Stocks in the news: General Motors, Prudential Financial, J.C. Penney

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The following post rounds up the companies making headlines today:

General Motors (GM) is near a deal to cut its hourly labor costs by more than $1 billion a year and reduce its $20 billion pledge to cover health-care obligations, according to the Wall Street Journal. It also sent out termination notices to 1,100 U.S. dealers as the automaker starts shrinking its retail network.

Prudential Financial Inc. (PRU), Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (HIG), Allstate Corp. (ALL), Principal Financial Group Inc. (PFG), Ameriprise Financial Inc. (AMP) and Lincoln National Corp. (LNC) are six insurers cleared to access U.S. aid through TARP funds as the government moves to shore up an industry battered by investment losses. Shares jumped in pre-market trade -- PRU: 7 percent, HIG: 15 percent, ALL: 2.6 percent, PFG: 6.5 percent, LNC: 12.6 percent.

Earnings:

  • J.C. Penney (JCP) posted a lower quarterly profit as efforts to contain costs and trim inventory failed to overcome a decline in sales. Shares fell 5 percent before markets opened.
  • Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) reported a first-quarter loss as consumer spending slowed. The shares dropped 7.5 percent ahead of the bell as loss per share was more than double the estimates.
  • Nordstrom (JWN) beat estimates and upped its annual earnings outlook when it reported late Thursday.
  • Blockbuster Inc. (BBI) beat earnings estimates and reiterated 2009 forecast when it reported late Thursday. Shares sank 25 percent before the bell.
  • Agilent Technologies (A) reported inline fiscal second-quarter adjusted income when it reported late Thursday. Shares declined over 3 percent in pre-market trade.

Barclays (BCS) is in talks to sell its entire management arm, Barclays Global Investors division, and not just the iShares division. BlackRock (BLK) and the Bank of New York Mellon(BK) are potential bidders, according to reports.

Nike Inc. (NKE) said Thursday that it will cut about 1,750 jobs worldwide, or 5 percent of its global work force. About 500 of the jobs lost will be at Nike's world headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.

Bank of America (BAC) was urged by federal officials to revamp its board by bringing in directors with more banking experience. Meanwhile, Temasek Holdings Pte sold its 3.8 percent stake in BAC at a loss that may total $4.6 billion. The sale may have raised about $1.27 billion.

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