Wal-Mart Tightens Global Sourcing Policies and 4 Morning Hot Stocks Trading Today

Travelers (NYSE:TRV): Current Price $79.46

Travelers (NYSE:TRVreports fourth quarter EPS of $0.78 and revenues of $6.47 billion which beats by $0.6 and $1.13 billion. Net income was $304 million against $618 million in the prior year quarter, the decrease been accounted primarily by the after-tax impact of higher catastrophe losses. These were offset somewhat by a substantial improvement in underlying underwriting margin and higher net favourable prior year reserve development. Strong alternative investment returns boosted net investment income and drove book value per share higher by 8% to $67.31. The company approved a quarterly dividend per share of $0.46.

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Dish Network Corp (NASDAQ:DISH): Current Price $37.50

Dish Network Corp (NASDAQ:DISH) announced it is likely to shut down about 300 Blockbuster stores which were either nearing the end of their leases or underperforming. The closure of these stores would result in the loss of about 3000 employees, who were informed Friday. The video rental stores have been facing intense competition from Netflix and other online digital options that are available to consumers. Last year, Dish closed down about 500 Blockbuster stores.

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Hewlett-Packard Co’s (NYSE:HPQ): Current Price $17.32

The Wall Street Journal unearths the sequence of events that led to Hewlett-Packard Co’s (NYSE:HPQ) ill-fated acquisition of British software company Autonomy Corp. The lemon of a deal cost $11 billion of which more than $5 billion had to be written down within a year after the detection of allegedly dubious accounting practices at the firm. The WSJ pins the disaster on a number of factors that acted together — an inexperienced board that was stretched evaluating both this acquisition and the possible hiving off of HP’s PC business, the nonavailability of certain financial data sought by HP from Autonomy, and a newly appointed and pushy Chief Executive, Leo Apotheker, determined to make a high profile acquisition. A self-imposed timeframe for announcing the consummation of the deal with its August 2011 earnings announcement simply added to the pressure on HP’s board, which chose to turn a deaf ear to CFO Cathie Lesjak’s objections to the deal. Soon after, HP consulted whether it could back out of the acquisition, but it was already too late.

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GM (NYSE:GM): Current Price $28.73

Conditions at GM’s (NYSE:GM) Bochum plant in Germany, which produces the loss-making Opel brand, are dire enough for GM to consider its closure earlier than 2016. Workers had been assured that the Bochum plant would close no sooner than 2016, but a letter by GM Vice Chairman Stephen Girsky to employees claims that the current labour agreement covers the Bochum factory only until January 1, 2015, and that the company is determined to close the plant and cut about 3000 jobs in view of the “catastrophic” situation in the European car market.

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT): Current Price $69.02

Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) has tightened its global sourcing policies after the tragedy at a Bangladesh factory fire in which 112 workers lost their lives. The factory was not supposed to be making Wal-Mart’s products, leading the company to advise suppliers of new policies that it has a 45th would brook no tolerance for any violations, and warning that unauthorised subcontracting of Wal-Mart work would lead to termination of all ties. Wal-Mart also plans to publicise on its website the names of factories that are banned from doing business for any of its suppliers. Suppliers would be allowed to work only with factories that have passed preapproval audits, and conduct reviews of electrical and building safety. Wal-Mart is also considering the creation of a revolving line of credit that factories could avail in order to make safety improvements.

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