Stocks in the News: F, CTAS, MU, RIMM

The following is a round-up of news likely to affect stock prices today:

Ford Motor Co. (F) said it's close to selling its loss-making Volvo unit to Chinese auto maker Zhejiang Geely. With most of the big issues in the pending sale addressed, the sale is expected to go through in the first quarter of 2010.%%DynaPub-Enhancement class="enhancement contentType-HTML Content fragmentId-1 payloadId-61603 alignment-right size-small"%%Cintas (CTAS) reported second-quarter earnings of 39 cents a share, excluding one-time charges, below analyst estimates for a profit 43 cents a share. Shares dropped 7% before the bell.

Micron Technology Inc (MU) posted its first quarterly profit in nearly three years as rising memory chip prices lifted its sales beyond Wall Street's expectations. Shares were 1% higher in premarket trade.

Research in Motion Ltd's (RIMM) BlackBerry users in North and South American suffered widespread delays in message services on Tuesday, just a week after another outage struck the popular corporate network. The company said late Tuesday it is working on the problem.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) lost its appeal of a $200 million patent-infringement verdict won by a Canadian firm. It will now have to alter its popular Word software.

Red Hat Inc (RHT) reported results that beat Wall Street estimates, as an improving economy and reviving corporate spending fueled sales of its business software. Shares rallied over 7% ahead of the bell.

Tibco Software Inc. (TIBX) beat analyst estimates on both top and bottom lines when it reported fiscal fourth-quarter profit late Tuesday. Shares soared 7.5% in premarket trade.

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A), Warren Buffett's company sold more shares of Moody's (MCO) on Dec. 22; an SEC filing showed that it sold 87,992 shares four days earlier. Bloomberg reports that this is the sixth sales since Buffett bought a big piece of Moody's in July.

American Greetings (AM) shares jumped over 6.6% in premarket trade after the company reported it swung back to a profit in the third quarter.

Finish Line (FINL) posted results late Tuesday. It broke even on an adjusted basis, beating estimates. It said its same-store sales climbed 4.9% in the three weeks to December 20 in a sign of revived demand for the retailer's athletic shoes and apparel. Shares gained some 5.9% before the bell.

ArcelorMittal (MT) may buy more mines in 2010 to increase its supply of iron ore as prices for the raw material used to make the metal are expected to rebound, Bloomberg reported.

BP (BP) faces federal, state investigations into two recent oil spills in Alaska.

Citigroup Inc. (C) denied a report in The Wall Street Journal that federal authorities are investigating the theft of tens of millions of dollars from customer accounts by hackers, and sought to reassure clients that their funds are safe.

Novartis AG (NVS) Wednesday said it's paying up to $620 million for the world-wide rights to an experimental heart drug in a deal that boosts the Swiss drug maker's portfolio of cardiovascular medicines.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) was downgraded to hold from buy at Soleil Securities.
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