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Sohu Soars on 156% Jump in Revenue; Price of Crude Can't be Contained; Kerkorian Riding Shotgun at Ford; Verizon Gets a Boost From Wireless Business; Visa Profit Up 28%; BoA to Modify $40 Billion in Loans; Corn Continues to Grow in Price; Questar's Piping Hot Earnings Report
- Chinese Internet media company Sohu.com Inc. (SOHU) announced its soared 156% year-over-year to $84.8 million, exceeding the high end of company guidance by $16.3 million. Shares climbed 14.51% on the news, closing at $70.81 a share.
- Crude oil rose to a record $119.93 a barrel in New York on the shutdown of a North Sea pipeline and as a strike and militant attacks reduced output from Nigeria. Oil has shot up 80% in the past year as supply failed to keep up with surging demand in China, India and the Middle East.
- Investor Kirk Kerkorian said he bought 100 million Ford Motor Co. (F) shares – a 4.7% stake in the company. He intends to buy more in a vote of support for Chief Executive Officer , according to Bloomberg News. Ford rose 9.5% to close at $8.21 a share.
- Verizon Communications Inc.'s (VZ) profit climbed 9.8% boosted largely by the telecommunications carrier's wireless growth. Verizon reported net income of $1.64 billion, or 57 cents a share, for the first quarter, compared with $1.5 billion, or 51 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 5.5% to $23.83 billion.
- Visa Inc. (V) said profit jumped 28% in the company's first earnings report since its record $19 billion initial public offering last month. Net income climbed to $314 million, or 39 cents a share, in the quarter ended March 31, from $246 million a year earlier, the company said today in a statement distributed by PR Newswire.
- Bank of America Corp. (BAC) will expand efforts to help Countrywide Financial Corp. (CFC) borrowers avoid foreclosure on troubled mortgages, the . , president of Bank of America's global consumer and small business banking operation, said the bank would modify at least $40 billion in loans from at least 265,000 borrowers over the next two years. "Bank of America will continue to offer home loan products to those who can afford them," McGee said. "We also recognize that some consumers who are experiencing financial challenges but who ultimately have the ability to pay their loans need our help to pay their loans, and we are ready to help them."
- Corn prices jumped yesterday (Monday) as investors bet that more rain in Midwestern states would force farmers to plant less of the staple crop. Corn for May delivery jumped 22.75 cents to settle at $6 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. Corn prices have shot up 26% this year.
- Natural-gas producer Questar Corp. (STR) announced first-quarter profit rose 23% on higher output and soaring fuel prices yesterday (Monday). Net income for the three months ended March 31 rose to $185.8 million ($1.05 per share) compared with $151.1 million (86 cents per share) a year ago.