Stocks in the News: BP, AIG-Prudential, Ryanair

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

BP Plc (BP) fell the most in 18 years in London, plunging as much as 15% to 420 pence, after abandoning an attempt to plug a leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. Over the weekend, BP said the "top kill" attempt to plug the leak using heavy fluids and debris had failed. BP is preparing another method to stop the oil but it's possible oil will continue to gush out until BP completes relief drilling in August, Bloomberg reported. BP also said costs for the spill have reached $990 million. BP stock has dropped 14% in premarket trading.

AIG (AIG) said Tuesday it won't accept a lower offer for its Asian insurance business from Prudential (PUK), which proposed a $5 billion cut to the offer to to $30.375 billion in an effort to calm rebellious shareholders who thought the price was too high. AIG shares fell over 3%, but PUK shares jumped over 8% ahead of the bell.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) said Monday that iPad sales have topped 2 million since its launch on April 3. Apple began selling the iPad on Friday in Asia and Europe.

Ryanair (RYAAY) announced Tuesday it returned to robust full-year profits of €305.3 million ($375.7 million) and unveiled its first-ever cash dividend to shareholders of euro0.34 per share, in October. RYAAY shares were over 4% higher in premarket trade.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) said is cutting 9,000 jobs and will record $1 billion in charges over multiyear period. Of the 9,000 jobs cut, HP aims to replace about 6,000 of those positions for a net cut of 3,000 jobs.

Covidien (COV) said it's buying ev3 Inc. (EVVV) for $2.6 billion, or $22.50 a share, net of cash that ev3 holds. Covidien expects this transaction to dilute fiscal 2010 earnings per share by 5 to 8 cents. Separately, Covidien said it's selling its sleep therapy product line to privately held PH Invest for an undisclosed price.

Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) Centocor Ortho Biotech unit said Tuesday it bought RespiVert Ltd., a company developing treatments for asthma and other lung diseases, for an undisclosed amount. Shares were nearly 1% lower before the bell.

AT&T (T) said Tuesday that it would sell a portion of its Japanese operations to Internet Initiative Japan Inc. for $100 million.

Unilever's (UL, UN) planned acquisition of the body and laundry care businesses of Sara Lee Corp. (SLE) is under investigation by the European Commission because of potential competition concerns on several product markets including deodorants, skin cleansing and fabric care.

AstraZeneca PLC (AZN) was dealt a setback as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has asked for more information about a new drug for ulcers and a proposed new use for its best-selling ulcer treatment Nexium, instead of approving them as the company had hoped for. AstraZeneca says it will discuss its next steps with the FDA. Shares declined 1.3% in premarket.
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