Stocks in the News: Disney, Sprint, ArcelorMittal

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

Walt Disney Co. (DIS) reported fiscal first-quarter results Tuesday after the close, posting better-than-expected, but flat earnings of $844 million, or 44 cents a share. Gains by its television networks and film and TV studios, as well as strong performance at its cable division and cost cuts at its film studio, were offset by declines at its theme-park and consumer units. Shares fell 1.5% in premarket trading.Sprint Nextel (S) posted a narrower fourth-quarter loss of $980 million, or 34 cents per share, on Wednesday, but revenue fell 7% even as the company's loss of cellphone customers was slower than expected. Shares sank over 4% ahead of the bell. (BIDU) reported stronger-than-expected earnings on a 40% jump in revenue and gave a strong outlook, saying it would benefit from Google's high-profile threat to exit China. Shares rallied 9% in premarket.

ArcelorMittal (MT) returned to profit in the fourth quarter as it didn't have to write down the value of its inventory as demand edged higher. But the world's largest steel maker said sales declined about 4% and EBITDA fell about 24%, both below analyst estimates. The company also offered up first-quarter guidance below expectations. Shares sagged over 4.5% before the bell.

Marsh & McLennan (MMC) posted a slight increase in fourth-quarter profit before special items, helped by higher revenue from its insurance unit.

Micron Technology (MU) plans to buy fellow memory chip maker Numonyx in an all-stock transaction the companies value at $1.27 billion. The transaction is expected to close within three to six months and add to Micron's earnings beginning in 2011. Shares dropped 3.4% in premarket trading.

UBS AG's (UBS) loss in 2009 will trigger the bank's bonus claw-back mechanism for the first time, depriving senior bankers of 300 million Swiss francs ($282 million) of deferred pay they were due to receive this year.

Airgas (ARG) on Tuesday rejected the unsolicited $5 billion buyout bid from larger rival Air Products and Chemicals (APD), calling it a "bargain basement price."

Honda Motor Co. (HMC) is adding 437,000 vehicles to its 15-month-old global recall for faulty air bags in the latest quality problem to hit a Japanese automaker. Shares dropped 1% in premarket trade.

3M Co.(MMM) boosted its dividend by 3%. Shares advanced nearly 1% ahead of the bell.

Select analyst calls:
  • Adobe Systems (ADBE) shares climbed 3.3% in premarket trading after two upgrades: Credit Suisse upgraded the shares from neutral to outperform and upped the target price from $35 to $39.50. Jefferies & Co upgraded the shares from hold to buy with a target price of $40.
  • Tiffany (TIF) was upgraded to buy from neutral at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which kept its price target at $48. Shares were 1% higher in premarket trading.
  • Dell (DELL) was upgraded to buy from neutral by Bank of America Merrill Lynch on the computer maker's underperformance since November. Shares jumped over 3% before the bell.
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