Markets & Finance

Nissan Board Approves Talks with GM


From Standard & Poor's Equity Research

Nissan Motor Co.'s board approves talks with General Motors (GM) over a possible alliance. Banc of America upgrades GM to neutral from sell.

Ford Motor (F) posts a 7% decline in U.S. sales for June. Car sales rose 7%, but truck sales fell 14%.

AG Edwards downgraded NIC Inc. (EGOV) to hold from buy on valuation.

Millicom International Cellular (MICC) shares fall sharply after the company reportedly ends talks with China Mobile Communications Corp. after the two companies couldn't agree on final price for Chinese the company's acquisition of Millicom, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Merge Technologies (MRGE) shares fell after an audit committee says because of improper reporting practices, reporting periods in 2002-05 shouldn't be relied upon. The company names chairman Michael Dunham, princ. exec officer, Brian Pedlar, Robert White as co-presidents and co-CEOs.

Qiao Xing Universal Telephone (XING) says it expects net sales to increase up to 30% from year earlier to reach $463 million, with net income to grow at an average yearly rate of 35% from 2006-2010.

Summit Bancshares (SBIT) shares jump after the company agrees to be acquired by Cullen/Frost Bankers (CFR) in a $363.5 million deal. Terms: Summit shareholders to receive cash or Cullen/Frost common stock, in either case having value equal to $11.50 plus 0.2933 Cullen/Frost share.

Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) expects June same-store sales to rise approximately 1.2%.

Ceradyne (CRDN) receives new 60-month Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity government contract for Enhanced Side Ballistic Inserts with maximum value of $611.7 million. The company receives an initial delivery order for $59.8 million.

Citigroup (C) is seen higher as Barron's reports that if the stock remains sluggish, there could be calls for company to be broken up or for CEO Prince to be replaced (in the article, Prince rejected any discussion on separating company).

Michaels Stores (MIK) says it will recapitalize the company in a $6 billion deal with investment by two private investment firms, Bain Capital and The Blackstone Group, who will own substantially all of company. Terms: $44 cash per Michaels share.

Encore Medical (ENMC) agrees to be acquired by the company controlled by Blackstone Capital Partners V L.P. in a $870 million going private deal. Terms: $6.55 cash for each Encore share.

EZCORP (EZPW) raises 20-23 cents third-quarter earnings per share guidance to 35-37 cents on stronger-than-expected sales gross profit, primarily due to higher gold values and lower-than-expected EPS drag from new store openings. The company sees $1.80-$1.85 fiscal year 2006 EPS.


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