Stocks in the News: Aetna, Beazer Homes, Tyson Foods

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

Aetna (AET) said Friday its fourth-quarter profit fell 15% to $165.9 million, or 38 cents per share, as it continued to struggle with pricing problems and rising medical costs that plagued it in previous quarters. Excluding one-time items, it earned 40 cents per share. Revenue rose 13% to $8.76 billion. Earnings were 2 pennies short of estimates, but revenue topped expectations.Air Products and Chemicals Inc. (APD) said Friday that it made an unsolicited cash bid of about $5.1 billion, or $60 a share, for Airgas Inc. (ARG) and is willing to make a hostile offer if necessary. The offer represents a 38% premium to Airgas' Thursday closing price and would create one of the biggest industrial gas companies in the world. ARG shares soared over 41% in premarket trading.

Beazer Homes USA Inc. (BZH) posted a $48 million profit, or $1.09 per share, in its fiscal first quarter thanks to a $101 million tax gain. The tax benefit in the latest quarter equated to $2.24 a share. Revenue was flat, but beat estimates. Without accounting for the tax gain, analysts were expecting a loss of 90 cents a share. Shares dropped nearly 2% ahead of the bell.

Weyerhaeuser Co (WY) posted a smaller fourth quarter loss, which missed expectations, hurt by a weak housing market in the United States.

Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN) reported fiscal first quarter earnings of 42 cents per share, beating estimates of 18 cents per share. Revenue came in slightly higher at $6.63 billion, better than the $6.58 billion estimates. Shares jumped 3.7% in premarket trade.

Ford Motor Co. (F) said late Thursday that it will fix the brakes of the 17,600 hybrid vehicles that could potentially have brake problems. Shares fell over 1% ahead of the bell.

Toyota (TM) said Friday it was looking into the brakes of its latest Lexus hybrid vehicles because they use the same system as the 2010 Prius. Shares were more than 1% higher in premarket trading.

Deutsche Telekom (DT) may spin off its American wireless phone unit T-Mobile USA, according to reports in The Wall Street Journal late Thursday. Shares rose some 1.3% before the bell.

Sunoco Inc. (SUN) reported late Thursday profit fell more than 70% during the fourth quarter. Adjusted earnings fell to a loss of 27 cents a share. Revenue improved 3.8% to $8.97 billion. Analysts had expected earnings of 26 cents and revenue of $8.31 billion, according to Thomson Reuters. Shares fell 2% in premarket trade.

Select analyst calls:
  • Deutsche Bank upgraded Archers-Daniels Midland (ADM) from hold to buy.
  • Citigroup upgraded The Gap (GPS) from hold to buy.
  • Barclays Capital upgraded Motorola (MOT) from equal weight to overweight.
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