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Global Investing Roundups
Google Management Changes; Slovakia GDP Sizzles; Staples 4Q Profit Falls; Applied Materials Scores Solar Deal; iPhone on Track, Says Jobs; Nike and Apple Hit the Gym; Citigroup Hits Nine Year Low; YUM! President Enjoys Options Buffet
- Google Inc. (GOOG) shares slumped yesterday (Tuesday) after Sheryl Sandberg, vice president of global online sales and operations left to become social networking site Facebook Inc.’s Chief Operating Officer. Shares of the search giant fell 2.72%, or $12.42 to close at $444.60. “There's nervousness related to Google, but it's macro-related,” Rob Sanderson of American Technology Reasearch told MarketWatch. “There is a lot of concern about consumer spending in the U.S. and there's a lot of concern about paid clicks.”
- Slovakia’s economy expanded a blistering 14.3% in the fourth quarter, a one-off effect of stockpiled cigarettes awaiting export to avoid a January increase in tobacco excise tax, the Slovak Statistics Office said. Still, growth was higher than anticipated, bringing full-year growth to 10.4%. The Eastern Europe country’s economy grew 9.4% in the third quarter 2007. The Statistics Office said it expects the economy to advance 7.5% in the first half of 2008.
- Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT) announced yesterday (Tuesday) that it had signed contracts with several solar factories to supply and install new equipment. The contracts are valued at $1.9 billion. Analyst Timothy Arcuri of Citigroup, Inc. (C) told MarketWatch the plan is part of a major project in Suzhou, China, “that includes wealthy individuals related to the solar industry, a big component of government sponsorship and may also include some existing solar ventures.” Shares rose 7.63%, or $1.44, to close at $20.32 the day the deal was announced.
- Speaking at the annual meeting of shareholders yesterday (Tuesday), Chief Executive Officer AAPL) has no plans to pay a dividend or pursue a share buyback. Jobs also confirmed the company was on track to hit its 10 million unit sales goal for the iPhone, despite a weakening U.S. economy. Reuters reported the company’s cash reserves now top $18 billion, which led to speculation of a dividend or share repurchase plan. said Apple Inc. (
- Nike Inc. (NKE) and Apple Inc. (AAPL) announced that they are taking steps to make the iPod compatible with gym equipment the . The companies said yesterday (Tuesday) they are working with several gym equipment makers and health clubs to allow members to plug their iPod Nano into cardio equipment. The Nanos would track workouts, set goals and upload the information to a Nike Web site. The new technology is expected to hit more than 500 gyms worldwide this summer.
- Citigroup Inc. (C) stock dropped to a nine year low yesterday (Tuesday), to close at $22.07, down 4.42%. Shares have tumbled 26% this year, after falling 47% last year. Citigroup may have $15 billion of writedowns this quarter tied to subprime mortgages and collateralized debt obligations, leaving the bank with a net loss of $1.66 a share, Merrill Lynch & Co. (MER) analyst Guy Moszkowski said yesterday in a research note to clients.
- The president of fast-food chain operator Yum Brands Inc. (YUM) exercised options for 18,730 shares of common stock under a prearranged trading plan, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Monday. In a Form 4 filed with the SEC, Christian Campbell reported he exercised options for the shares on Monday for $12.20 apiece and then sold them all the same day for $34.03 to $34.10 apiece, the