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The U.K.’s biggest banks have been accused of profiting from risky interest rate derivative products at the expense of their business clients. The banks include HSBC (NYSE:HBC), Barclays (NYSE:BCS), Lloyds (NYSE:LYG) and RBS (NYSE:RBS); they could see billions of pounds in damage as a result of legal action. According to The Sunday Telegraph, many of the claimants who are small and medium business, said they were unaware of the large costs from the products that had been sold to them to “protect loans from upward movements in interest rates.”
PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE:PEP) is adding to its management bench and is getting a possible successor ready for its Chairman and Chief Executive Indra Nooyi. They are bringing in an external candidate for a senior management role while tapping an internal candidate for a new post. This comes in light of investor unhappiness with the company’s current business numbers.
Chinese online video company Youku Inc. (NYSE:YOKU) announced plans to merge with its competitor Tudou Holdings Ltd (NASDAQ:TUDO) in an all-stock transaction, according to MarketWatch. The agreement has Tudou’s Class A and Class B share of Tudou to be exchanged for 7.177 shares of Youku; ADR shares of Tudou will then be swapped for 1.595 Youku ADSs. The new company will be called Youku Tudou Inc.
According to a corporate statement, Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) supplies of its new iPads for pre-order sales have sold out. Apple’s website estimates that preorders for the tablet should ship by Friday. Previously, Apple had said the preordered iPads would be available on its launch day. Customers had been limited to two iPads in preordering.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the company will announce on Monday that senior Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) executive Brian Cornell will lead its biggest and and most profitable business unit while senior company executive John Compton will be named to a new president position.
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Shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) climbed higher in early Monday trading. The tech giant announced that pre-orders for the new iPad sold out worldwide. Orders are now delayed around 2 to 3 weeks.
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SINA Corp. (NASDAQ:SINA) shared jumped 4.6 percent this morning. The company claims that 60 percent of Weibo’s users have registered their real names before the Chinese government’s Friday deadline to do so. Weibo is estimated to have more than 250 million users.
The Hershey Co. (NYSE:HSY) increased 1.3 percent higher in early trading. The candy company received an upgrade from Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS). The bank upgraded the company to a buy and said it “benefits from portfolio resilience at home and strong momentum abroad and we see it as one of the few that can maintain organic sales growth momentum and beat earnings expectations.” Goldman has a 12-month price target of $69 for Hershey.
Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) shares edged 1 percent lower in morning trading. The media company was believed to partner up with a major cable provider, but many are denying such deals. Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) and Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) all announced that they are not interested.
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Youku Inc. (NYSE:YOKU): Youku and Tudou Holdings (NASDAQ:TUDO) announced that they have signed a definitive agreement for Tudou to combine with Youku in a 100% stock-for-stock transaction. Under the terms of the agreement, each Class A ordinary share and Class B ordinary share of Tudou issued and outstanding immediately prior to the effective time of the merger will be cancelled in exchange for the right to receive 7.177 Class A ordinary shares of Youku, and each American depositary share of Tudou, to each of which represents four Tudou Class B ordinary shares, will be cancelled in exchange for the right to receive 1.595 American depositary shares of Youku, each of which represents 18 Youku Class A ordinary shares resulting in Youku and Tudou shareholders and ADS holders owning approximately 71.5% and 28.5% of the combined entity, respectively, immediately upon completion of the transaction. Upon completion, the combined entity will be named Youku Tudou Inc. Youku’s ADSs will continue to be listed on the NYSE under the symbol “YOKU”. The combination is expected to close in Q3 of 2012. Shares of Youku Inc are trading 16.67% higher today.
Douglas Dynamics, Inc. (NYSE:PLOW): Reported Q4 revenue $60.3M, up 24.3% year-over-year. There are no consensus estimates. Shares of Douglas Dynamics, Inc. are trading 0.31% higher today.
Amerigon Incorporated (NASDAQ:ARGN): Reported Q4 revenue $$131M versus consensus $119.96M. Amerigon sees 2012 revenueup about 10% vs. 2011 combined $502.2M. The 2012 revenue consensus is $512.15M. Shares of Amerigon Incorporated are trading 3.69% higher today.
Anthera Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:ANTH): Leerink did not expect success for Anthera’s Phase III VISTA-16 study, and says its Outperform rating on the stock is based on the company’s pan-BAFF inhibitor for lupus. The firm finds the risk/reward profile on shares as attractive amid today’s sell-off. Shares of Anthera Pharmaceuticals Inc are trading 48.75% lower today.
ZOLL Medical Corporation (NASDAQ:ZOLL): Asahi Kasei and ZOLL Medical Corporation jointly announced that Asahi Kasei has entered into a definitive merger agreement with ZOLL, a manufacturer of resuscitation and critical care devices and related software solutions, pursuant to which Asahi Kasei will acquire ZOLL for approximately $2.21B. The transaction has been approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies. Asahi Kasei, through a U.S. subsidiary, will make a cash tender offer to purchase all of the outstanding shares of ZOLL common stock for $93 per share. The purchase price represents a premium of 29.6% over ZOLL’s volume weighted average closing stock price over the 30 trading day period ended March 9, 2012, and a 23.8% premium over the closing price on March 9, 2012. Following the completion of the tender offer, Asahi Kasei intends to implement a second-step merger pursuant to which all remaining shares of ZOLL common stock not tendered in the offer will be converted into the right to receive the same cash price per share as in the offer. Upon completion of the merger, ZOLL will become a wholly owned subsidiary within the Asahi Kasei Group, managed by the current ZOLL management team and with all current business units and operations remaining intact. Shares of ZOLL Medical Corporation are trading 23.58% higher today.
