Stocks in the News: Toyota, Pfizer, News Corp.

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

Toyota's (TM) troubles keep mounting. U.S. federal investigators are looking into whether electronics caused the problem with the automaker's recalled gas pedals. Meanwhile, Toyota received over 100 complaints in the U.S. and Japan about brake problems with the Prius hybrid.Cisco Systems (CSCO) is due to report after the market closes.

Pfizer (PFE) posted a big jump in revenue of 34% to $16.54 billion that beat Wall Street expectations, but its profit came up a tad short. Pfizer earned $767 million, or 49 cents a share excluding one-time items -- a penny short of estimates. Shares traded 1.7% lower in premarket action.

Time Warner (TWX) said Wednesday that improving results at its movie studio and cable networks boosted fourth-quarter revenue. Results were higher than Wall Street estimates. The company is also raising its dividend 13% and increasing its stock repurchase plan.

AOL (AOL) -- the parent of DailyFinance -- reported a slim profit for the fourth quarter despite revenue declines. AOL earned $1.4 million, or a penny per share, in the last three months of 2009 as revenue fell 17% to $809.7 million, due to decreasing dial-up subscribers and online advertising. Shares jumped 3.4% before the bell.

Comcast (CMCSA) reported a sharp increase in net income for the fourth quarter, helped by higher revenue and a tax gain. Results beat analyst expectations. The company beat AT&T for a second quarter in a row and now has 15.9 million Internet customers.

News Corp. (NWS) said Tuesday it earned $254 million in the most recent quarter, thanks to an advertising recovery as revenue rose 10%. The media group also raised outlook as its 20th Century Fox movie studio continues to ride the tail wind of Avatar. Shares jumped 4.3% in premarket trading.

American International Group Inc.
(AIG) is set to pay out about $100 million in a fresh round of bonuses to employees of its financial products division, according to reports published Tuesday. It was this unit's risky bets that nearly sank the company and necessitated the $180 billion government bailout.

Bank of America Corp (BAC), meanwhile, has approved more than $4 billion in 2009 pay for its investment bankers and traders, according to the Wall Street Journal.

UMC (UMC) reported a third straight quarterly profit that fueled optimism over chip demand for computers and high-tech gadgets. Shares rose over 2% ahead of the bell.

Goldman Sachsupgraded Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) to buy from neutral; downgraded Lowe's (LOW) to neutral from buy; and added McDonald's (MCD) to its conviction buy list.
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