Stocks in the News: Apple, AIG, Time Warner Cable

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

American International Group Inc. (AIG) said Vice Chairman and General Counsel Anastasia Kelly has resigned, effective Dec. 30. Suzanne Folsom, chief compliance and regulatory officer, has also left. AIG said Kelly, who is stepping down after a dispute over government-imposed pay limits, will collect about $3.8 million in severance, Bloomberg reported.

Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC) and News Corp. (NWS) are in an ongoing dispute over TV-programming that may not be resolved before the New Year's deadline. If it remains unresolved it will threaten millions of cable-TV subscribers with the loss of Fox broadcast programs, including big football games, in coming days. At the core of the issue is a fee Fox charges Time Warner Cable for carriage of local Fox TV stations. Fox is seeking a much higher fee.

%%DynaPub-Enhancement class="enhancement contentType-HTML Content fragmentId-1 payloadId-61603 alignment-right size-small"%%American Tower Corp. (AMT) is in talks to acquire a controlling stake in India's Essar Telecom Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd., the tower arm of the Essar Group, a person involved in the process told The Wall Street Journal Wednesday. This would expand the U.S.-based company's footprint in the fastest-growing telecommunications services market in the world.

Apple (AAPL) -- Fox News has confirmed that Apple has scheduled a special media event for Jan. 26 in San Francisco, adding that the event will focus on the mobility space, i.e., the iPhone/Touch product line. Also, on Wednesday, a federal appeals court rejected a class-action lawsuit seeking to hold Apple responsible for possible hearing loss caused by using the iPod.

The government gave GMAC Financial Servicesanother $3.8 billion in cash, on top of the previous $12.5 billion in bailout funds. It also took a majority stake in the auto lender. GMAC is struggling with big losses in its home mortgage unit.

As the year comes to an end today, many are looking at the yearly stock performance numbers. Of the Dow industrial companies, American Express Co. (AXP) is on track to be the Dow's top performer for 2009 with a gain of $22.25, or 120%. It's followed by Microsoft (MSFT) with a gain of $11.52, or 59.3%, for the year so far. Exxon Mobil (XOM) is likely to bring up the rear with a loss for the year so far of $11.06, or 13.9%.

YRC Worldwide (YRCW) again stretched the deadline on a crucial debt-for-equity swap offer as it and its union workers pushed banks and bondholders to help keep the company afloat. YRC is disputing an analyst's prediction that it may be forced to close its doors as early as this weekend if it files for bankruptcy.

Pilgrim's Pride (PPC) will pay the U.S. government $4.5 million over the next three years to settle a two-year investigation into identity theft at five of its plants.

City National Corp (CYM) said it repurchased $200 million of the preferred shares it sold to the U.S. Treasury under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, joining a slew of lenders attempting to exit the program so they can cease being hindered by its restrictions.

Icahn Enterprises (IEP) said on Wednesday it was selling $2 billion in debt and was in talks to acquire a controlling stake in American Railcar Industries Inc. (ARII), which is held by another Icahn unit.

Crane Co. (CR) said on Wednesday it has struck agreements with a General Electric Co. (GE) unit and Boeing (BA), resolving its claims relating to the brake-control system for the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The agreement will result in a payment that would boost fourth-quarter results.
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