Ratings agency Moody's Investors Service is considering cutting its long-term credit rating on Morgan Stanley (MS: sentiment, chart, options) , The Wall Street Journal reported late Friday. Moody's allegedly called the investment bank's financial performance and risk management "inconsistent" of late. The ratings firm said its evaluation of MS's "Aa3" credit rating will focus on the company's ability to control risk and boost profits in a challenging operating environment.
Elsewhere, shares of Myriad Genetics (MYGN: sentiment, chart, options) fell 13% in premarket trading after the pharmaceutical firm announced plans to discontinue the development of Alzheimer treatment Flurizan. The company announced that after spending $60 million in the fiscal year to develop the drug, it will spend another $8 million to cease the program after a late-stage trial of the medicine failed.
On the earnings front, H&R Block (HRB: sentiment, chart, options) revealed that it swung to a fourth-quarter profit amid fewer losses from continuing operations and a record-setting tax season. The tax preparer earned $543.6 million, or $1.66 per share, in the quarter, compared with a loss of $85.6 million, or 26 cents per share, a year prior. Excluding items, the company earned $691.1 million, or $2.11 per share. Revenue for the quarter rose 11% to $2.6 billion from $2.3 billion a year ago. Analysts, on average, expected adjusted earnings of $2.03 per share on $2.5 billion in revenue. For fiscal 2009, HRB forecast earnings between $1.60 and $1.70 per share, higher than the average prediction on the Street for $1.58 per share.
Opening View: Shares of Myriad Genetics Plunge on Discontinuation of Alzheimer Drug