Stocks in the news: Cisco Systems, Comcast, News Corp., AIG

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The following post rounds up the companies making headlines today:

Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) reported quarterly results late Wednesday, posting a 46 percent drop in earnings to $1.1 billion, or 19 cents per share, but adjust earnings were 31 cents per share, beating analyst expectations for earnings of 29 cents per share. Still, company said the quarter may have been the bottom of the recession-related downturn.

Comcast (CMCSA) reported Thursday that second-quarter profit rose 53 percent to $967 million, or 33 cents a share, beating estiamtes, as costs decreased and demand for its video, broadband and telephone services increased during the traditionally challenging three-month June period. Revenue rose 4.5 percent, but fell short of expectations. Shares gained over 3 percent in pre-market trade.
News Corp. (NWS) says its fourth-quarter net loss hit $203 million due to huge impairment charges at MySpace, while its operating profit for the year was slightly worse than it predicted due to the weak economy. Revenue was inline with estimates. Meanwhile, Murdoch said he plans to charge for all news websites by next summer. Shares declined 1.8 percent ahead of the bell.

Unilever (UN/UL) reported a 17 percent fall in profit in the second quarter as it cut prices in Europe to keep market share, but it also reported growing volumes for the second quarter. Shares popped over 7 percent before the bell.

American International Group (AIG) continued its rally in pre-market trading Thursday, rising about 20 percent after more than a 60 percent jump on Wednesday. The reason, some speculate, may be short covering or expected better results from the insurer tomorrow.

Bank of America (BAC) -- A judge has ordered a hearing on a $33 million proposed settlement between the SEC and BofA over executive bonuses.

Retail sales (to mention a few):
  • Costco (COST) posted a bigger-than-expected 7 percent fall hurt mainly by a strong U.S. dollar. Analysts, on average, were expecting a fall of 6.7 percent in July same-store sales, according to Thomson Reuters.
  • Gap Inc. (GPS) posted an 8 percent drop in same-store sales for July and gave higher Q2 EPS guidance. Shares jumped over 4 percent ahead of the bell.
  • Kohl's Corp. (KSS) July same-store sales increased 0.4 percent, better than the 3.2 percent decline analysts had estimated. It also raised its Q2 earnings forecast. Shares were up 2 percent.
  • Target Corp. (TGT) July same-store sales fell by 6.5 percent, worse than analyst estimates.
  • J. C. Penney Company Inc. (JCP) July same-store sales fell 12.3 percent, more than the 11.4 percent drop analysts had expected. It raised its Q2 view however. Shares gained 3.8 percent.
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