Stocks in the news: U.S. Steel, BP, Valero Energy, Palm

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U.S. Steel Corp. (X) continued to suffer from the global economic downturn and the soft demand for metals as it posted third straight quarter loss. But it said its production and shipments rose significantly from the previous quarter, and that it expects a narrower loss in the current quarter. The company topped estimates on both top and bottom lines.

BP PLC (BP) reported a 34 percent fall in third-quarter profit to $5.3 billion as oil and gas prices fell from record levels a year earlier. The results handily beat Street estimates. Shares jumped 4.7 percent ahead of the bell.
Valero Energy Corp. (VLO), for a change, reported a deeper-than-expected quarterly loss on Tuesday as the economic slump affected fuel demand and weighed on the results of the largest U.S. refiner as revenue fell 46 percent. Valero posted a net loss of $489 million, or 87 cents per share. Excluding items, it lost 39 cents per share, missing analysts' average forecast for a loss of 33 cents per share, according to Reuters I/B/E/S. Shares fell about 2 percent.

Palm Inc. (PALM) was downgraded at BMO Capital Markets to Underperform from Market Perform. The brokerage believes phones running Google's (GOOG) Android operating system will capture more market share, pushing Palm's OS to fourth place behind Apple (AAPL), Research In Motion (RIMM) and Google. It added that it believes Palm will also miss its revenue guidance for fiscal 2010. Shares fell 2.3 percent in premarket.

Textron Inc. (TXT) said Tuesday its third-quarter profit fell 98 percent to $4 million, or a penny a share, as Cessna business-jet deliveries plunged. Revenue fell 27 percent to $2.5 billion. Excluding items, Textron earned 12 cents a share, beating estimates for a loss of 2 cents a share. Shares gained about 2.4 percent before the bell.

TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (AMTD) said Tuesday its profit fell in the third quarter to $156.7 million, or 26 cents a share, while net revenues increased 1.3 percent to $657.9 million. Results beat estimates.

PepsiCo (PEP) -- The European Union on Tuesday approved the proposed takeover by Pepsi of its two top bottling companies PepsiAmericas (PAS) and Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG) for $7.8 billion.

Cisco (CSCO) said Tuesday that it plans to buy closely-held web-security firm ScanSafe Inc. for $183 million in cash and retention-based incentives.

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