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Buzz Stocks: AIG, Sears Holdings, Anheuser-Busch, and Merck

Today's hot stocks to watch in the news include AIG, SHLD, BUD, and MRK

by 1/8/2013 8:45 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:

U.S. stock futures are sitting slightly south of breakeven this morning with the unofficial start of earnings season mere hours away. Turning to company news, here are some names to watch today:

  • American International Group, Inc. (NYSE:AIG) may join a $25 billion shareholder lawsuit against the U.S. government, which four years ago saved the insurance company from bankruptcy. While AIG remains grateful for the bailout, it contends certain aspects of the deal -- including high interest rates -- were not in the best interest of company shareholders. As AIG considers its next move, it must weigh shareholder satisfaction versus public perception, as many would consider such a filing to be a flagrant show of ingratitude. (The New York Times)

  • Following last month's food safety issues in China-based KFC restaurants, Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) warned of lagging sales in that country. YUM is predicting a 6% dip in sales for its fourth quarter, a larger decline than previously estimated, and well off its outstanding 21% sales growth last year. (Reuters; CNNMoney)

  • The CEO of Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ:SHLD), Louis D'Ambrosio, will depart the company next month to deal with a family member's medical concerns. At the request of SHLD's board, Chairman Edward Lampert -- whose ESL Investments holds a 34.14% stake in the retailer -- will step into the position. (Reuters)

  • It looks like drug giant Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) is seriously contemplating a takeover of Bausch & Lomb Inc. MRK CEO Kenneth Frazier -- who is strategizing ways to bolster the company's already diverse business holdings -- expressed interest in acquiring the eye-care specialist from Warburg Pincus LLC for about $10 billion. (Bloomberg)

  • Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (ADR) (NYSE:BUD) hopes you'll be among the anticipated 110 million viewers tuning into the Super Bowl this year. After introducing Bud Light Platinum at last year's match, BUD will officially debut its latest brand, Budweiser Black Crown, during the Big Game this year. Based on consumer feedback, Black Crown was selected from a pack of limited-edition brews that were available in 2012. With more alcohol content than Budweiser, and a slightly higher price tag, Vice President Rob McCarthy expects to score big. "This brand will appeal to a broad range of beer drinkers, but especially to 21-to-34-year-old, trend-setting-type consumers," McCarthy noted. (USA Today)

  • McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) is continuing to broaden its culinary horizons, bringing its test of the "Mighty Wings" chicken-wing product to the Chicago market after a successful experiment in Atlanta. There are not yet plans to introduce the wings in other cities, and doing so could be a costly proposition; wholesale chicken-wing prices have increased by 26% in the past year to $1.90 a pound. (USA Today)

  • Finally, Sina Weibo -- the Chinese alternative to Twitter -- has a new high-profile fan in Brad Pitt. The American actor announced his presence via his verified account, declaring, "It is the truth. Yup, I'm coming." (Mashable)

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