Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE:MRK): Current price $48.27
The German drug and high-tech materials firm Merck KGaA has rebounded year-over-year from 2012 losses to post a net profit of 316 million euros, or $420 million, in the second quarter. The company, based in Darmstadt, makes the liquid crystal used in television screens and life sciences laboratory equipment. In the second quarter of 2012, it lost 63 million euros when it had 376 million euros in expenses for its restructuring and cost-reduction program. However, the 2013 profit figures beat consensus at 277 million euros, said the financial information provider FactSet. On Tuesday, Merck said that it was now benefiting from its cost-cutting program, adding that it will attain its earnings target for all of 2013.
American Express Co. (NYSE:AXP): Current price $75.83
American Express has announced new tech capabilities to help facilitate travel for the well-connected corporate traveler while simultaneously encouraging alignment with the firm’s strategic travel and expense program. The capabilities announced Monday include a new platform that leverages social gaming mechanics so as to reward policy-adherent traveler behaviors, integration with TripCase, a new capability that updates Corporate Card charges in almost real-time so travelers can manage expenses on-the-go, and a new traveler-facing mobile interface for the company’s duty of care solution, AX CONNECT.
Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA): Current price $7.95
It now seems that a North Carolina environmental official recommended that Alcoa obtain a key state approval needed for a new 50-year license to operate four hydropower dams built on the Yadkin River days prior to the state Administration Department suing to challenge Alcoa’s property rights. On Monday, the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources released a report dated a week earlier in which one of the agency’s officials recommended that North Carolina certify that water standards would not be violated if Alcoa continued to operate the dams. With that recommendation, Alcoa seemed to be set for its state certification had the lawsuit not been filed. DENR spokesman Drew Elliot said that whatever the initial recommendation, a ruling on whether to issue a water quality certification would be considered by higher agency officials.