Stocks in the news: Citigroup, MasterCard, Chevron

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The following post rounds up the companies making headlines today:

Citigroup (C) said it sold its Japanese brokerage businesses, Nikko Cordial Securities Inc. and some parts of Nikko Citigroup's Japan operations, to Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group for about 545 billion yen ($5.6 billion). Citigroup is trying to restructure and improve its financial position by selling non-core assets after the struggling financial institution incurred more than $100 billion of credit losses and writedowns that's led to three bailouts by the U.S. government. It may be required to boost its capital position further next week when stress trests are revealed. Citi shares traded 2.3 percent higher before the bell.

Mastercard (MA), the world's second largest credit card company, said first-quarter profit fell 18 percent to $367.3 million, or $2.81 a share, amid the impact of a stronger U.S. dollar on overseas revenue. The result beat the $2.62 average estimate of 21 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. MA shares slumped 4.4 percent in pre-market trading.

Chevron (CVX), the second-largest U.S. oil company, said first-quarter net income declined for the first time in seven years after the global recession slowed fuel demand, spurring a drop in energy prices. Net income fell 64 percent to $1.84 billion, or 92 cents a share. Excluding items, profit was about 72 cents a share, 9 cents below estimates.

Clorox Co (CLX) reported a 53 percent jump in its first third quarter profit to $1.08 per share, 4 cents better than the analysts estimates. Revenue for the quarter was almost flat at $1.35 billion. The company raised its its FY09 guidance, but its FY10 guidance was below estimates. Shares were up 2 percent in pre-market trade.

Aon Corp (AOC) the world's largest insurance broker, reported a 28 percent rise in profit, helped by restructuring efforts, mostly cost cuts, but revenue slipped as investment income fell. Shares declined 3.3 percent.

Hartford Financial Services Group Inc (HIG) posted a first-quarter loss after the close on Thursday of $1.21 billion, or $3.77 a share, which compares to first-quarter net income of $145 million, or 46 cents a share, a year earlier. The operating loss was $1.18 billion, or $3.66 a share, larger than estimates of $3.05 a share. Shares slumped over 12 percent in pre-market trade.

MetLife Inc (MET), the largest U.S. life insurer recorded a loss as its investment income dropped. Operating earnings were $159 million, or 20 cents a share, in the latest period, far below the 34 cents a share analysts estimated. Shares fell in pre-market trading.

Fortune Brands Inc. (FO) said its first-quarter net income tumbled 94 percent to $7.4 million, or 5 cents per share. Net sales plunged 20 percent to $1.44 billion. Excluding items, the company earned 30 cents per share, in line with analysts estimates. The company expects the rest of the year to be easier than the first quarter as its cost cuts and marketing efforts start to bear fruit. Shares were up 3.3 percent before the bell.

Alcoa Inc. (AA) said it reached an agreement to sell its wire harness and electrical distribution business to Platinum Equity, a California-based private equity group, for undisclosed terms.

Bank of America Corp's (BAC) Ken Lewis will remain as CEO as the board is not planning to remove him after he was ousted as chairman, the Wall Street Journal reported.

McAfee Inc. (MFE) said its first-quarter net income rose to $51.8 million, or 34 cents a share late Thursday. Excluding items, McAfee earned 57 cents a share, beating estimates of 48 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters. MFE shares climbed over 6 percent in pre-market trade.

Research in Motion (RIMM) was upgraded at UBS from Neutral to Buy, and its price target raised from $65 to $90. RIMM shares gained 1.8 percent in pre-market trade.
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