MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Opening View: Justice Department Asks Internal Revenue Service to Probe UBS

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 bleak this morning, as European banks were led lower in the wake of news surrounding UBS (UBS). In focus this morning is the latest update on InBev's bid for Anheuser-Busch (BUD), lowered earnings guidance for Fortune Brands (FO), and earnings from Schnitzer Steel Industries (SCHN).

Belgian brewer InBev announced that it remains committed to its $65-per-share offer for Anheuser-Busch (BUD: View sentiment for BUDsentiment, chart, options) , despite being rejected last week. The bidder stated that it will pursue all available avenues to allow BUD shareholders a "direct voice" in the process. InBev also reiterated that its offer represented a 35% premium to the share price before it was affected by bid rumors, also assuring shareholders that its offer is a safer option than BUD's restructuring plan.

Spirits maker Fortune Brands (FO: View sentiment for FOsentiment, chart, options) was making headlines this morning after the company lowered its second-quarter earnings guidance due to weaker consumer sentiment domestically. The firm now expects earnings to fall by high 10% to mid-20% range from $1.51 per share a year prior. FO had previously forecast earnings per share to fall at a high single-digit to mid-10% range. For fiscal 2008, the company is predicting earnings to fall by a high single-digit to high-10% range from $5.06 per share in fiscal 2007. FO had previously called for a flat to single-digit percentage drop. Analysts, on average, are predicting second-quarter earnings of $1.37 per share and 2008 earnings per share of $4.84.

Schnitzer Steel Industries (SCHN: View sentiment for SCHNsentiment, chart, options) this morning reported that its third-quarter profit totaled $62 million, or $2.14 per share, from $44 million, or $1.47 per share, in the same quarter a year before. On average, analysts had expected profit of $1.86 per share. The steel recycler said revenue for the recent quarter was $972 million, up from $709 million in the year-ago period. The company's CEO, John Carter, attributed the positive news to "robust" global demand for recycled metals, driven by economic growth in developing countries.



Opening View: Justice Department Asks Internal Revenue Service to Probe UBS



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