Stocks in the news: General Electric, AIG, Staples, Guess

General Electric (GE) is close to clearing a major hurdle in its path to sell control of entertainment giant NBC Universal to Comcast (CMCSA). GE has reached a tentative deal to buy Vivendi SA's 20% stake in NBC Universal for $5.8 billion. GE shares were 1.4% higher and Comcast's 2.3% higher in pre-market trading.

American International Inc. (AIG) on Tuesday slashed the amount of money it owes the government by $25 billion as it moved American International Assurance Co. and American Life Insurance Co. into special holding units ahead of their planned spinoff or sale. The government received preferred shares in the two worth $25 billion. Shares jumped about 5.8% ahead of the bell.