Stocks in the news: Campbell Soup, Morgan Stanley, AIG, National Semi

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Some of the companies making headlines today:

Campbell Soup (CPB) is reporting fourth-quarter earnings, with analysts expecting the company to report earnings per share of 26 cents, in line with last year. Update: Campbell reported that adjusted net earnings rose 11 percent to $107 million compared with $96 million in the prior year's quarter,and adjusted net earnings per share grew by 15 percent to 30 cents in the current quarter (negatively impacted by currency exchange by 2 cents) compared with 26 cents in the year-ago quarter.

Morgan Stanley (MS) CEO John Mack is stepping down and will be replaced by retail brokerage head James Gorman. Mack has struggled to return Morgan Stanley to profitability as the firm has lost money since the third quarter of 2008 and reined in trading even as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) earnings hit an all-time high.

National Semiconductor (NSM) reported a 63 percent drop in profit as revenue fell 32 percent in the quarter. The results beat estimates and NSM also said current quarter sales may rise 3 to 8 percent sequentially. Shares declined about 1.5 percent in pre-market trading.

American International Group (AIG) was downgraded at Wells Fargo Securities with the analyst saying AIG has virtually no tangible book value at the moment and that its shares are over priced. Despite this strong statement, he only downgraded it to Underperform. Meanwhile, federal prosecutors are preparing to impanel a grand jury in Brooklyn, N.Y., to consider an indictment of the former head of AIG Financial Products unit, Joseph Cassano, the Wall Street Journal reports. Shares fell about 3 percent before the bell.

Abbott Laboratories (ABT) said it's buying the 90 percent of Evalve it doesn't already own for at least $320 million in cash.

Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) said new data showed that patients with chronic low back pain on Cymbalta maintained reductions in pain for 41 weeks.

Magna International (MGA) promised on Friday to ringfence its Opel operations once it takes control of it. GM's board has agreed to sell a 55 percent stake in Opel to Magna and its Russian partner Sberbank in a deal that is supposed to close by the end of November.

Delta Air Lines (DAL) is in talks to invest in struggling Japan Airlines Corp and become its top shareholder, Japanese media said on Friday.

Wynn Resorts (WYNN) plans to raise up to $1 billion by listing its Macau assets on the Hong Kong stock exchange, Reuters reported.

Motorola Inc. (MOT) unveiled a new smartphone Thursday that the company hopes will lead its turnaround effort. Shares gained 1.7 percent ahead of the bell.

Notable analyst calls:

  • Bank of America-Merrill Lynch upgraded Garmin Ltd. (GRMN) to Buy from Underperform and lifted their price target on the stock to $45 from $30. Shares jumped 5 percent in pre-market trade.
  • J.P. Morgan on Friday downgraded RealNetworks Inc. (RNWK) to Underweight from Neutral. Shares dropped 3.8 percent.
  • Goldman Sachs raised Progressive Corp (PGR) to Buy from Sell, citing expectations of better than expected earnings and pricing increases, but cut Allstate Corp (ALL) to Sell from Neutral. PGR jumped over 5 percent in pre-market trade, ALL fell 3.5 percent.
  • Oppenheimer downgraded Best Buy (BBY) from Outperform to Perform. Shares declined over 1 percent.
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