Ford CEO Mulally Says No Change in His Plans and 2 Other Hot Stocks to Watch

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F): Current price $17.76

Microsoft is said to have Ford Chief Executive Alan Mulally on its short list to replace Steve Ballmer, but Mulally would not say on Thursday if he has discusses such a move with that company, commenting during his conference call that, ”We don’t comment on the speculation.” Mulally said once again that there is no change in Ford’s plan for him to stay as CEO through the end of next year. He has held that job at Ford since 2006.

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Symantec Corp. (NASDAQ:SYMC): Current price $21.67

Symantec shares are down more than 10 percent Thursday in heavy trading, after Chief Executive Steve Bennett said Wednesday that sales staff, who are being assigned fewer clients but getting additional training, could not close as many deals. Bennett has said that job cuts and restructuring so as to combine disparate divisions are a part of his turnaround plan. Analyst Steve Ashley at Robert W. Baird & Co. observed that while he has streamlined product lines and pricing, the restructuring might require years to deliver results, as antivirus software sales drop along with personal-computer shipments.

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Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE:BSX): Current price $11.54

Boston Scientific will cut as many as 1,500 jobs worldwide, or 6 percent of its workforce, in an attempt at cost reduction. The firm also announced on Thursday that its CFO is leaving, and it will promote its corporate controller to replace him. The medical device manufacturer had already reported up to 1,000 job cuts in January, reacting to limited growth prospects in certain markets and taxes related connected with the health care overhaul, which was additional to a 2011 cost-cutting plan that included the elimination of between 1,200 and 1,400 jobs. Boston Scientific hopes to reduce annual operating expenses by as much as $200 million, and invest some of the savings in initiatives that will boost its growth.

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