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Analyst: Airlines Will Lose $1 Billion in 2008; New Gold Scoops Two Miners for $1.34 Billion; Oil Slips 4%; Monsanto Plants Seeds For the Future; Hallmark Rewarded with Healthy 2007; Merck and Schering Plunge; Vertex Stock Soars; New Intel Joint Venture
- A report from Calyon Securities predicted the U.S. airline industry would lose more than $1 billion in 2008, mostly from the one-two combo of high fuel costs and shrinking demand, Reuters reported. However, top carriers Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL), Northwest Airlines Corp. (NWA) and Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV) are best positioned to weather the storm, analyst Ray Neidl said.
- Canadian gold producer New Gold Inc. (NGD) will acquire two smaller miners, Colorado-based Metallic Resources Inc. (MRB) and Peak Gold Ltd, for a combined total of $1.34 billion.
- Crude oil fell more than $4 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday (Monday) on signs that a slowing U.S. economy will increase stockpiles and curb demand. A government report to be released April 2 is expected to show that U.S. crude-oil inventories rose for the 11th time in 12 weeks last week. Crude oil for May delivery fell $4.12, or 3.9%, to $101.50 a barrel at the 2:30 p.m. close of floor trading on the NYMEX Bloomberg reported.
- Monsanto Co. (MON) announced it would pay $863 million for the Netherlands’ De Ruiter Seeds Group BV to build on its vegetable-seed business. Chief Financial Officer Terry Crews said the deal – which Monsanto intends to finance with cash – is expected to add to the company’s results by the second-full fiscal year following the closing, the Wall Street Journal reported.
- Privately held Hallmark Cards Inc., the nation’s largest greeting card seller, announced double-digit growth in 2007 profit, yesterday (Monday). Hallmark reported total worldwide annual revenue rose 8% to $4.4 billion. Hallmark North America had a 7% increase in sales.
- Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK) saw shares plunge over 14% yesterday (Monday), as its shares shed $6.56 to close at $37.95. The sell-off was sparked by a speech given at an American College of Cardiology meeting in Chicago on Sunday that questioned the effectiveness of drugs that target LDL, or bad cholesterol, . Schering-Plough Corp. (SGP), Merck’s joint-venture partner in the cholesterol drug Vytorin,also dropped over 25% with a decline of $5.06 to close at $14.41.
- Shares of drug-maker Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX) rocketed up 28% yesterday (Monday) after it released positive data on its closely watched Telaprevir, an oral medication in development to treat hepatitis C, The Wall Street Journal reported. The stock gained $5.23 to close at $23.89.
- Intel Corp. (INTC) announced yesterday (Monday) that it had closed a deal to create a flash memory chip company along with fellow chipmaker STMMicroelectronics NV (STM) and investment company Francisco Partners Management LLC, . The new firm, named Numonyx B.V., will manufacture NOR and NAND flash memory chips used in digital cameras and many other small electronic devices.