MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Opening View: Anheuser-Busch Reportedly Planning to Reject InBev Offer

U.S. stock futures are lower ahead of the opening bell, indicative of a potentially negative start to the regular session. Overseas trading is rather dismal this morning, as steelmakers continue to decline in Asia, while the aerospace sector was hit with a slew of downgrades in Europe. In focus this morning is Goldman Sachs, starting the day off with a heavy hand for issuing downgrades; Nike (NKE) reporting stronger-than-expected earnings; and merger-and-acquisition news from Anheuser-Busch (BUD) and potential suitor InBev.

Goldman Sachs was busy this morning, cutting its rating on U.S. brokers to "neutral" from "attractive." The firm attributed the downgrade to a lack of possible catalysts to move the group significantly higher over the next few months. The analyst also placed Citigroup ( C: View sentiment for Csentiment, chart, options) on its conviction sell list; downgraded General Motors (GM: View sentiment for GMsentiment, chart, options) to "sell" from "neutral," cutting its price target to $11 from $19; and slashed his rating on Lear Corp. (LEA: View sentiment for LEAsentiment, chart, options) to "sell" from "neutral," reducing its price target to $18 from $29.

On the earnings front, Nike (NKE: View sentiment for NKEsentiment, chart, options) reported fourth-quarter profit of $490.5 million, or 98 cents per share, up from $438 million, or 86 cents per share, a year prior. Analysts, on average, expected the athletic apparel company to post earnings of 96 cents per share. Revenue for the quarter grew 16% to $5.1 billion, helped in part by sales in Asia. Net income for the fiscal year jumped 26% to $1.9 billion, while 2008 earnings docked at $3.74 per share.

In merger-and-acquisition news, Anheuser-Busch (BUD: View sentiment for BUDsentiment, chart, options) reportedly plans to reject Belgian brewer InBev's $46.35-billion unsolicited bid, claiming the offer undervalues the company. As early as this week, BUD is expected to formally reject the bid and offer its own restructuring plan, The Wall Street Journal reported. However, the report claims that InBev is allegedly prepared to take its offer directly to BUD shareholders.



Opening View: Anheuser-Busch Reportedly Planning to Reject InBev Offer


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