Stocks in the news: Cadbury, Kraft, Smithfield Foods, AIG, GE

Some of the companies making headlines today:

Kraft (KFT) has offered to buy Cadbury Schweppes (CBY) at a 31 percent premium to what mounts to $16.75 billion. Cadbury shares shot up more than the premium, indicating a sweetened bid is expected to come soon from Kraft or other players such as Hershey (HSY), Nestle (NSRGY) or PepsiCo (PEP). Some expect Cadbury to eventually fetch $21-22 billion. CBY shares jumped 40 percent in pre-market trading. KFT shares fell over 5 percent.

Smithfield Foods Inc. (SFD) reported a much larger quarterly loss on Tuesday, due to low hog prices, H1N1 flu and soft export demand for pork. Shares traded about 1 percent lower in pre-market action.
American International Group Inc. (AIG) has agreed to sell its fund-management business for up to $500 million to Pacific Century Group, a Hong Kong-based company wholly owned by 43-year-old tycoon Richard Li. Shares declined about 4 percent ahead of the bell.

Deutsche Telekom (DT) and France Telecom (FTE) said they would merge their British mobile phone operations T-Mobile and Orange into a single firm.

Advanced Technology Investment Co. of Abu Dhabi agreed to buy Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing (CHRT) for $1.8 billion.

Facet Biotech Corp. (FACT) said Tuesday that its board has reviewed and rejected the unsolicited takeover bid from Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB) as it is "inadequate."

Atheros Communications Inc. (ATHR) said it will acquire Intellon Corp. (ITLN) in a stock-and-cash deal valued at about $244 million, or $181 million net of Intellon's cash and short-term investments. ITLN shares soared 45 percent.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) is scheduled to hold one of its much-anticipated company events on Wednesday September 9, but while many try to find out what it has up its sleeve, rumors suggest one of its expected upgrades may be delayed -- the iPod camera upgrade.

Barclays (BCS) was fined 2.45 million pounds ($4 million) by the Financial Services Authority for failing to provide accurate transaction reports and for serious weaknesses in systems and controls in relation to transaction reporting.

BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RTP) are looking at a A$1 billion merger of their Canadian diamond operations. RTP traded over 6 percent higher before the bell.

Time Warner's (TWX) internet unit AOL (and the parent of this blog) said on Tuesday it has appointed former Yahoo (YHOO) executive Brad Garlinghouse as president of its Web and mobile communications group.

Northern Trust Corp. (NTRS) has announced several management changes Monday prompted by the departure of Timothy Theriault as president of the Corporate & Institutional Services Business Unit.

Analyst calls:
  • JPMorgan upgraded General Electric (GE) to Overweight from Neutral. Shares jumped over 4 percent.
  • Morgan Stanley changed its tech-sector view, upgrading systems and PC hardware to attractive from in-line but downgrading software to in-line from attractive. The brokerage upped Altera (ALTR) and cut Dell (DELL) IBM (IBM) and Texas Instruments (TXN) among others.
  • Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) was upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight by Morgan Stanley with a new price target of $64.
  • Credit Suisse downgraded American International Group (AIG) to Underperform from Neutral and slashed its price target to $15 from $30.
  • Credit Suisse upgraded Cadbury (CBY) from Underperform to Neutral.
  • Credit Suisse upgraded The Gap (GPS) from Neutral Outperform. Shares climbed about 3 percent.
  • Citigroup upgraded Harley-Davidson (HOG) from Sell to Hold. Shares climbed about 3 percent.
  • UBS upgraded Micron (MU) from Neutral to Buy. Shares climbed about 4 percent.
  • Research In Motion (RIMM) price target was upped from $90 to $94 at Oppenheimer.
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