LOWE'S 4Q NET CLIMBS 37% TO $695M
Home-improvement retailer earns $695 million, or 87c a share, as sales jump 26.4% to $10.81 billion in 4Q. Results top Wall Street expectations by 7c a share. Same-store sales increase 7.8% in the 14-week period ended Feb. 3. Lowe's forecasts earnings of 92c-94c a share for its 1Q, above Wall Street's consensus estimate of a profit of 88c a share in the April period.
SUEZ, GAZ DE FRANCE APPROVE MERGER
The French utilities' boards approve $37.98 billion all-stock merger, a deal that shows how nationalism continues to thwart the integration of Europe's economies. Italy's Enel said last week it was considering launching a bid for Suez.
GE TO SELL OFF REMAINING GENWORTH STAKE
General Electric will sell off its remaining holdings in Genworth Financial, with a plan to sell 71 million Class A shares in an underwritten secondary offering and 15 million Class B shares back to Genworth.
GE, MACQUARIE VIE FOR STAKE IN TXU UNIT
General Electric and an investment fund of Australia's Macquarie Bank are vying to buy a big stake in TXU's electricity-delivery business, in a deal that could be valued at more than $5 billion.
NATIONAL GRID EYES US, EUROPE BUYS AFTER KEYSPAN
U.K.'s National Grid says it is still in the market to expand further in the U.S. and Europe after acquiring the fifth-largest U.S. natural gas distributor, KeySpan, for $7.3 billion in cash.
EUROPEAN STOCKS EDGE HIGHER
European markets edge higher, buoyed by further mergers-and-acquisitions activity in the utility sector, though telecoms skid after U.K. mobile operator Vodafone Group says it will write off up to $49 billion of its assets.
WHITE HOUSE AGREES TO DUBAI PORTS PROBE
The Bush administration, bowing before a wave of bipartisan opposition, agrees to launch a broad new investigation of the national-security implications of a deal to transfer some U.S. port operations to a Dubai-controlled firm.
BERNANKE SAYS LOW INFLATION 'AN END AND A MEANS'
Low and stable inflation is "both an end and a means" of monetary policy, reducing economic volatility and maximizing employment and growth, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says.
MALICIOUS 'WORMS' TURN SIGHTS ON APPLE'S MACS
In the past two weeks, information-security companies like Symantec, Sophos and McAfee have identified several security issues related to the latest version of Apple's Mac operating system, called OS X.
PFIZER SHUFFLES EXEC ROLES AT US DRUG UNIT
Pfizer shakes up management of its most important unit, installing Peter Brandt, a finance executive, as executive vice president of U.S. pharmaceuticals. He reports to J. Patrick Kelly, a marketer, who remains president of the unit.
UN, ARAB, ISLAMIC LEADERS CALL FOR TALKS OVER CARTOONS
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, joined by Arab and Islamic governments, calls for restraint and dialogue to ease tensions between Islam and the West sparked by cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammed.
SAUDI POLICE KILL 5 SUSPECTED TERRORISTS IN RIYADH
Saudi Arabia security forces exchange fire for about two hours in a Riyadh suburb early this morning, killing at least five suspected terrorists in connection with the failed Friday attack on an oil processing complex.
MICROSOFT AIMS TO BUILD PORTABLE ENTERTAINMENT DEVICE
Microsoft is working on a project code-named Origami that involves various partners to build services and software for a new portable entertainment device. The device will be styled after its Tablet PC, which is a portable pen-input PC.
DANA FALLS ON RESTRUCTURING WORRIES
Shares plunge 52% a day after dropping 19% and bonds fall as auto-parts maker begins working with restructuring firm that typically aids firms facing financial straits. Dana is grappling with a number of financial and operational issues.
SANOFI REMAINS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT NEW DRUG
French drug giant remains upbeat on its closely watched obesity drug rimonabant, saying it expects to begin selling the still-experimental drug in the second half of 2006 despite the U.S. FDA's decision last week to delay approval.
RBC HIRES TEAM OF BROKERS FROM MERRILL
RBC Dain Rauscher hires four brokers away from Merrill Lynch in St. Petersburg, Fla., where the Royal bank of Canada unit has appointed a new branch director. Team had client assets of around $320 million when it left Merrill.
SEARCH ENGINE ASK.COM EMBARKS ON BIG AD CAMPAIGN
Search engine Ask relaunches this weekend without the all-knowing valet Jeeves, and now the Web site is hiring the ad firm TBWAChiatDay for a multimillion-dollar campaign to remake its image.
GM BOARD OKS OPTION GRANTS FOR EXECS
General Motors discloses that it has authorized granting of stock options in 2006 for eligible executives. Company says in SEC filing that it granted 400,000 stock options to CEO Richard Wagoner Jr. yesterday.
======= DOW JONES NEWSWIRES ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARIES =======
MARK TO MARKET
Data Abound; Big Daddy Stays Home
Jim Murphy looks at this week's economic data due for release. But missing is the monthly jobs report, which is being delayed a week. He also returns to Friday musings about food and tankinis.
Could Apple Make A Bid For Disney?
Now that Steve Jobs has traded his Pixar shares for a big wedge of Disney, analysts say it is not outlandish to speculate that Apple could ultimately make a run at Disney.
============ U.S. MARKETS ACTION ===========
DJIA 11061.85 from Friday
NASDAQ 2287.04 from Friday
S&P 500 1289.43 from Friday
10-year T-note up 1/32 at 99 14/32 yield 4.571
NYMEX Spot Crude down $0.76 at $62.16/bbl
Dollar/Euro down 0.0021 at 1.1854
(END) Dow Jones Newswires