Stocks in the news: BP, Viacom, Apple, IBM

The following post rounds up the companies making headlines today:

BP (BP) reported 53 percent lower profit compared to last year's as a result of lower world oil prices. BP said it sees little sign of growing demand in the months ahead. Nonetheless, Europe's second largest oil company managed to top estimates and report better earnings than in the first quarter. Shares declined about 1.5 percent ahead of the bell.

Viacom (VIA) Tuesday reported a 32 percent drop in its second-quarter profit as revenue fell 14 percent amid a weak advertising market, slower video game sales and lower box-office results. The New York-based media conglomerate earnings beat analyst expectations by a penny per share, although it missed the revenue forecast.

Valero Energy (VLO) reported a loss of $254 million, or 48 cents a share in its second quarter as operating revenue fell by half of last year's quarter. Valero's loss was bigger than estimates. The company blamed lower margins. Shares fell 3.3 percent in pre-market trading.

U.S. Steel (X) reported a loss of $392 million, or $2.92 a share as sales amounted to barely a third of last year's quarter. The company posted a smaller loss than expected, but also less sales. The reasons were numerous, including idled facilities carrying costs. Shares fell over 4 percent.

Apple (AAPL) didn't comment on reports out of China that China Unicom has reached a preliminary agreement with Apple for the exclusive sale of the iPhone in China for three years. However a China Unicom official said a formal deal had not been reached.

IBM (IBM) is acquiring analytics-software maker SPSS (SPSS) in an all-cash transaction at $50 per share for a deal valued at about $1.2 billion. SPSS shares jumped 40 percent.

Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) meanwhile said it will acquire Virgin Mobile USA (VM) in a stock deal valued at $483 million, or $5.50 per each Virgin Mobile share.

Bank of America (BAC) is planning to shrink its branch network by about 10 percent, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company didn't comment, but according to WSJ sources, the move was prompted by a shift in customer habits to more online and mobile services and away from brick-and-mortar banks.

General Electric (GE) is holding a webcast today at 8:30 a.m. to give a detailed update of the state of its GE Capital lending unit.

Amgen (AMGN) reported late Monday, beating estimates and upping its earnings guidance as well as partnering with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to sell a new bone drug. Shares gained 3 percent ahead of the bell.

Coach (COH) said Tuesday fourth-quarter profit dropped 32 percent as the upscale leather-goods seller's sales declined modestly. Adjusted earnings matched analyst estimates. Shares dropped nearly 6 percent in pre-market trade.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA) reported a small decline in second-quarter net income, but adjusted profit rose a stronger-than-expected 25 percent on 20 percent higher sales. Results beat estimates. Shares gained 2.5 percent ahead of the bell.

Foreign banks:

  • Deutsche Bank (DB) shares dropped over 8.8 percent in pre-market trade after reporting strong growth, but as worries increased over rising bad debt charges and a disappointing performance in debt trading.
  • BBVA (BBV) rose over 3 percent before the bell after the Spanish bank reported a stronger-than-forecast profit rise and was more upbeat on bad debt outlook.
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