Stocks in the News: Massey Energy, Peabody, AT&T

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

A blast shookMassey Energy Co.'s (MEE) Upper Big Branch coal mine in W.VA on Monday afternoon, killing 25. The search for four more workers had to stop due to ventilation problems and may not be able to start again until Tuesday evening. Massey subsidiary Performance Coal Co. has a history of violations for not properly ventilating highly combustible methane gas, safety officials said, which could have been the cause of the blast, although it is not yet confirmed. Shares dropped over 6% in premarket trading.

Australian Macarthur Coal Ltd. (MACDF) on Tuesday was considering a sweetened takeover bid by U.S.-based Peabody Energy (BTU) of $3.3 billion, or 14 Australian dollars ($12.91) per share, that would put an end to its own efforts to consolidate Australia's coal industry. Macarthur last month rejected a bid of 13 Australia dollars per share from Peabody. A key clause requires that Macarthur drop its own bid to purchase Gloucester Coal Ltd. (GCRLF).

AT&T Inc. (T) continues to shift its business from voice communication to data and video, and is planning to spend $1 billion this year to broaden its network, enhance services for large businesses and expand its offerings for small businesses in the U.S.

Total SA (TOT) faces corruption charges after a Paris judge has filed preliminary bribery charges, among others, against it in a corruption case linked to its role in the U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq. Although Total insists it abided by the rules, investigators suspect it paid off millions of dollars to obtain entry to countries like Iraq, which were under a U.N. embargo.

Alcoa Inc. (AA) said Monday it expects to record about $260 million in first-quarter charges related to changes in the health care law and the permanent closure of two smelters.

Kraft Inc. (KFT) is expected to face strong criticism Tuesday when a cross-party committee of British lawmakers publishes a report accusing the company of acting "irresponsibly and unwisely" during its £11.5 billion ($17.5 billion) takeover of Cadbury.

AMR Corp. (AMR) said March traffic at American Airlines rose 2.5% to 10.58 billion paying passenger miles. Rival U.S. Airways Group Inc. (LCC) said March traffic declined 0.1% to 4.91 billion paying passenger miles.

Phillips-Van Heusen Corp. (PVH) said the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission ended the antitrust waiting period on the company's acquisition of Tommy Hilfiger early.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) is set to announce its long-awaited "Project Pink" phones early next week -- April 8.

Toyota Motor Corp. (TM) may be penalized up to $16.4 million for not notifying U.S. regulators of a "sticky pedal" problem for at least four months, according to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Credit Suisse downgraded KB Home (KBH) from outperform to neutral and Pulte Homes (PHM) from neutral to underperform. KBH shares fell 1.5% and PHM shares dropped over 2% ahead of the bell.
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