Stocks in the News: Deere, Whole Foods, Campbell Soup

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

Deere & Co (DE) announced stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings on Wednesday. The tractor maker reported 19% higher profit of $243.2 million, or 57 cents a share, as cost cuts and strength at its in-house finance arm overcame global economic conditions that had revenue falling 6% to $4.84 billion. Results beat analyst estimates of a profit of 19 cents a share on sales of $4.12 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Deere also lifted its forecast for the year. Shares jumped over 7% in premarket trading.Whole Foods Market (WFMI) reported late Tuesday strong sales growth of 7% that sent its first-quarter profit up nearly 79%. The organic food retailer also raised its outlook for the year. Both top and bottom lines exceeded Wall Street expectations as smart pricing and product offerings helped boost results. Shares soared over 8% ahead of the bell.

Campbell Soup (CPB) on Wednesday cut its guidance for 2010 sales growth to a range of 2.5% to 3.5% from a range of 4% to 5%. Shares fell 1.8% in premarket trade.

Walgreen Co. (WAG) is buying New York-area drugstore operator Duane Reade for $1.075 billion.

Toyota (TM) can't seem to catch a break. After receiving complaints about power-steering problems, the giant automaker -- recently turned recall central -- is now considering a recall of its widely popular Corolla.

BNP Paribas (BNPQY) posted its fourth straight quarterly profit on Wednesday. Still, the French bank said earnings are still below pre-crisis levels.

ING Groep NV (ING) reduced its losses for the fourth quarter on Wednesday. The European insurer's results were affected by a mixed operating performance and a big charge related to an earlier bailout. Shares traded 3.7% higher in premarket.

Citigroup (C) -- Bloomberg reports that hedge funds run by John Paulson, Eric Mindich and George Soros purchased almost half a billion shares in Citigroup last quarter as more than 120 hedge funds said they bought stock in the bank. Shares advanced 2.2% ahead of the bell.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) is launching Wednesday a beta release of Outlook Social Connector, where it would pull information from popular social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace into the desktop email application.
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