Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Buzz Stocks: Affymetrix, UnitedHealth, Facebook, and American Express

Today's stocks to watch in the news include AFFX, UNH, FB, WMT, and AXP

by 10/8/2012 8:58 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:

It's a slow morning today, as some industries (and the bond market) are closed in observance of Columbus Day. U.S. markets are indicated lower thanks to disconcerting news out of East Asia. There will be plenty of excitement at home later this week, however, as earnings season begins. For today, here are a few stocks to watch in the news:

  • Affymetrix, Inc. (NASDAQ:AFFX) warned that third-quarter revenue will miss consensus expectations, coming in around $80 million versus estimates of $85 million. Company officials said a drop in academic funding has impacted its eBioscience business unit. (MarketWatch)

  • UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) will pay roughly $4.9 billion to acquire a 90% stake in Brazilian-based insurer Amil Participacoes SA. The transaction will be completed in two parts, as UNH buys 60% of outstanding shares in the fourth quarter (assuming regulatory approval) and then scoop up an additional 30% in the first half of 2012. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

  • Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is slashing a $3 billion line of credit received in May to $1.5 billion, but it's not necessarily good news. Due to the sizable drop in FB stock, the social-media concern no longer needs the larger amount of cash to pay for tax liabilities associated with employee stock. (The Wall Street Journal)

  • Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) and American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) are holding a joint "financial services" announcement this morning. As the large majority (85%) of transactions at the discount retailer are paid for with cash, WMT has been striving to provide alternatives to its customers that have limited or no credit. (Yahoo!)

  • General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) said its auto sales in China rose just 1.7% in September, disappointing some analysts. The Detroit-based automaker failed to make much headway in the nation amid plummeting sales for Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM) and other Japanese auto concerns. European manufacturers, however (including BMW and Audi) enjoyed double-digit sales increases for the month. (Reuters)

  • Finally, Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) is scaring its customers a few weeks before Halloween: some stores are running out of the syrup necessary for creating the popular Pumpkin Spice Latte. Officials with Starbucks note the "pumpkin emergency" is not the result of a widespread shortage, but rather certain locations receiving infrequent delivers of the syrup. (The Wall Street Journal)

Here are some additional articles of interest:

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