Stocks in the news: Lennar, General Motors, Ford

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Lennar (LEN) reported its loss widened 77 percent during the first quarter, to $155.9 million, though orders fell less steep than analysts had forecast. Home deliveries and new orders plunged despite stepped-up buyer incentives. Revenue plunged by about 44 percent to $593.1 million, but exceeded estimates by Thomson Reuters. Shares gained 2.6 percent in pre-market trade.

General Motors (GM) shares are recovering somewhat from their decline Monday after President Obama appointed an auto czar Monday who will focus on funneling federal funds to people and places hurt by the auto industry meltdown. The White House said rejected GM and Chrysler's restructuring plans, saying they would have to do more in order to receive further aid and forcing out GM's chairman Rick Wagoner. The new CEO will have his work cut out for him. Meanwhile, many are accusing Obama for being harder on the automakers than on banks and insurers.

Toyota (TM) will slash its 2008 annual dividend for the first time since 1994 as the world's largest automaker braces for a massive loss in the year. This according to the Nikkei business daily, which cited no sources and gave no further details.

Ford Motor Company (F) said Tuesday it is offering consumers a payment protection plan. Ford, the only U.S. carmaker that didn't take government money, said it will cover payments of up to $700 each month for up to a year on any new Ford, Lincoln or Mercury vehicle if consumers lose their jobs. The program runs until June 1. With GM and Chrysler in potential bankruptcy, this plan could help Ford even more. Shares gained 2.9 percent in pre-market trade.

Ingersoll-Rand Co. Ltd. (IR) slashed its quarterly dividend by 61 percent and said it would issue notes to raise capital. It also cut its first-quarter revenue guidance on lower demand. Shares declined 5 percent in pre-market trade.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) has arranged $12.8 billion of rights offers, twice as much as nearest competitor Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), in Europe's busiest year for the share sales. JPM shares gained 2.5 percent in pre-market trade.

Anglo American Plc (AAUK) said it is headed for its best quarter in almost three years. Shares climbed nearly 8 percent in pre-market trade.

Barclays Plc (BCS) is in exclusive talks to sell its iShares unit to CVC Capital Partners Ltd. for about 3 billion pounds ($4.3 billion), people familiar with the discussions said.

Alcoa (AA) was upgraded from Sell to Hold by Deutsche Securities, which downgraded Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) from Hold to Sell. AA shares gained nearly 7 percent in pre-market trade, FCX shares were up too.

Google Inc. (GOOG) and Walt Disney Co. (DIS) have agreed Monday to a deal to present content from ABC, ESPN and other Disney properties on YouTube. Google has struggled to monetize YouTube successfully.
Google has already sealed a deal with CBS Corp. (CBS). Only short-form content from Disney will be delivered to YouTube.

Google is also expected to announce today more details about its highly anticipated venture-capital fund, including its plan to commit roughly $100 million to the endeavor in its first year.

Reporting today:
  • Apollo Group Inc (APOL)
  • Borders Group Inc. (BGP) -- as it reached a deal to extend loans, shares jumped over 10 percent in pre-market trade.
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