Stocks in the News: Apple, Toyota, Yahoo, Berkshire Hathaway

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The following is a round-up of news likely to affect stock prices today:

Apple (AAPL) plans to unveil a new gadget Wednesday that many believe will be a tablet-style computer -- a one-piece computer with a big touch screen, probably larger than an iPhone but smaller than a laptop. While Apple has managed to keep most details under wraps, rumors have circulated widely. Not only that, but McGraw-Hill (MHP) CEO confirmed the device in a CNBC interview, saying "it's just going to be terrific." AAPL shares were up 1% ahead of the bell.Toyota (TM) on Tuesday reported that as part of the 2.3 million vehicles recall announced last week, it was suspending U.S. sales of eight recalled vehicle models and halting production at five manufacturing facilities for the week of Feb. 1. TM shares were down 3.2% in premarket trade.

Verizon (VZ), which reported a quarterly loss late Tuesday, announced it would cut 13,000 jobs this year as it it is facing a slower-than-expected economic recovery.

Reporting Wednesday: ConocoPhillips (COP) -- expected earnings per share of $1.13; Abbott (ABT) -- earnings are expected to have risen by 11 cents per share to $1.17, among others.

Yahoo (YHOO) swung to a profit in the fourth quarter, topping analyst estimates. Its outlook for the current period lifted Yahoo shares in late trading. Shares jumped nearly 4% ahead of the bell.

WellPoint (WLP) reported Wednesday its fourth-quarter profit soared largely due to a one-time gain from the sale of its NextRx subsidiary, though revenue fell on a dip in fully insured customers. Adjusted earnings were $1.16 per share on operating revenue of $15.06 billion, which was down 2.4%. Analysts forecast a profit of $1.02 per share, on $15.13 billion in revenue. Shares were 1.6% higher in premarket trade.

Tyco Electronics (TEL) posted a larger-than-expected jump in quarterly profit on Wednesday, as its clients ramped up purchases to restock depleted inventories. Shares soared 6.6% before the bell.

Spanish banking giant BBVA (BBVA) reported a 94% drop in fourth quarter profit as it had to increase provisions for bad loans. Shares fell over 5%.

Oracle (ORCL), which is near to closing its $7 billion acquisition of computer maker Sun Microsystems (JAVA), plans to hire 2,000 sales and engineering employees, the Wall Street Journal said on Tuesday. Oracle plans to unveil its strategy for Sun on Wednesday.

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) shares rose 8.8% ahead of the open as Standard & Poor's announced Tuesday the stock will be added to the S&P 500, replacing Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNI), at a date to be announced.

Gilead Sciences (GILD) reported a rise in quarterly profits on higher sales from its HIV drugs and royalties on sales of the flu drug Tamiflu. Shares rallied over 6% in premarket trade.

Earnings in brief:
  • Caterpillar (CAT) beat earnings expectations even though profit and sales were dragged down by the economy. Caterpillar gave an upbeat outlook for 2010. Shares fell nearly 3%.
  • Boeing (BA) reported higher profit and revenue that beat Wall Street estimates, but gave cautious outlook for 2010. Shares climbed over 1.5%.
  • United Technologies (UTX) reported a lower fourth-quarter profit, weighed down by lower revenue and restructuring costs. Results were inline with estimates.
  • General Dynamics (GD) reported flat earnings and revenue and guided 2010 below analyst expectations.
Bunge Ltd. (BG) announced it is selling its fertilizer nutrients assets in Brazil to Vale S.A. (VALE) for $3.8 billion.

Select analyst calls: Amazon (AMZN) was upgraded to buy from hold at Kaufman, Best Buy (BBY) was upgraded from neutral to buy at Rochdale, and U.S. Steel (X) was downgraded from buy to hold at Citigroup.
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