Stocks in the News: Alcoa, Palm, UBS

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

Alcoa Inc. (AA) is the first of the Dow Industrial's 30 companies to report results Monday after the close, unofficially kicking off earnings season. Analysts are not expecting much of the aluminum giant, which was hit with some downgrades last week ahead of the quarterly results.

Palm (PALM) shares are up about 10% in premarket trading Monday morning, following reports it may have put itself up for sale. Bloomberg reported it hired Goldman Sachs and Qatalyst Partners to help it find a buyer. Many have agreed this is the only way out for the struggling smart phone maker. Among potential bidders are HTC of Taiwan. Shares already soared over 30% last week as the rumors of a takeover began.

MasterCard (MA) named its chief operating officer Ajay Banga as successor to Robert W. Selander and will become CEO in July.

UBS AG (UBS) said Monday it expects to announce a pretax profit of at least 2.5 billion Swiss francs (US$2.36 billion) when it releases its first-quarter results next month. This would be the second quarterly profit in a row for the Swiss bank. Shares jumped over 4.5% before the bell.

Mirant Corp. (MIR) agreed to take over rival RRI Energy (PRI) in an all-stock deal to create GenOn Energy, one of the largest U.S. independent power producers with a $3.1 billion market cap. MIR shares jumped over 14%.

DynCorp International Inc. (DCP) said Monday it has agreed to be acquired by private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management L.P. in a $1.5 billion deal. Cerberus will pay $17.55 a share in cash for the military contractor, a 49% premium over DynCorp's closing price of $11.75 a share on Friday. Shares soared more than 48% in premarket trading.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s (WMT) Asda unit was rumored to be interested in British Home Retail.

Boots & Coots (WEL) soared over 22% in premarket trade after Halliburton (HAL) said it will buy the firm for $3 a share, or $1.73 in cash and the rest in Halliburton stock.

Sunoco Inc.'s (SUN) issuer default rating was downgraded to BBB- from BBB by Fitch Ratings. The ratings agency also revised its outlook to stable from negative for Sunoco.

Also reporting this week are Intel (INTC), Google (GOOG), J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) and Bank of America (BAC).

Texas Instruments (TXN) shares are up over 3% ahead of the bell on an upgrade from Credit Suisse.

Other upgrades include Best Buy (BBY) by FBR Capital Markets, Caterpillar (CAT) by Robert W. Baird, Continental Air (CAL) by Stifel Nicolaus, Expedia (EXPE) by Piper Jaffray, Heinz (HNZ) by Deutsche Bank, Parker Hannifin (PH) by Robert W. Baird and St. Jude Medical (STJ) by Jefferies & Co. to name but a few.
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