Stocks in the News: Toyota, Xerox, Royal Bank of Scotland, Ford, Apple

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

Two federal agencies are joining the U.S. government's effort to discover if electronics may be the source of unintended acceleration in Toyota Motor (TM) vehicles. Scientists from NASA with electronics expertise will help the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to study the potential for the problem, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Monday. In a separate study, the National Academy of Sciences will examine unintended acceleration issues across the industry, LaHood said. Toyota has repeatedly denied electronics as source of the problem, instead saying mechanical issues and driver unfamiliarity are to blame.

Xerox (XRX) Chairman Anne M. Mulcahy plans to retire in May, the Norwalk, Conn., company said Tuesday. Mulcahy, 57, is credited with turning the venerable copier company around during the last decade. She stepped down as CEO in July.

Bailed-out British lender Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has been fined 28.6 million pounds ($43 million) for sharing loan pricing details with rival Barclays (BCS), Britain's Office of Fair Trading said Tuesday.

Ford Motor (F) said in a Securities and Exchange filing it expects an increase in March sales similar to those of the last few months. The Dearborn, Mich., auto maker's sales have increased by 33% the last 3 months.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple (AAPL) is prepping two new models of its wildly popular smart phone for release this summer, and one could be ready for use on Verizon Wireless's CDMA network. That would end three years of AT&T (T) iPhone exclusivity. Verizon Wireless is a joint venture between Verizon Communications (VZ) and London-based Vodaphone Group (VOD).

The U.S. Treasury Department plans to sell its 27% stake in Citigroup (C) this year, a move that could result in the biggest profit to taxpayers in the bank-bailout program. Treasury, Citigroup's largest shareholder, will dispose of its 7.7 billion common shares throughout 2010, the agency said Monday.

Sprint Nextel (S) CEO Dan Hesse received compensation valued at $12.3 million in 2009, down 13% from the year before, according to a regulatory filing. Hesse, 56, received a salary of $1.2 million and a performance-based bonus of $1.3 million in 2009, The Associated Press reported.

Container maker BWAY Corp. (BWY) has announced it will go private in a $915 million transaction, including the assumption of debt.

Google (GOOG) confirmed Monday that some of its mobile features in China had been partially blocked, raising the specter that its position in that country was deteriorating even further. Google didn't specify the nature of the block, saying the availability of its online services fluctuates regularly and that it was too early to confirm if the block would be permanent, or even if it was related to the feud with China. Google maintains a page at its website that updates issues about "service accessibility from within mainland China."

Morgan Stanley (MS) and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group have entered into agreements to integrate their securities operations in Japan. The companies expect to commence joint venture operations as of May 1.