Stocks in the News: Barnes & Noble, Dow Chemical, Hershey

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

Barnes & Noble Inc. (BKS) shares jumped more than 22% in premarket trading after billionaire Ron Burkle said Monday that his Yucaipa investment funds bought 19% of Barnes & Noble shares because they are undervalued and suggested he wants to own more than a third of the book retailer and criticized investment restrictions set up by the company.UPS (UPS) fourth quarter profit nearly tripled as a result of a strong holiday shipping season and solid international business. UPS earned $254 million or 75 cents a share, on a 2% lower revenue of $12.38 billion. Analysts expected an adjusted profit of 74 cents a share on revenue of $12.25 billion. Shares rose over 1.5% before the bell.

Dow Chemical (DOW) reported higher earnings of $172 million, or 8 cents per share, as volume doubled in emerging markets. Excluding items, Dow earned 18 cents a share, beating estimates of 11 cents a share. Reported sales in the quarter increased 15%, to $12.5 billion. Shares fell 3.3% ahead of the bell.

BP PLC (BP) on Tuesday reported a net profit of $4.3 billion for the fourth quarter, up from a year-ago loss of $3.3 billion. But earnings were below the $5.3 billion it earned in the fourth quarter and fell short of analysts' estimates due to weak earnings on refining. Shares dropped 5% in premarket trading

Hershey (HSY) reported a 54% increase in fourth-quarter profit resulting from price increases and lower charges as it continued to push its brands to cost-conscious consumers and gain market share. Hershey earned 63 cents per share, excluding items, on sales of $1.41 billion. Analysts expected a profit of 60 cents per share on revenue of $1.42 billion.

Whirlpool Corp. (WHR) reported Tuesday it more than doubled fourth quarter profit to $95 million, or $1.24 per share, as revenue rose 12.7% to $4.86 billion and on cost-cutting measures. Results beat estimates of $1.32 per-share on $4.44 billion in revenue. Whirlpool also guided 2010 expectations and said it is starting to see signs of business improving in North America. Shares climbed 2.8% ahead of the bell.

Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (BK) says it is acquiring the global investment servicing business of PNC Financial Services Group Inc. for $2.31 billion in cash.

Kraft Foods (KFT) is set to receive enough acceptances from Cadbury (CBY) shareholders to seal its $18.6 billion takeover by around noon Eastern Tuesday and will start the tough integration of Cadbury's 45,000 worldwide employees.

Citigroup Inc. (C) said Tuesday it will open four retail branches in Japan this year, marking its first expansion there since selling several of its Japanese finance businesses in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Toyota (TM) is trying to fix the gas pedal problem that led to the recall of nearly 4.6 million vehicles. But its own executives believe the fix has not come soon enough to prevent a consumer backlash and they fear the damage may be greater than previous problems because of the massive scale.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) -- rumors are floating around the blogosphere that Apple has another tablet in the works.

Google (GOOG) -- the blogosphere also brings pictures of a Google tablet concept.

Earnings in brief:
  • Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) reported lower profit as sales slipped 5%. Shares rose about 1%.
  • D.R. Horton Inc. (DHI) swung to a profit in the recent quarter that included a tax benefit. Home-building revenue rose 23% quarter-over-quarter. Shares jumped nearly 8%.
  • Pepsi Bottling Group Inc. (PBG), which agreed to sell itself to PepsiCo Inc. (PEP), swung to a fourth-quarter profit that didn't meet analysts' forecasts.
  • Lexmark International Group Inc. (LXK) reported a higher net income that also beat estimates. Shares rallied 11% ahead of the bell.
  • Emerson Electric Co (EMR) reported better-than-expected earnings on Tuesday, citing strength in emerging markets. Shares soared over 7% in premarket trade.
  • AnnTaylor Stores (ANN) shares soared about 10% after it said it will raised its fourth quarter outlook.
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