Stocks in the News: Procter & Gamble, Motorola, Palm


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

Hewlett Packard (HPQ) announced late Wednesday it is acquiring Palm, Inc. (PALM) at a price of $5.70 per share of Palm common stock in cash or an enterprise value of approximately $1.2 billion. The transaction has been approved by the HP and Palm boards of directors. The per share price is at a 23% premium over Wednesday's close of $4.63. PALM shares soared over 26% in premarket trading.

Exxon Mobil (XOM) reported Thursday its quarterly profit increased 38% $6.3 billion, or $1.33 per share, as oil prices rose in the first three months of the year. Revenue jumped 41% to $90.25 billion. But results missed estimates of $1.41 earnings per share on revenue of $96.41 billion. Exxon also raised dividend to 44 cents a share from 42 cents a quarter and confirmed it would continue its share buyback. XOM shares are trading lower in premarket action.

Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) reported Thursday fiscal third-quarter earnings that were just about flat compared to last year's, even as net sales were up 7%. But adjusted earnings topped Wall Street expectations, though revenue didn't. P&G also raised the low end of its fiscal 2010 profit guidance, but not enough to put consensus number in the middle of that range. Shares fell over 1.5% before the bell.

Motorola (MOT) reported Thursday first quarter adjusted earnings per share of 3 cents, compared to a loss of 13 cents last year. It beat analysts' estimates for a loss of 1 cent. Revenue for the quarter, however fell 6.1%, missing estimates. For the second quarter, Motorola expects earnings per share of 7 cents to 9 cents, better than the consensus figure of 3 cents. Shares jumped over 4.5% ahead of the bell.

Aetna Inc. (AET) said Thursday its first-quarter profit grew 29% because of a gain in its past medical claims reserves and declining health care costs. But even excluding one-time items, earnings beat analyst estimates. Revenue, excluding realized capital gains dipped 1%, missing estimates. Shares were 2% higher in premarket trades.

Viacom (VIA) reported higher earnings in the first quarter that topped expectations on better ratings for its cable TV channels and more ad revenue in the first quarter. Still revenue slipped 4% and missed forecasts, mostly due to declining revenue at Paramount Pictures.

Colgate-Palmolive (CL) said its first-quarter profit dropped on a charge, but excluding it, profit increased by 24% to $628 million, or $1.21 earnings per share, beating analyst expectations. Sales were up 9.5% and the company expects a double-digit annual earnings per share growth.

Unilever NV (UN, UL) reported Thursday a 33% rise in first quarter net profit, as the company's sales rose 6.7%; Unilever took market share from rivals by slashing prices. Shares rose 3.8% before the bell.

Visa Inc. (V) reported late Wednesday first quarter profit increased by 33% over last year, beating analyst estimates, due to higher than expected payments volume growth. It reaffirmed 2010 outlook. Shares fell, however, as the beat may not have been wide enough.

Akamai (AKAM) and First Solar (FSLR) shares both shot up over 10% in premarket trading, and Baidu's (BIDU) shares soared nearly 16%, after reporting quarterly results late Wednesday.

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) and AstraZeneca (AZN), both reported results that exceeded analyst expectations, but both cautioned about the rest of the year. AZN shares rose 2.3% ahead of the bell.