Stocks in the News: Shell, Apple, Guess

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

Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDS.A) says it has agreed to buy East Resources Inc., a major owner of shale gas holdings in the U.S., for $4.7 billion in cash from East Resources itself, from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., and from Jefferies & Company.

Prudential PLC (PUK) said Friday it is talking with AIG (AIG) about the terms for the proposed $35.5 billion sale of AIG's Asian unit, AIA, a deal which faces strong resistance from Prudential shareholders. Prudential is seeking a lower price.

Apple (AAPL) has done it again. Shoppers were queuing up in front of Apple's flagship store in Regent Street in central London in hopes of getting the iPad.

Ford (F), according to AP sources, is considering the fate of its Mercury brand. Ford is assessing the future of Mercury, although a final decision on whether to kill the brand hasn't yet been made, a person familiar with the matter told the AP.

Goldman Sachs (GS) is seeking to have the fraud charge reduced as part of a settlement with the SEC over its is business practices, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Novell Inc. (NOVL) said Thursday its fiscal second-quarter profit climbed, helped by lower operating costs even as revenue declined 5% to $204 million. Excluding items, Novell earned 7 cents per share, inline with estimates. The company also issued as weak sales outlook.

BP PLC (BP) reported Thursday that it has slowed the flow of oil gushing from its broken well in the Gulf of Mexico. It also said Friday that it may take a further 24 to 48 hours to complete the "top kill" procedure and determine whether it's successful.BP said the cost of the response to date is around $930 million.

Toys "R" Us said Friday that it has filed for a proposed initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Guess (GES) shares, after closing Thursday over 7% higher, plunged 7% in after-hours after it reported first quarter financial results. Guess beat analyst estimates, posting profit that more than doubled as sales grew 22%, but issued a disappointing guidance.

J. Crew Group (JCG) said its fiscal first-quarter profit more than doubled as stronger full-price selling and expansion into online denim and standalone bridal shops helped push net sales up 20%. Same-store sales rose 15%. The company raised its full-year guidance.

Viacom (VIA) has promoted Chief Financial Officer Thomas E. Dooley to the newly-created position of Chief Operating Officer.

Lowe's Companies (LOW) has declared a 22% increase in its quarterly cash dividend to 11 cents, payable August 4, 2010, to shareholders of record as of July 21, 2010.
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