Verizon Selling Customer Data and 3 Dow Spotlight Stocks

AT&T (NYSE:T): Japan’s Softbank purchased the majority interest in Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) and that move could induce increased competition and lower prices for consumers, says The Washington Post. Observers think that the acquisition might lead to continued availability of unlimited data plans which have been left behind by the top wireless carriers as well.

United Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX) has made an agreement to divest the former Goodrich Corporation electric power systems unit to Safran for $400 million as required by regulatory authorities as a condition of UTC’s acquisition of Goodrich Corporation. The deal is subject to the customary regulatory approvals, including from China, the United States and the European Union, and should close late this year or early in 2013. The divestiture of a second unit, the legacy Goodrich pumps and engine controls division, is being looked at in ongoing discussions with multiple prospective buyers.

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Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ): In a move that has ignited questions of privacy, Verizon Wireless has commenced the selling of information regarding geographical locations of its customers, application usage and Web browsing activities. These sales could also brush up against federal wiretapping law. Additionally, the carrier began in October to offer reports to marketers that indicate what Verizon subscribers are doing on their phones and other mobile devices, among which include what iOS and Android applications are in use in which locations. The company says it might connect the data to third-party databases with information regarding the gender, age, and even details about its customers like “sports enthusiast, frequent diner or pet owner.” Bill Diggins, domestic chief for the Verizon Wireless marketing initiative, has informed an industry conference earlier in 2012 that, “We’re able to view just everything that they do. And that’s really where data is going today. Data is the new oil.”

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) will not face class-action gender-discrimination claims that were brought in a federal court lawsuit in Texas, says a judge, according to Bloomberg. The retailer had been accused of discriminating against women in pay and promotions in the Texas region, but the plaintiff group’s claims are barred by the statute of limitations and must be dismissed, said United States District Judge Reed O’Connor in a 19- page ruling.

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