Stocks in the news: Abbott Labs, H&R Block, Exco Resources


The following post rounds up the companies making headlines today:

Abbott Laboratories (ABT) -- a Texas jury ordered Abbott to pay Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) $1.67 billion over alleged patent infringement over the companies' rheumatoid arthritis drugs Humira and Remicade respectively. Abbott is planning an appeal. ABT shares declined about 2 percent ahead of the bell.

H&R Block (HRB) gained nearly 6 percent in pre-market trade after the the tax preparer topped the Street's quarterly earnings esimate and gave an annual outlook that also surprised analysts. HRB's profit rose 26 percent in the quarter encompassing the main tax filing season as customers turned to its Internet service for tax preparation.