Stocks in the news: Watson Wyatt Worldwide, Microsoft, Anglo American

The following post rounds up the companies making headlines today:

Watson Wyatt Worldwide (WW) and Towers, Perrin, Forster & Crosby said Sunday they have agreed to merge in a $3.5 billion deal the two consulting firms hope will help cut costs and create a global professional-services and human-resources group. The new firm will be publicly listed. WW shares declined 2.4 percent in pre-market trade.

Microsoft (MSFT) plans to sell its digital advertising agency Razorfish, according to the Financial Times. Publicis Groupe may be the possible buyer. Shares are up nearly a percent ahead of the bell.

Anglo American (AAUK) is in talks to sell a major investment stake to Aluminum Corp. of China, according to The Sunday Telegraph for its huge iron ore project in Brazil. The rumored deal, however, is denied by at least one executive. Reuters added the move is not a defense against an unwanted merger approach from rival Xstrata. Meanwhile, Barclays Capital upgraded AAUK from Equal Weight to Overweight.

State Street Corp. (STT) may face civil charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission for possible violations of securities laws. Shares declined nearly 1.5 percent ahead of the bell.

Vodafone Group (VOD) may bid for T-Mobile U.K., put on the block by owner Deutsche Telekom (DT) according to the Times of London. The deal could create a new leader in the U.K. mobile-phone market following a long-expected consolidation.

H&R Block Inc. (HRB) is expected to post a fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $2.06 a share when it reports today.

Apollo Group Inc. (APOL) is expected to report fiscal third-quarter earnings of $1.12 a share.

Enterprise GP Holdings L.P. (EPE) said Monday it will buy TEPPCO Partners L.P. (TPP) in a $26 billion deal to become one of the largest natural gas producers in the country. TPP shares gained 2.5 percent before the bell.

UBS (UBS) is to pay 3 to 5 billion Swiss francs ($2.77-$4.62 billion) in the next two weeks to settle a U.S. tax probe into the bank, Swiss newspaper Sonntag reported on Sunday. UBS was also upgraded from Neutral to Outperform at Credit Suisse.

Amazon.com (AMZN) closed accounts with its affiliates in North Carolina to avoid paying a proposed sales tax, according to reports.

Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (HIG) said it received $3.4 billion in funds from the U.S. Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program. Shares gained about 2 percent in pre-market trade.
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