Market News Call

Stocks to Watch Friday

Wall Street looked set to open lower as investors closely watch for a budget deal after President Barack Obama and lawmakers are set to have a last round of talks before a New Year deadline. Economic data scheduled for release includes Chicago PMI and pending home sales. European stocks drifted lower in low volumes, as the lack of progress in fiscal cliff talks prompted investors to book a portion of their recent strong gains ahead of the year end. Asian shares ended higher. Brent crude hovered near $111 per barrel. Gold edged lower and it has come off a 4-month low of $1,635.09 struck on Dec. 20, but remains well below a record high of around $1,920 hit in September 2011.

Moves
Prologis Inc. (PLD) – The company said Walter C. Rakowich, co-CEO, will retire on December 31, 2012. Hamid R. Moghadam  will assume the role of CEO and chairman on  January 1, 2013.In Other News
CNOOC Ltd. (CEO) – The company said on Friday it expects its $15.1 billion takeover of Canadian oil and gas producer Nexen Inc (NXY) to close in the first quarter of 2013 at the earliest, a move that could be aimed at giving U.S. regulators more time to approve a sensitive aspect of the deal. The company is still awaiting U.S. approval over its purchase of Nexen assets in the Gulf of Mexico after Canadian officials approved the deal earlier this month.

DirecTV Group
 (DTV) – The satellite television provider said its service fees will rise by an average of 4.5 percent in February due to increasing programming costs. The company has to pay about 8 percent more for programs, since almost all of its providers are hiking their rates, it said on Thursday. The new fees will go into effect on Feb. 7.

General 
Dynamics Corp. (GD) – The U.S. Navy last week awarded submarine contracts worth up to $4.5 billion to the company andHuntington Ingalls Industries Inc (HII), securing the funds from automatic budget cuts if Congress cannot reach agreement on other ways to reduce U.S. deficits.
Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) – Mike Lynch, the founder of the software firm, Autonomy, sold to the company last year in a deal tainted by accusations of accounting fraud, said he would defend its accounts to U.S Federal investigators. HP confirmed in a filing late on Thursday that the U.S. Department of Justice was investigating Autonomy’s books.


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