Tranzyme Inc (NASDAQ:TZYM): Tranzyme Pharma and Norgine B.V. announced top-line results of the primary analysis of ULISES 007, the first of two Phase 3 pivotal trials evaluating ulimorelin. The trial failed to meet its primary and secondary efficacy endpoints. The company is now focusing on our oral drug TZP-102 which is currently in a phase 2b trial for the treatment of diabetic gastroparesis. In this trial, Tranzyme is looking for improvement in upper GI symptoms over a twelve-week treatment period. Shares of Tranzyme Inc are trading 61.18% lower today.
Tudou Hldg Ltd (NASDAQ:TUDO): Youku (NYSE:YOKU) and Tudou Holdings (NASDAQ:TUDO) announced that they have signed a definitive agreement for Tudou to combine with Youku in a 100% stock-for-stock transaction. Under the terms of the agreement, each Class A ordinary share and Class B ordinary share of Tudou issued and outstanding immediately prior to the effective time of the merger will be cancelled in exchange for the right to receive 7.177 Class A ordinary shares of Youku, and each American depositary share of Tudou, to each of which represents four Tudou Class B ordinary shares, will be cancelled in exchange for the right to receive 1.595 American depositary shares of Youku, each of which represents 18 Youku Class A ordinary shares resulting in Youku and Tudou shareholders and ADS holders owning approximately 71.5% and 28.5% of the combined entity, respectively, immediately upon completion of the transaction. Upon completion, the combined entity will be named Youku Tudou Inc. Youku’s ADSs will continue to be listed on the NYSE under the symbol “YOKU”. The combination is expected to close in Q3 of 2012. Shares of Tudou Hldg Ltd are trading 157.89% higher today.
Clean Diesel Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:CDTI): Clean Diesel Technologies announced that its board has named R. Craig Breese as its new president and CEO, and has appointed him to serve on the company’s board. Breese has more than 30 years of experience in senior business management roles. He most recently served as president of Honeywell Consumer Products Group. Shares of Clean Diesel Technologies, Inc. are trading 59.16% higher today.
Velti Plc (NASDAQ:VELT): Augme Technologies (AUGT) announced that it has filed a patent infringement lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Delaware against Velti USA (NASDAQ:VELT). Augme is asserting three causes of action involving patent infringement related to Augme-owned U.S. Patent No. 7,783,721, 7,269,636, and 6,594,691. Augme seeks injunctive relief to prevent Defendant from continuing to infringe Augme’s patents. In addition, Augme seeks a recovery of monetary damages resulting from Defendant’s past infringement of these patents and all legal fees associated with this patent enforcement effort. Shares of Velti Plc are trading 12.53% higher today.
Markets closed mixed on Wall Street today: Dow +0.29%, S&P +0.02%, Nasdaq -0.16%, Oil -0.92%, Gold -0.64%.
On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) fell to $106.41 a barrel. Precious metals were also down, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling to $1,700.60 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) fell 1.73% to settle at $33.62.
Today’s markets were mixed because:
1) Fed. Investors adopted a wait-and-see stance today that made for rather thin trading as they looked forward to a couple key announcements from the Federal Reserve. On Tuesday, the Fed is expected to announce that it will leave key interest rates unchanged at very low levels, but investors will be looking for signs as to how the central bank plans to proceed in the coming months. Investors are also awaiting the results of the Fed’s latest bank stress tests, expectations for which caused several stocks to slide, including Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS), and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS).
2) Companies. Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) was also down because the bank said Friday it would significantly slash mortgage balances for as many as 200,000 borrowers as part of the $26 billion settlement reached between the federal government and five major mortgage servicers. Tudou (NASDAQ:TUDO) shares shot up 157 percent after it announced its merger with Youku (NYSE:YOKU). PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) shares climbed on the news that Brian Cornell rejoined the company as CEO of PepsiCo Americas Food, and that John Compton would become president.
3) Gas. The national average price for a gallon of gas rose above $3.80 on Monday, according to a survey conducted for the motorist group AAA. Prices gained 3.4 cents a gallon over the weekend.
Shares of Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) popped almost 1 percent in late trading. The Internet company filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Facebook. The social giant responded by saying, “We’re disappointed that Yahoo’s effort to engage with us was limited to a few short phone calls … We will defend ourselves vigorously against these puzzling actions.” Facebook’s news feed is one of the features Yahoo takes issue with.
GNC Holdings Inc. (NYSE:GNC) jumped 2.9 percent after the closing bell. The company reported that same store sales for January and February increased by a percentage point. The company also reaffirmed guidance in line with Street estimates.
CME Group (NASDAQ:CME) shares edged slightly higher after the company said Chief Executive Officer Craig Donohue will step down at the end of 2012. Donohue’s contract expires at the end of the year and is expected to be replaced by President Phupinder Gill.
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Several big banks are receiving a boost in late trading. The Federal Reserve is expected to release stress test results on Thursday after the closing bell. “Even with stressful scenarios, the stress tests will demonstrate that banks are in a stronger place, far stronger than in 2008,” said Fred Cannon, director of research at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. in Washington. “We think companies like J.P. Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) and U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) will show meaningful increases in dividend and share repurchase plans.”
After announcing fourth quarter results, Urban Outfitters Inc. (NASDAQ:URBN) shares fell more than 1 percent. Net income for the company fell 47.8 percent to $39.3 million (27 cents per share), compared to $75.2 million (45 cents per share) a year earlier.
Youku Inc. (NYSE:YOKU) shares continue to edge higher after closing 27 percent higher during regular market hours. Tudou Holdings (NASDAQ:TUDO) is merging with Youku.com in an all-stock swap to create a major online video provider.
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