak bones who face a higher risk of fractures, Fablyn, and said it will seek a partner to market the drug. The drug was not approved in the U.S. with the FDA saying the drug's benefits likely outweigh the risks.

Reporting today after the close:
  • Paychex (PAYX) is expected to report fiscal third-quarter earnings of 36 cents a share, according to First Call.
  • Red Hat (RHT) is expected to report fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of 20 cents a share.
  • SAIC (SAI) is expected to report fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of 29 cents a share.
Analyst calls:
  • PepsiCo (PEP) was upgraded by UBS from Neutral to Buy
  • Research In Motion (RIMM) was started by Kaufman Bros with Hold and a $50 target.
  • Credit Suisse downgraded Dean Foods (DF) and Hershey Foods (HSY) from Outperform to Neutral and from Neutral to Underperform respectively.
  • American Express (AXP) was downgraded by JPMorgan from Overweight to Underweight.
  • Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) was initiated by RBC Capital Markets with Outperform.
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