Stocks in the News: Limited Brands, Sequenom, PepsiCo

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

Limited Brands (LTD) announced a special dividend of $1 a share next month. The company's board also approved a new $200 million share buyback program. Shares rose about 4.4% ahead of the bell.

Sequenom (SQNM) reported late Monday a wider fourth quarter loss of $18.4 million, or 30 cents per share, as revenue fell 11% to $10.8 million and costs rose. Analysts expected a loss of 25 cents per share on revenue of $9.1 million. Shares plunged over 20% in premarket trading.

PepsiCo (PEP) said Tuesday CFO Richard Goodman will be succeeded at the end of March by Hugh Johnston, 48, who currently works as executive vice president of PepsiCo Global Operations.

Citigroup (C) is bolstering its proprietary trading unit after a proposed government ban on banks trading stocks with their own money for profit helped spur eight of its 22 employees to defect, Bloomberg reports, citing sources.

Boston Scientific (BSX), which on Monday plunged 12.7% after the company said it plans to pull certain models of defibrillators off shelves, was cut to conviction sell from neutral by Goldman Sachs. St. Jude Medical (STJ) was taken off the conviction sell list but is still at sell, and Medtronic (MDT) is still at neutral. BSX shares dropped another 2.8% ahead of the bell.

Starbucks (SBUX) was upgraded to buy from neutral at UBS, while Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) was downgraded to underweight from neutral at Piper Jaffray. SBUX shares were 2.2% higher, while CAKE fell 2%.

ArcelorMittal (MT) says it plans to build a steel mill in Sulaimaniyah in northern Iraq with Turkey's Dayen. The companies said they are investing between $100 million and $130 million in the plant.

Yahoo (YHOO) has lost Joanne Bradford, a key executive -- senior vice president of North America revenue and market development -- charged with revamping the company's advertising efforts, to online media start-up Demand Media Inc.

Sony (SNE) and the estate of Michael Jackson have signed a landmark music deal for 10 albums over seven years, according to reports. The deal is said to be worth as much as $250 million.

American International Group (AIG) said Monday it closed a secondary public offering of Transatlantic Holdings Inc. for about $452 million. Shares rose 1.6% before the bell.

Boeing's (BA) CEO Jim McNerney's compensation fell 7.2% last year to $13.7 million after the commercial airplane maker and defense contractor posted a smaller profit than its board had been looking for, according to the AP. Similarly, Abbott Laboratories' (ABT) CEO compensation dropped 13% to $21.9 million, mainly as a result of reduced stock options.
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