Stocks in the news: Avocent, Pepsi Bottling, General Mills

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Some of the companies making headlines today:

Emerson (EMR) agreed to acquire Avocent Corporation (AVCT) for an all-cash tender offer of $25 per share, or approximately $1.2 billion. The purchase is expected to close around January 1, 2010, pending regulatory approvals and Avocent stockholders approval. AVCT shares jumped over 20 percent in pre-market trading.

Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG) reported a slightly higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Tuesday, as price increases and easing commodity costs helped offset falling sales volume. Shares were 1.3 percent higher ahead of the bell.

St Jude Medical Inc. (STJ) said on Tuesday it expects quarterly profit to miss its previous forecasts as hospitals bought fewer of its medical devices due to pressures from the economy and health reform. Shares slumped over 14 percent in pre-market trade.

Verizon Communications Inc (VZ) and Google Inc. (GOOG) also said Tuesday that they had formed a partnership to deliver mobile applications and devices. This comes a day after it announced restructuring at the top.

Yum Brands Inc (YUM) is due to report earnings today.

American International Group Inc. (AIG) is near an agreement to sell its Taiwan life insurance unit to Primus Financial Holdings Ltd., people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. UBS resumed coverage of AIG with a Neutral rating. Shares were 2.7 percent higher in pre-market.

Boeing Co. (BA) said Tuesday it would take a charge of $1 billion in the third quarter because of higher production costs and tough market conditions for its 747-8 program. It also said it delivered 113 commercial jets in the third quarter, up from 84 in the same period last year. Shares fell 1.5 percent ahead of the bell.

Marshall & Ilsley (MI) said on Tuesday that it expects to report a loss for its third quarter.

Analyst calls:

  • General Mills (GIS) was upgraded to Overweight from Equal-Weight by Morgan Stanley and raised its price target to $72 from $64.
  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) may go shopping again despite its recent absence from the technology sector's M&A scene, analysts said, and Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (BRCD) may be a prime target.
  • Family Dollar Stores Inc. (FDO) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform by BMO Capital Markets.
  • J.P. Morgan initiated Allergan Inc. (AGN) at Neutral on Tuesday, with a price target of $60.

Mosaic (MOS) said Monday its fiscal first-quarter profit fell nearly 92 percent, hurt by lower market selling prices for its some of its products. Shares were 2 percent higher before the bell as it expressed optimism that farmers would increase fertiliser purchases in the near future.

The Walt Disney Co (DIS) and Universal studios unveiled management changes on Monday, as Hollywood's worst-performing major houses try to turn things around in a potentially record year at the box office.

Goldman Sachs (GS) said on Monday it is in talks to amend the terms of a $3 billion loan to CIT Group Inc (CIT), the Wall Street Journal reported.

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