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Dow Jones News Top Stories Of The Day – January 29, 2007 January 29, 2007

Posted by notapundit in Economic News.
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SOLID WIRELESS CUSTOMER MIX HELPS VERIZON

Telecommunications giant’s 4Q net income falls 38% amid charges to $1.03 billion, or 35c a share. Excluding items, earnings are 62c. Revenue rises 26% to $22.6 billion. Analysts expected earnings, excluding items, of 61c a share and revenue of $22.99 billion. Wireless business adds 2.3 million subscribers as it continues to attract more stable long-term customers. Verizon boosts 2007 cost-savings target on MCI acquisition to $900 million.

MERRILL LYNCH TO BUY FIRST REPUBLIC

Merrill Lynch agrees to buy private-banking and wealth-management firm for $1.8 billion as the brokerage increases its focus on rich clients. The $55 cash-and-stock bid is a 44% premium to First Republic’s closing price Friday. Merrill falls 2%.

PRUDENTIAL TO SELL EGG TO CITIGROUP FOR $1.12B

Prudential agrees to sell Egg banking business to Citigroup for $1.12 billion. Prudential also agrees to outline terms for U.K. distribution agreement. Prudential would provide life and pensions products to Egg’s customer base for five years.

BRISTOL-MYERS UP ON SANOFI DEAL TALK

Shares of Bristol-Myers Squibb rise 5% after a newsletter report that the French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Aventis and Bristol-Myers have signed a pre-merger memorandum.

SCHERING-PLOUGH 4Q NET RISES 62%

Drug maker posts net of $204 million, or 12c a share, which includes 5c in charges. Analysts expected EPS of 17c. Sales rise 14% to $2.7 billion. Meanwhile, CFO says R&D spending will outpace adjusted sales in 2007. Shares edge lower.

FLEISCHER TESTIFIED IN LIBBY TRIAL

Former White House press secretary says Cheney’s former chief of staff told him the wife of a prominent war critic worked at the CIA, days before Libby told investigators he was surprised to learn about Plame from a reporter.

CHICAGO FED MANUFACTURING INDEX GAINS

Manufacturing activity in the Midwest climbs 0.6% in December, led by a 1.7% increase in regional automotive industry output. Dallas Fed manufacturing index rebounds in January following December’s contraction.

VENTURE FIRMS CONTINUE TO SHRINK

Fewer venture-capital firms were active investors in U.S.-based companies last year than in 2005, as the slide that began after the industry’s 2000 heyday continues. Last year, 837 firms made at least one investment, down 6%.

GLOBAL AIRLINE REVENUE TO SLOW IN 2007

Airline association forecasts revenue growth in worldwide airline industry to decrease by almost half from 2006 on slowing traffic and economy. Group sees 2006 loss of $500 million for airlines worldwide, despite operating profit of $10.2 billion.

EX-CA FINANCE HEAD SENTENCED HOME DETENTION

David Kaplan is sentenced to six months of home detention after pleading guilty to conspiracy charges nearly three years ago in connection with a scheme to artificially boost the software maker’s quarterly revenue through backdated sales contracts, say prosecutors.

TESORO TO BUY SHELL REFINERY, STATIONS

Tesoro shares rise 7% as the firm will acquire Shell’s Los Angeles refinery and some 250 retail sites for $1.63 billion in move to enhance its position as leading West Coast refiner. Tesoro also buying 140 stations from USA Petroleum for $277 million.

EXXON TO OWN 80% OF BARNETT VENTURE

Barnett Shale gas field, near Exxon’s global headquarters in Irving, Texas, is the nation’s fastest growing. Well drilling expected to pick up significantly next year as the venture continues to add to lands it leases.

DUBAI TO BUILD TERMINAL IN NORTH CHINA

Dubai Ports World, whose failed bid to buy several port assets in U.S. sparked a political furor, wins approval to build a container terminal valued at $447.7 million in northern China, a deal that enlarges its foothold in the country’s booming ports sector.

BRITISH AIRWAYS STRIKE CALLED OFF

British Airways says planned strikes by cabin crew are called off following talks with the union. The decision comes too late to prevent service disruptions tomorrow and Wednesday. BA says pension issue resolved. BA shares rise 3%.

US AIRWAYS MAY UP DELTA BID

US Airways Group is willing to increase its hostile takeover offer for Delta Air Lines by $1 billion under certain conditions as part of a last-ditch effort to win support from Delta creditors, people familiar with the matter say.

ACC IN TALKS WITH CITIGROUP, MORGAN ON MORTGAGE OPS

Citigroup and Morgan are in talks with privately held ACC Capital to acquire its mortgage-banking operations, according to people familiar with the situation. ACC hired investment bankers at JPMorgan to take offers for all or parts of the company.

MATTEL 4Q NET UP 2.6% ON FISHER-PRICE SALES

Toy manufacturer earns $286.4 million, or 75c a share, boosted by holiday sales of its Fisher-Price products. Sales rise 14% to $2.11 billion. Wall Street expected EPS of 67c on sales of $1.99 billion. Shares edge higher.

TYSON 1Q NET UP; SEES HIGHER FOOD COSTS

Shares jump 5% as meat processor’s 1Q earnings grow to $57 million, or 16c a share, while sales rise 1.6% to $6.56 billion. Tyson warns if corn continues to be diverted into fuel production, consumers are likely to pay ‘significantly’ more for food.

ABITIBI, BOWATER SOAR ON MERGER

Abitibi-Consolidated and Bowater are combining to create North American powerhouse better able to compete in global forest- and paper-product market. Merger of equals is expected to close in 3Q. Abitibi-Consolidated gains 25%; Bowater jumps 22%.

======= DOW JONES NEWSWIRES ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARIES =======

INTERVIEW
FTC Commissioner Calls For Reform
William E. Kovacic says relations between the federal antitrust authorities need fundamental reform with greater coordination of the activities of the agencies responsible for protecting competition.

NOTICE TO READERS
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Tomorrow’s News Today is a Dow Jones Newswires end-of-day market newsletter emailed shortly after market close. It is complimentary to all Dow Jones News Service subscribers. To sign up, send email to tomorrowtoday@dowjones.com or call (800) 223-2274.

============ U.S. MARKETS ACTION ===========
DJIA up 13.78 points to 12500.96
NASDAQ up 4.86 points to 2440.35
S&P 500 down 1.72 points to 1422.18
10-year T-note down 4/32 at 97 29/32 yield 4.879
NYMEX Spot Crude down $1.41 at $54.01/bbl at close
Dollar/Euro up 0.0042 at 1.2952

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