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James Dicks Daily Digest - February 20, 2009

The Labor Department reported that consumer prices rose by 0.3 percent last month, the biggest monthly increase since a 0.7 percent rise in July. Core inflation, which excludes energy and food, showed a modest increase of 0.2 percent, slightly higher than the 0.1 percent gain economists expected. Over the past 12 months, core inflation rose 1.7 percent, the lowest reading since a similar increase for the 12 months ending in August 2004.

Bank of America Corp. (BAC) Chief Executive Ken Lewis has received a subpoena from the New York state attorney general's office in connection with Merrill Lynch's payment of employee bonuses before the companies combined on Jan. 1st.

Citigroup Inc. (C) and Bank of America Corp. (BAC) fell to the lowest levels in more than 18 years on concern that the U.S. may take over banks that received $90 billion in government aid in four months.

The trustee in charge of untangling the mess brought on by the Bernard Madoff scandal told investors there was no indication the disgraced financier bought securities for his clients. The prominent Wall Street money manager is accused of running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme, the biggest investment scam in history. Madoff was arrested in December.

Boeing Co. (BA) and Airbus have about 1,000 commercial aircraft deliveries scheduled for this year, but about half may be deferred as buyers struggle with falling capacity demand and weaker credit markets. Boeing Commercial Airplanes has said it expects to deliver some 480 to 485 new planes in 2009, while Airbus has targeted some 483 deliveries for the year.

Scheduled U.S. Economic Reports (Next Week)

Consumer Confidence (Feb), Existing & New Home Sales (Jan), Durable Goods (Jan), Gross Domestic Product (4Q), Chicago Purchasing Managers Index (Feb)

In Earnings News

Lowes Companies (LOW) reported earnings declined to $162 million, or 11 cents per share, in the quarter, from $408 million, or 28 cents per share, during the same period last year. Analysts expected a profit of 12 cents per share.

J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) reported a 51 percent drop in fourth-quarter profit. The retailer earned $211 million or 95 cents per share while analysts expected 92 cents per share.

Tom Hortons Inc (THI) earned 69.1 million Canadian dollars ($54.8 million), or 38 Canadian cents (30 cents), in the quarter ended Dec. 28th. That compares to 75.7 million Canadian dollars, or 40 Canadian cents, a year earlier.

Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX), the world's largest gold producer, posted a fourth-quarter loss on impairment charges, and forecast a slight dip in its 2009 gold production levels. The Canada-based company reported a net loss of $468 million, or 53 cents per share. Analysts predicted a profit of 33 cents per share.

LifePoint Hospitals Inc. (LPNT) reported its fourth-quarter profit rose by less than 1 percent. Excluding one-time items, LifePoint earned 63 cents per share while analysts expected 64 cents per share.

Tessera Technologies (TSRA) expects revenue for the quarter to range between $114.6 million and $118.6 million, up from a previous range of $54 million to $58 million.

Scheduled Earnings Reports (Next Week)

Dell, Office Depot, Target, DreamWorks Animation, Heinz, Campbell Soup, Hertz Global Holdings, HealthSouth, OSI Restaurant Partners, Cracker Barrel, Del Monte Foods, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Macys, Saks

Stocks in the News

Mylan Inc (MYL) said fourth-quarter loss narrowed to $40 million or 13 cents a share, from $1.38 billion, or $5.04 a share.

Intuit Inc (INTU) said second-quarter net income fell to $85 million, or 26 cents a share, from $115.2 million, or 34 cents, earned in the same period a year earlier.

CV Therapeutics (CVTX) said its board has rejected the previously announced $1 billion, or $16-a-share takeover bid made by Astellas Pharma Inc.

New York Times Co. (NYT) said its board suspended payment of the quarterly dividend on the company's Class A and Class B common stock.

Brocade Communications Systems (BRCD) reported a first-quarter loss of $26 million, or 7 cents a share.

General Motors (GM) said it's applying for reorganization with a Swedish court. Saab said it hopes the court process will permit it to reorganize itself "into a fully independent" business.

Wellcare Health Plans (WCG) became the second managed care provider this year ordered by the government to stop enrolling new customers in Medicare-backed drug and medical plans.

UBS AG (UBS) traded lower after the Internal Revenue Service said that UBS kept as many as 52,000 secret Swiss bank accounts for U.S. taxpayers, and the firm should turn over information on all of them.

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