Stocks in the news: Costco, Toll Brothers, Google

Costco Wholesale (COST) said its fiscal second-quarter net income dropped 27 percent due to an overall weak economy and deeper discounting, while the stronger dollar and falling gas prices took a toll on same-store sales, which dropped 3 percent. Costco earned 55 cents per share, as revenue dipped 1 percent to $16.84 billion. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters forecast profit of 59 cents per share on revenue of $16.85 billion.

Toll Brothers (TOL), the luxury homebuilder, reported a narrower loss despite plummeting revenue, yet still the loss was slightly worse than estimates. Toll lost $89 million, or 55 cents per share, as revenue declined 51 percent to $409 million. Despite the company managing to cut costs and expenses, results were below estimates of a loss of 52 cents per share on revenue of $425.3 million.
Google (GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt said the Internet search giant is "not immune" from the worldwide economic slump. He said that "ultimately... the real pain being felt by corporations worldwide will translate to our world." In fact, its executives have even received slightly lower bonuses for 2008. GOOG shares are declining 2% in pre-market trade.

UBS AG (UBS), Switzerland's largest bank, after having its chairman Peter Kurer resign, has nominated former Finance Minister Kaspar Villiger as chairman of its board of directors. Only last week, UBS has replaced its CEO. UBS is being sued by the U.S. on a charge that it helped rich Americans dodge taxes, its losses totaled $50 billion and it is cutting many jobs. UBS shares are nearly 4% higher in pre-market trade.

Lockheed Martin (LMT) won a 10-year contract worth up to $5 billion to supply U.S. military commandos with logistics support. L-3 Communications (LLL) previously held the contract. LMT shares are 2.8% higher in pre-market trade.

Microsoft (MSFT) can finally sigh in relief as the European Union regulators on Wednesday ended close checks on its compliance with a 2004 antitrust order.

Amazon (AMZN), whose Kindle digital e-book reader has been a success, now plans to extend its reach by releasing a program Wednesday for reading electronic books on Apple (AAPL)'s iPhone.

Palm (PALM) on Tuesday said it expects to report third-quarter revenue of $85 million to $90 million, sharply lower than estimates. Still, Piper Jaffray upgraded Palm from Neutral to Buy. PALM shares are sinking over 8% in pre-market trade.

Citigroup (C)'s deal it reached with the government for converting some of the government's preference shares into ordinary shares causes a significant loss to the retail investor, according to one shareholder. Despite that, Citi shares are up over 4% in pre-market trade.

U.S. Bancorp (USB) slashed its dividend 88 percent to 5 cents per share from 42.5 cents, saving more than $2.6 billion a year. Shares gained 6% in pre-market trade.

General Motors (GM) has apparently several potential bidders for its Saab brand including China's Geely Automobile and Dongfeng Motor Group, according to CNBC. GM traded 1.5% higher in pre-market action.

Blockbuster (BBI) has no intention of filing for bankruptcy, the company said. The company has hired the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP to assist it in ongoing financing efforts and as reports came out, its stock got hammered 77%. Shares are up 59% in pre-market trade.

United Airlines (UAUA) reported its February traffic fell 17.2 percent, as the demand for air travel declined. Shares are up over 4% in pre-market trade.

Other companies reporting today:
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