Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog
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U.S. stocks are flirting with breakeven ahead of the bell, as traders weigh the latest batch of housing stats. In company news, here are some stocks to watch today:

  • The pharmaceutical sector continues to be an M&A hot spot, with Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) agreeing to buy Chile-based CFR Pharmaceuticals for about $2.9 billion, plus roughly $430 million in debt. The purchase is expected to add $900 million in 2015 revenue, and translate into double-digit sales growth over the next few years. (Chicago Tribune)

  • Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) said it will sell its Red Lobster chain to Golden Gate Capital for $2.1 billion in cash. The struggling Olive Garden parent earlier this week confirmed that it underwent another round of layoffs at its Orlando base. (Associated Press, via ABC News; Orlando Sentinel)

  • The shares of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:WWE) are poised to lose about half their value out of the gate, amid concerns about a new long-term TV deal with NBCUniversal, owned by Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA). While terms of the agreement weren't disclosed, some analysts estimate the deal consisted of a 50% hike in domestic TV rights fees for WWE. (MarketWatch)

  • Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) bought 11 million more shares of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) in the first quarter, and upped its stake in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) by 17%, according to regulatory filings. On the flip side, the hedge fund reduced its stake in recall-plagued General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) by 25% from the fourth quarter. (CNBC)

  • In other hedge fund news, Carl Icahn disclosed a new, 27.8-million-share stake in eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) in the first quarter, while buying 2.8 million more Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares. Meanwhile, the billionaire activist decreased his holdings of Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX). (The Wall Street Journal)

  • Also, J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) and Applied Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAT) reported quarterly earnings. (USA Today; Bloomberg Businessweek)

  • Finally, virtual bulletin board Pinterest raised an additional $200 million in funding, bolstering its valuation to $5 billion, the company said in a statement. The firm said it will use the cash to further develop its advertising program, expand internationally, and invest in technology. (Reuters)

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