Stocks in the news: General Motors, Macy's, Apollo Group

General Motors (GM) and Chrysler may be one step closer to bankruptcy as according to Bloomberg, President Obama believes it is the best option for the automakers. Reuters reports that one option is to split the automaker and form a new company of GM's most profitable parts. Automakers will also be reporting March sales today, with experts estimating a 41 percent drop in sales, according to J.D. Power and Associates. GM shares actually traded higher before the bell.

3M Co. (MMM) says it's cutting its worldwide work force by another 1,200 jobs, or 1.5 percent, because of the global economic slump. Of these 1,200 jobs, fewer than half the jobs will be in the United States. Shares declined 1.4 percent in pre-market trade.

Macy's (M) said Tuesday it will book a hefty $5.1 billion after-tax charge to write down the value of goodwill in 2008. The charge falls within its forecast. Macy's does not expect the charge to affect its business, bank credit agreement or bond indentures.

MasterCard (MA) -- The European Union regulators said Wednesday they would drop a threat to fine the credit card company after it promised to temporarily cut fees it charges for cross-border card purchases which can hike costs for shops. Starting July, these fees would be capped at much lower rates than the 2007 fees. Shares declined nearly 2 percent in pre-market trade.

Apollo Group Inc. (APOL) reported a profit in the second quarter compared with a loss in the same quarter last year. The 77 cents earnings per share figure beat estimates. Revenue rose 20 percent to $876.1 million, also beating estimates. Shares, however dropped some 7 percent in pre-market trade.

Honda Motor Co. (HMC) said it is offering voluntary buyouts, cutting workers' pay and imposing 13 non-production days at its North American plants to reduce its output this summer by 62,000 vehicles.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) confirmed Tuesday that it is testing Google's (GOOG) Android operating system as a possible alternative to Windows in some of its netbook computers.

Research In Motion (RIMM), as expected, launched the official BlackBerry App World application store today, giving BlackBerry owners an easy way to download new applications for their phones, as the smartphone maker keeps trying to reach the consumer market as successfully as rival Apple Inc. (AAPL) did with its iPhone and App Store.

Analyst calls:
  • Boeing (BA) was downgraded at Wachovia from Outperform to Market Perform. Shares dropped nearly 3 percent in pre-market trade.
  • BP (BP) was cut to Sell from Neutral at Goldman Sachs. Shared declined 1.8 percent before the bell.
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