DJIA Week in Review: Coca-Cola’s Health Obstacle, New BofA Plan Comes in July

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Tuesday

Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) and Brazil-based Multilaser Industrial Ltda. have amicably settled their patent litigation regarding the former’s integrated printhead inkjet cartridges. Multilaser now acknowledges that H-P’s patents are valid and were infringed upon, and also agrees to cease the sale of the cartridges in Brazil and in other countries, in which H-P has corresponding patent rights. In addition, Multilaser will pay part of the litigation costs to H-P.

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Intel Corporation’s (NASDAQ:INTC) Atom D525 Pineview processor is said to be experiencing significant supply shortfalls, as several IPC providers project shipment drops in May and June that could even impact third quarter performance, say upstream sources to Digitimes.

Microsoft Corporation’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Skype, which was purchased by Microsoft in 2011, hasn’t yet been integrated across the former’s products, reports The New York Times, but by the end of 2012, Skype is expected to release a preliminary version of its software that runs on Microsoft’s Windows 8. Further, it’s thought by analysts that Skype needs to give its buyer’s products “an edge”, in order to justify the high price for which it was paid.

EI DuPont de Nemours & Co.’s (NYSE:DD) Pioneer Hi-Bred unit, one of the world’s top agricultural businesses, and Pannar Seed Ltd, a South African-based seed company, have on Tuesday been given the green light to go forward with their agreement for Pioneer to acquire a majority share of Pannar, assuming that certain conditions and commitments are met. The South African Competition Appeal Court announced it’s okaying the deal, which overturns an earlier decision by the South African Competition Tribunal. Approval of the purchase was also required in Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia, where it was already okayed. The financials of the deal were undisclosed.

Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC) Merrill Lynch introduces exact auth override, which represents an improvement to the flagship card solution, ePayables. The new added service will commence in mid-July and will complete the suite of payment options for clients using ePayables.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) divested an estimated $25 billion of profitable securities in an effort to shore up its earnings following trading losses linked to the bank’s now-infamous “London Whale”, which compounded the cost of those trades, says a Reuters report.

Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA): The Senate Armed Services Committee has passed a defense budget of almost $4 billion less than a similar bill that was approved by the House, reports The Hill, adding that it also disagreed on the need for an East Coast missile shield, plus several social earmarks that were attached to the defense blueprints.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) reports that the first 10 outlets of its small-format stores have performed well and more are coming, in a strategy that creates further competition for Tesco’s (TSCDY) Fresh & Easy U.S. business, according to a Financial Times report.

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Wednesday

Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) Enterprise Services reports that the Oklahoma State and Education Employees Group Insurance Board, which is a state agency that supplies insurance benefits to Oklahoma’s employees and educators, has completed a contract for H-P to continue providing claims processing and other services. The one-year agreement takes effect Jan. 1, 2014, and provides four one-year renewals. Overall, the total value of the agreement is $90 million if all five years are executed.

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Intel Corporation’s (NASDAQ:INTC) notebook shipments in Brazil will increase upwards of 50 percent in the second half, says a Digitimes report.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) makes the fact quite clear that Zune is dead and that its Xbox will become the music and video solution for all Microsoft products, according to a report by The Next Web. Through a blog post, Microsoft comments that “This year, Xbox becomes the premium entertainment service for Microsoft. Whether on your PC, tablet, TV or phone, Xbox will be a gateway to the best in music and video, your favorite games and instant access to your friends.”.

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) subsidiary Caterpillar Global Mining and Barloworld Limited have inked an agreement that allows Barloworld to purchase the Bucyrus equipment distribution and support business in South Africa and Botswana, in a deal valued at about $115 million. Also, the Caterpillar unit has assigned its agreements with Eqstra NH Equipment Limited and Eqstra Botswana Limited for the acquisition of Eqstra’s South Africa and Botswana Bucyrus distributorship and mining services divisions to Barloworld . For the latter, the total transaction’s value amounts to approximately $175 million, which includes the former Eqstra mining services units.

