Stocks in the news: Best Buy, Citigroup, Bank of America

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Some of the companies making headlines today:

Best Buy (BBY) reported second-quarter results today, saying profit dropped to $158 million, or 37 cents a share as revenue rose to $11 billion from $9.8 billion, missing earnings estimates, but beating revenue ones. Best Buy also raised the bottom end of its full-year profit forecast.

Citigroup (C) is trying to cut the U.S. government's 34 percent stake, the Wall Street Journal reported. Top Citigroup executives have been devising plans for a possible multibillion-dollar stock offering, while the Treasury Department would sell at least a portion of its Citigroup holdings. Citi shares fell about 1 percent ahead of the bell.

Bank of America (BAC) -- A judge rejected Monday the $33 million settlement BofA had with the SEC aiming to resolved the SEC's claim that the bank deceived investors in November about bonuses to be paid executives at Merrill Lynch. The judge called the settlement a "contrivance." The SEC is left with few options in its lawsuit against BofA.

Microsoft (MSFT) is introducing a new version of its Zune music player in an effort to make a dent into Apple (AAPL)'s dominance of the sector through its iPod devices. Meanwhile, Apple also said Monday that Bruce Sewell formerly of Intel Corp. (INTC) will replace Daniel Cooperman as general counsel and senior vice president of legal and government affairs at Apple. At Intel, the company unveiled a broad management shake-up that sets up a race for the next CEO, with sales chief Sean Maloney viewed as the front-runner.

Kraft Foods (KFT) plans to hold talks in the coming weeks with British bid target Cadbury (CBY) that may lead to a new bid offer for the second biggest global candy and chocolate maker. Kraft might sell assets like Maxwell House and Oscar Mayer to finance the planned acquisition, the New York Post reported.

Kroger (KR) is also due to report results this morning (update: Kroger cuts guidance as 2Q profit falls 8 pct -- shares fell over 5 percent), Adobe Systems (ADBE) is scheduled to report after the close.

Elan (ELN) late Monday said it's revised its deal with Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), accepting $115 million less cash, after a judge ruled that it couldn't transfer first refusal rights on a possible sale by Biogen Idec (BIIB) of a venture. Meanwhile, the Biogen-Elan venture reported two more cases of a rare brain infection associated with multiple-sclerosis drug Tysabri.

Novartis (NVS) said on Tuesday that results from Phase III trials of its bronchodilator for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease showed significant improvement of lung function.

Home Depot Inc. (HD) and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. (MSO) will develop an exclusive line of Martha Stewart home-improvement products. MSO shares jumped nearly 9 percent ahead of the bell.

Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ) unveiled several new products for the important fall season, including thin and light laptop PCs and an eye-catching new netbook.

Select analyst calls:
  • UBS upgraded eBay Inc. (EBAY) to Buy from Neutral. Shares were 3.7 percent higher in pre-market.
  • Cardinal Health (CAH) was upped to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs. Shares were 3.6 percent higher in pre-market.
  • J.P. Morgan Chase initiated coverage on Netflix (NFLX) with an Overweight rating and a December 2010 price target of $53. Shares were 2 percent higher in pre-market.
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