MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Opening View: Starbucks to Close 19 Percent of Stores Opened in Last 2 Years

After the close yesterday, Starbucks (SBUX: View sentiment for SBUXsentiment, chart, options) announced that it will close 600 company-operated stores in the next year – making up nearly 19% of all domestic stores opened in the last 2 years. About 12,000 workers are expected to be affected by the closings, which are slated to take place between later this month and the middle of 2009. The coffee king blamed the downsizing on the slowing U.S. economy, which has caused the company's traffic of late to drop significantly.

Elsewhere, UnitedHealth Group (UNH: View sentiment for UNHsentiment, chart, options) this morning lowered its 2008 profit outlook, citing slowing commercial business and higher-than-expected Medicare-related costs. The firm now expects 2008 adjusted profit of $2.95 to $3.05 per share on revenue of $81 billion, compared to previous projections for profit of $3.55 to $3.60 per share. Analysts, on average, had forecast annual profit of $3.52 per share on revenue of $81.02 billion.

Swiss bank UBS (UBS: View sentiment for UBSsentiment, chart, options) remains in the spotlight this morning, after a federal judge issued an order authorizing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to issue a "John Doe" summons to obtain information regarding possible tax fraud by unknown individuals. The bank will likely have to open its books on American clients who may be using Swiss bank accounts to evade federal income taxes, MarketWatch reported.

Finally, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey backed AstraZeneca (AZN: View sentiment for AZNsentiment, chart, options) in a patent lawsuit regarding its antipsychotic medicine Seroquel, removing the threat of generic competition domestically. Drug maker Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA) and Sandoz, a unit of Novartis AG (NVS), had planned to make generic copies of the drug.



Opening View: Starbucks to Close 19 Percent of Stores Opened in Last 2 Years


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