Stocks in the news: Bank of America, Best Buy, General Motors

Bank of America's (BAC) credit rating was cut Moody's Investors Service on Wednesday Moody's cited an increasing risk that government intervention may be needed to bolster the bank's capital position. Moody's lowered BAC's senior debt rating down a notch to "A2" from "A1," but other ratings were lowered more with the preferred stock rating falling to "B3" from "Baa1" - a drop of eight notches, six steps below investment grade. BAC also is folding its Premier Banking unit into Merrill Lynch, laying off several hundred workers. BAC shares gained some 3.3 percent in pre-market trade.

General Motors Corp. (GM) and Chrysler may get more loans approved. The Obama administration's auto task force will likely recommend more aid for struggling U.S. automakers, a senior senator said on Wednesday, but with strings. GM is also reported to have persuaded more than 6,000 UAW members to take buyouts, meeting internal company goals. GM shares gained over 11 percent in pre-market trade.

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) is in danger of losing its credit rating from Standard & Poor's, the credit rating firm said Tuesday, citing concerns that losses on equity investments are sapping the company's strength. earlier this month, Fitch Ratings already downgraded Warren Buffett's company.

International Business Machines (IBM) may cut 5,000 jobs in the U.S., as it is shifting labor to lower-cost regions like India and keeping its profits aloft at a time when other technology companies' earnings are tumbling.

Morgan Stanley (MS) and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. signed a deal Thursday to merge their Japanese securities units, creating the second-largest brokerage in Japan. Shares were up 1.7 percent before the bell.

Red Hat Inc. (RHT) reported its fiscal fourth-quarter Wednesday after the close. While net income fell, revenue rose 18 percent. Excluding items, Red Hat earnings beat estimates by 2 pennies. Shares soared over 10 percent in pre-marekt trade.

Paychex Inc. (PAYX) said its fiscal third-quarter profit and revenue fell. The company's earnings were inline with estimates, but revenue was below. Shares jumped 5.8 percent before the bell.

SAIC Inc. (SAI) reported higher profit and revenue numbers for the fourth-quarter, beating estimates. SAI shares rose 3.5 percent in pre-market trade.

Raytheon Co. (RTN) announced it is raising its dividend 11 percent to 31 cents per share. RTN shares rose 2.5 percent in pre-market trade.

Reporting today:
  • Best Buy Co. (BBY) reported that fourth-quarter profit fell 23 percent on some charges but adjusted results beat analysts' estimates as sales climbed on new store openings. BBY shares soared over 11 percent before the bell.
  • ConAgra Foods Inc. (CAG) profits tops estimates. Shares rose over 4.7 percent in pre-market trade.
  • Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc. (DPS) beat earnings estimates. Shares soared over 10 percent in pre-market trade.
  • Gamestop Corp. (GME) reported higher profit inline with estimates. Shares rose over 4 percent in pre-market trade.
The Ford Motor Company (F) is in talks with several potential buyers of its Swedish unit, Volvo, a company spokesman said Wednesday. Shares rose 4.3 percent in pre-market trade.
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