Symantec Upgrade; Monsanto Sees Credit for Crops; AIG’s Costly Retreat; Wells and Citi Extend Ceasefire; Pending Home Sales Climb; Crude Hits Lowest Level in 2008
- Symantec Corp. (SYMC) was upgraded to “overweight” from “neutral” by a JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) analysts yesterday (Wednesday). "We are upgrading shares of Symantec… as the shares have fallen to a value less than what we believe the maintenance is worth, and investors are essentially getting the consumer business and any future enterprise license for free," JPMorgan’s John DiFucci wrote, MarketWatch reported.
- Monsanto Co. (MON), one of the largest global sellers of seeds and agriculture products, said that it believes farmers will continue to be able to get credit, despite tight credit markets. "A farmer on solid financial footing should have no trouble gaining access to any credit they need to run their normal operations," Monsanto Chief Financial Officer Terry Crews said in a conference call yesterday (Wednesday), Reuters reported. "There continues to be confidence in the availability of credit for farmers."
- Despite criticism from the U.S. Congress and President George W. Bush, American International Group Inc. (AIG) is planning another high-priced broker retreat. The last such trip cost approximately $440,000. The President didn't push for the bailout “to help top executives go to a spa,” White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said yesterday (Wednesday) at the daily White House briefing, Bloomberg News reported.
- Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) and Citigroup Inc. (C) yesterday (Wednesday) agreed to extend their truce in the takeover battle for Wachovia Corp. (WB) The “litigation standstill” was extended until 8 a.m. EST time on Friday, Oct. 10. The truce began Oct. 6 and was scheduled to expire at noon yesterday.
- Pending home sales rose 7.4% from July to August, the National Association of Realtors said yesterday (Wednesday). The group said its seasonally adjusted index of pending sales for existing homes climbed to 93.4 – the highest reading since June 2007. The index registered an upwardly revised 87 in July.
- Light, sweet crude for November delivery fell $1.11 yesterday (Wednesday) to settle at $88.95 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude fell as low as $86.05 earlier in the day, its lowest price since Dec. 6, 2007.