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Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS) CEO Iger’s comments at Sanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference, include the evaluation that the cruise ships business is “solid”, and that he foresees the ramping down of capital investment in domestic parks. Further, Iger expects that his company will produce two Marvel films per year, and that Pixar might do the same. Financially, the CEO reported that Disney ‘will be opportunistic in buying back stock’, and that it ‘will look opportunistically at acquisitions’. In addition, Iger forecasts that the Interactive unit will be profitable in 2013, and that AutoHop is “harmful”, and will also hurt Dish’s (NASDAQ:DISH) business.

McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE:MCD) executives comment at the Sanford Bernstein Strategic Decision Conference that their company is set to open 1,300 new restaurants in the current year, and to update another 225. As for macroeconomic factors, they point to higher commodity costs in U.S., the ongoing austerity measures in Europe, and slowing growth in Asia. McDonald’s is aiming towards long-term systemwide sales growth of between 3 and 5 percent, with long-term operating income growth in a range of 6 to 7 percent.

Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA) Airbus (EADSY) may have to reconfigure its A350-1000 wide-body jet, which is the subsidiary’s alternative to the Boeing 777, as order cancellations increase and its design is criticized by airlines, according to Bloomberg. A redesign would provide Boeing some time before it would have to commit to replacing its top-selling twin-aisle airliner. The company has an advantage in wide-body planes, which provide larger profits because they are priced three times higher.

Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC) CEO Brian Moynihan reports at the Sanford Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference that “everything” for U.S. consumer is “steady as we go,” and that U.S. businesses are “not taking chances” or expanding, but are making money. He also remarked that legacy asset servicing costs are “sort of peaking” as they are “starting to come down.” Further, Moynihan expects that the next phase of the “New Bank of America” will be outlined in July, and that teams have work to do, time to grow loans and that C&I loans need to grow more, while it’s not necessary to grow the balance sheet to grow the business. Finally, the CEO says that Bank of America does not need capital to expand its core businesses.

American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) expects “good growth opportunities in U.S.”, taken from comments in a presentation at the Sanford Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference.

JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s (NYSE:JPM) will make an investment of up to 29.96 percent in the French digital video firm Technicolor (TCLRY), according to Reuters. The latter’s board backs the move, as opposed to the bid from private equity firm Vector Capital.

The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE:TRV): Allstate Corp. (NYSE:ALL) is benefiting from the decline in tornadoes, and projections of fewer major hurricanes, and leads the way among property and casualty insurers to the best yearly start since 2003, says a Bloomberg report. Broker Alon Plc calculates that insured losses from severe weather in the United States came to approximately $1 billion in April, which compares to losses of about $16 billion due to severe weather in April and May of 2011.

Thursday

Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) is among the multinational corporations that are ‘trapped’ in Israel due to its high 15 percent dividend tax. Others are Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), Check Point Software (NASDAQ:CHKP), Motorola Solutions (NYSE:MSI), and Teva Pharmaceutical (NASDAQ:TEVA), which holds NIS 40 billion of the NIS 100 billion, according to Globes.

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Intel Corporation, AT&T (NYSE:T), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) are backing a United States-led effort to prevent a United Nations agency from extending its powers to the Internet, which could increase costs for American corporations offering online services overseas, says a Wall Street Journal report.

JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s (NYSE:JPM) CIO division which was responsible for a minimum of $2 billion in losses on credit derivatives was valuing some of its trades at prices which differed from those of its investment bank, according to sources to Bloomberg, which also said that this oversight might have obscured by hundreds of millions of dollars the magnitude of the loss prior to its being disclosed on May 10.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE:CVX) has released a statement in response to reports that the Lago Agrio plaintiffs’ lawyers have initiated recognition and enforcement actions of their fraudulent judgment in Canada, which reads: The Ecuador judgment is a product of bribery, fraud, and it is illegitimate. The company does not believe that the Ecuador judgment is enforceable in any court that observes the rule of law. If the plaintiffs’ lawyers believed in the integrity of their judgment, they would be seeking enforcement in the U.S. where Chevron resides.

Exxon Mobil Corporation’s (NYSE:XOM) hydraulic fracturing have increased, even though they have eased at Chevron (NYSE:CVX), while the two oil giants must deal with increased shareholder pressure to appoint independent chairmen to improve governance, says a Reuters report.

Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA) is facing a significant decrease in cargo jet orders, due to the slowing of China’s economy, and as the debt crisis in Europe goes unabated, says Bloomberg.

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The Coca-Cola Company’s (NYSE:KO) and Pepsi’s (NYSE:PEP) soda sales could be impacted as soon as next March, by New York City’s Bloomberg administration, as it plans to implement a wide-based ban on large sizes of the drinks, as well as other sugary beverages, says a New York Times report. The ban, which would be the first of its kind in the U.S., would affect sugared drinks larger than 16 oz., including sodas and sweetened teas and coffees, but not fruit juices, diet sodas, milk shakes or alcoholic beverages.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ): The U.S. House of Representatives has okayed legislation that would raise user fees that companies pay the FDA for its reviews. Bloomberg Businessweek believes that the fee rise should result in more meetings with the FDA and perhaps quicken product approvals.

General Electric Co.’s (NYSE:GE) Healthcare unit Clarient Diagnostic Services and molecular diagnostics company Insight Genetics have reported a global licensing agreement for intellectual property from Insight Genetics, which allows Clarient the rights to develop a genetic test covering the anaplastic lymphoma kinase biomarker, which is a promising target for several classes of cancer drugs. Clarient expects to develop and study the performance characteristics of a quantitative PCR-based test which detects increased transcription of the ALK gene. Several therapeutics compounds, which are known as ALK inhibitors, are in clinical evaluations and one of them – Xalkori – already has FDA approval.

Friday

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) reports that the Windows Upgrade Offer is available to consumers purchasing a qualifying (eligible) new Windows 7 PC. This Offer gives buyers the option to acquire a downloadable upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for an estimated price of $14.99 during the promotion, which will be redeemable when Windows 8 becomes generally available. The program begins Saturday in 131 markets including the U.S. and Canada and is available if consumers buy new Windows 7 PCs that are pre-installed with Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional or Ultimate and include a matching and valid OEM Certificate of Authenticity.

Pfizer Inc.’s (NYSE:PFE) Group President of Animal Health, Consumer Healthcare and Consumer Strategy Cavan M. Redmond, has been named as the new CEO for WebMD (NASDAQ:WBMD) and as a member of its Board of Directors, effective May 31. At Pfizer, Redmond was also responsible for two diverse businesses while leading Pfizer’s enterprise-wide Strategy, R&D Portfolio Management and Analysis, Global Commercial Operations and Continuous Improvement.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) Chairman Rob Walton remarked at the company’s annual meeting in Arkansas that it’s taking bribery and cover-up allegations linked with its operations in Mexico “very seriously”, according to a Dow Jones report. Walton added that his company is working with the U.S. government “to find out what happened”.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM) is mulling a multibillion-dollar upgrade at its petrochemical facility near Houston, says the Wall Street Journal. Such an expansion would include the construction of a new ethane cracker and other facilities at the Baytown refining and petrochemical complex.

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Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC): Layoffs in the financial services industry increased in May, says the Wall Street Journal. Kelly Eggers at career resource firm Fins.com., pointed to the monthly planned layoffs report from the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas in Chicago, which reports that layoffs at banks, brokerages and other financial institutions jumped from 1,768 in April to 4,424 in May. So far in 2012, there have been 17,284 sector layoffs.

General Electric Co. (NYSE:GE): GE Capital CEO Michael Neal told an investor conference that, “We thought Europe was going to be this bad, and we weren’t disappointed”, adding that Europe’s troubles will have an impact on the company’s profitability, but that the risk is “manageable, says a Reuters report.

Intel Corporation’s (NASDAQ:INTC) Intel Capital reveals investments in two Southeast Asian companies: Singapore-based Reebonz.com and Hanoi-based Vietnam Communications Corporation, or VC Corp. The new stakes amount to around $17 million, and support the continuing strategy of engaging local online experiences to help boost the adoption of technology, and increased high speed broadband usage across the region.

JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s (NYSE:JPM) recent trading fiasco will be the subject of an expanded investigation by Federal regulators, who will use new power gained in the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law, according to sources to the Wall Street Journal.

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