Stocks in the news: C, BAC, PALM, AAPL, YHOO, GM, XOM, GE, WMT...

U.S. stock futures pointed to a strong start Monday morning as reports the U.S. government could increase its stake in Citigroup and After NABE released a survey projecting a modest pickup in the second half of 2009, followed by a solid recovery in 2010. Before the bell: Stocks to start higher on Citi news, economic report

Citigroup (C) -- The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times reported the bank is negotiating with government officials to have the U.S. to boost its stake to as much as 40 percent by converting its preferred shares into common shares. It seems the government would rather hold closer to 25 percent though. C shares jumped over 6% in pre-market trade. C shares are trading about 7% higher an hour after the open.

Bank of America (BAC), on the heel of the Citi news, was also stronger. CEO Lewis wrote a memo to employees the past weekend, saying that the bank doesn't need anymore assistance now, or in the future. BAC shares soared over 6.5% in pre-market trade. BAC shares are trading 9.5% higher an hour into the open.

Reporting today are Campbell Soup (CPB) before the bell and Norstrom (JWN) after the close.
CPB posted lower quarterly profit, but earnings beat analysts' estimates as gross margins improved from the previous quarter. CPB shares are jumping over 3.5% in pre-market trading. CPB shares reversed course and are trading 1% lower an hour into the open.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) -- just as investors got used to the idea of Apple without Steve Jobs, they were told he would be absent from the annual meeting Feb 25 -- his first absence since he reclaimed leadership of the company more than a decade ago. This flared concerns over his health and possible return, but so far shares are actually indicating higher in pre-market trade. AAPL shares also reversed course and are trading about 3% an hour after the open.

Yahoo (YHOO) has reportedly distributed a memo from new CEO Carol bartz to employees that hints at a reorganization plan announcement this week. AllThingsD said the reorganization could be announced Wednesday.

General Motors (GM) and Chrysler may be able to get the $40 billion loans soon if they need them as advisers to the U.S. Treasury have taken steps to arrange them. The Obama administration asked for more analysis first though. GM shares are soaring over 10% in premarket trade. GM shares tamed their earlier gains, trading about 3% hour about an hour after the open.

Exxon Mobil (XOM) was upgraded to a Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank. XOM shares are gaining about 1% an hour into the open.
Palm (PALM) was also upgraded to a Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank and the price target raised from $6 to $10. Shares are surging over 6% in premarket trade. PALM shares are gaining over 4% about hour after the open.
Motorola (MOT) was upgraded at Credit Suisse from Underperform to Neutral. The analyst said he believes losses in the cell phone division have bottomed out. MOT shares are jumping over 3% in premarket trade. MOT shares are trading more than 5% higher about an hour after the open.

General Electric Co. (GE) announced it will double deliveries of wind turbines to Chinese customers for two years, benefiting from government-funded expansion. GE shares are declining some 4% about an hour after the open.

Loews Corp. (L) shares could climb following a favorable article in Barron's that said the shares are trading at a "double discount" and could climb to almost $30 during the next year if financial markets stabilize and the value of the company's assets recover. L shares climbed over 1% in premarket trade. L shares are gaining about 2% about an hour after the open.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) may follow in Citi's footsteps and split in two, as it plans to slash costs by more than 1 billion pounds ($1.46 billion) and potentially cut up to 20,000 jobs. RBS shares are soaring nearly 15%. Shares continued their rally an hour after the open.

Toyota Motor Corp. (TM) plans to cut its global production by 20 percent. TM shares declined by nearly 2.5% in premarket trade. TM shares are declining more than 1.5% about an hour into the open.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) agreed to settle a lawsuit regarding discrimination against African-Americans when it recruited and hired truck drivers for its fleet.
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