Stocks in the news: BlackRock, Barclays, Ford, National Semi

The following post rounds up the companies making headlines today:

BlackRock (BLK) has agreed to buy Barclays' (BCS) investment arm, Barclays Global Investors in a $13.5 billion cash and shares deal. While the deal makes BlackRock the world's biggest asset manager, it helps Barclays with its capital needs. BLK shares declined 1.4 percent in pre-market trade, BCS's were down nearly 3.5 percent.

Ford Motor Co. (F) is ready for another debt for equity trade, and sell more common stock, so it can improve its balance sheet until the company can become profitable in 2011, CEO Alan Mulally said Thursday. Mulally also said Ford's June sales are already on pace to improve from May's results. Shares climed 1.5 percent ahead of the bell.