Stocks in the news: General Motors, Verizon, AMR Corp

The following post rounds up the companies making headlines today:

General Motors (GM) says, in filing Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, it will cut 21,000 U.S. factory jobs by next year and phase out its Pontiac brand as part of a major restructuring effort needed to get more government aid. It will offer 225 shares of common stock for every $1,000 in notes held by bondholders as part of debt-for-equity swap. GM shares gained some 7 percent in premarket trading.

Meanwhile, Chrysler LLC reached a tentative deal for concessions with the United Auto Workers union Sunday and is working on getting concessions from its debtholders and form an alliance with Fiat before the administration's deadline.

Verizon Communications (VZ) has posted better-than-expected first-quarter earnings and revenue, despite the economy as it earned 63 cents per share excluding items. Analyst had expected a profit of 59 cents per share. Revenue rose almost 12 percent to $26.59 billion, topping estimates are $26.32 billion in revenue. Verizon also ended the period with 28.8 percent more customers than the same quarter last year.

Swine flu related:

  • CVS Caremark Corp. (CVS) and Walgreen Co. (WAG), the two largest U.S. drug-store chains, are preparing stores for a possible rush on hygiene products and pharmaceuticals after the Obama administration has declared a public health emergency Sunday. Shares gained 2.6 and 4 percent respectively before the bell.
  • GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK), maker of Relenza -- a flu vaccine -- and Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD), its inventor, are climbing in pre-market trade. Tamiflu is another flue vaccine sold by Swiss company Roche (RHHBY). Roche says it has three million packages of the anti-flu treatment ready to deliver to any country in the world. GILD and GSK shares gained over 4 percent in pre-market trade.
  • Smithfield Foods (SFD) and Tyson (TSN) are among food companies also falling on flu concern. Shares declined 12.6 percent and 8.5 percent respectively.
  • American Airlines (AMR) and Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) are two tourism and travel stocks among many that got hit (down 11 and 9.6 percent respectively in pre-market trade) by concerns over the flu. Perhaps related, UBS downgraded airlines and hotels: AMR, CAL, HST, LHO, MAR, UAUA, LCC, and even food company WFMI.

Bank of America (BAC) remained in the headlines as ex-Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain told The Wall Street Journal that the bank lied about its role in giant bonuses and losses at Merrill. Shares declined over 4 percent before the bell.

Qualcomm (QCOM) is paying $891 million to Broadcom (BRCM) to settle a patent dispute between the chipmakers. QCOM shares gained 3 percent before the bell.

Whirlpool Corp. (WHR) said Monday its first-quarter profit fell 28 percent on softening consumer demand and the stronger dollar, but the results beat Wall Street's expectations. WHR shares gained over 6 percent in pre-market trading.

Humana Inc. (HUM) said Monday its first-quarter profit more than doubled as its government business surged. The company also raised its full-year earnings outlook. HUM shares gained 6 percent before the bell.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Verizon are discussing the possible development of an iPhone for Verizon, with the goal of introducing it next year, according to USA Today sources. It would be the first version of the iPhone for a CDMA wireless network.

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