Stocks in the news: Wells Fargo, Nokia, Walgreens, Novavax, UAL Corp.

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Wells Fargo (WFC) said on Tuesday that it would fold up 122 California branches due to its takeover of Wachovia last year, the Los Angeles Times reported. The closures, scheduled to occur in April, will involve shutting down 101 Wachovia offices and 21 Wells Fargo locations. All affected employees will be allowed to opt for jobs at other Wells Fargo branches.

Nokia (NOK) forecast Wednesday that global mobile phone unit sales would rise 10% in 2010, compared with a 7% drop in handset volumes in the third quarter, according to Nokia estimates. It is also predicting an improvement in the operating margin at its main division and said it would revamp its Symbian operating system. Shares declined about 1% in pre-market trading.
Roche Holding AG said Wednesday an experimental once-weekly treatment under development works better in treating a type of diabetes than Merck's (MRK) Januvia, according to a study.

Apple's (AAPL) touch-screen tablet computer may not come soon enough. Archos, an electronics company that pioneered MP3 players in the early 2000s but lost out to Apple's iPod, hopes to boost sales by beating Apple to market with its touch-screen tablet PC based on Google's (GOOG) Android technology.

Walgreens (WAG) said Wednesday that November same-store sales rose 3.9%. Total sales were $5.4 billion up 8.7% from $4,933,433,000 for the same month in 2008. Shares dropped over 3% ahead of the bell.

Hot Topic (HOTT) shares fell about 2% before the bell after it announced its same-store sales fell 11.7%.

McDonald's (MCD) late Tuesday said its chief operating officer, Ralph Alvarez, will retire due to health reasons.

Bank of America (BAC): At least two CEO candidates told directors that the giant bank should consider breaking itself up, but board members in charge of the CEO search have rejected the idea at least for now, according to people familiar with the situation, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. (JOSB) said Wednesday that third-quarter net profit rose 26% to $11.7 million, or 63 cents a share, as revenue rose 8.1% to $161.3 million with same-store sales up 3.3%. Results handily beat estimates. Shares traded nearly 2.5% higher in pre-market action.

Novavax Inc. (NVAX) said Wednesday that its swine flu vaccine prompted an immune system response in patients during a midstage study being conducted in Mexico and met study goals. Shares jumped 7.5% in pre-market trade.

General Motors's board and CEO Fritz Henderson parted ways Tuesday, the board upset that the automaker's turnaround wasn't moving more swiftly and Henderson frustrated with second-guessing, two people close to the former CEO said. Board Chairman Ed Whitacre Jr., the former head of AT&T Inc. (T), will take over as CEO while a global search is conducted.

Select analyst calls:
  • UBS upgraded RF Micro Devices Inc. (RFMD) to buy from neutral. Shares jumped 3% before the bell.
  • Credit Suisse upgraded SunTrust Banks (STI) to outperform from neutral and upped target price from $23 to $29. It also upgraded BB&T Corp (BBT) to neutral from underperform and raised the target from $28 to $31. Shares were 2.6% and 1% higher in pre-market trading.
  • Credit Suisse also upgraded KB Home (KBH) from neutral to outperform and the target from $17 to $18. Shares were over 3% higher ahead of the bell.
  • UAL Corp (UAUA) was upgraded to overweight from equal weight at Morgan Stanley. UAL said Tuesday it closed out a record-breaking November with its best on-time performance since reporting to the Department of Transportation began in October, 1987. Shares jumped 4.5% ahead of the bell.
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