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Alcatel-Lucent plummets on bleak earnings. Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU) reported Q1 net profit of €398M on a €659M gain for the Genesys sale. Operating loss of €289M vs. €64M last year. Sales of €3.21B (-12%) fell short of consensus of €3.9B, led by a 12% drop in North America. Risks in Europe "remain high." The North American transition from CDMA to lower-margin LTE gear is accelerating. Expects Q1 to be the low point on margins. Shares -13.3% premarket. Opinion: Alcatel-Lucent's potential growth is years away.

AstraZeneca CEO quits after huge miss. AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) Q1 net profit fell 44% to $1.64B, well short of consensus of $2B. Revenue of $7.35B (-11%) vs. consensus of $7.98B. The loss of patent exclusivity and challenging market conditions have "made for a difficult start to the year," CEO David Brennan said. Brennan, CEO since 2006, quit, to be replaced temporarily by CFO Simon Lowth. Shares -5% premarket. Opinion: Hedge fund biotech picks.

Watson Pharma buys Actavis. Watson Pharmaceuticals (WPI) confirmed it will buy Actavis Group for at least €4.25B ($5.6B), in a deal that cements its status as one of the world's biggest suppliers of generic drugs. Shares of Watson +5.3% AH. Opinion: Watson Pharma: Dealing its way to $100?

Top Stock News
H&R Block falls on realignment news. H&R Block (NYSE:HRB) fell 16.4% in AH trading after announcing plans to cut 350 jobs and close ~200 company-owned offices as part of a realignment, expecting the move to save up to $100M by the end of FY 2013. HRB also said it's searching for a new CFO; current CFO Jeff Brown will remain on the job during the search process. Press release: H&R Block announces strategic realignment.

Chrysler's best quarter since bankruptcy. Chrysler (FIATY.PK) told auto lender Ally Financial it won't renew their partnership past the April 30, 2013 expiration date, suggesting Chrysler may build its own in-house lender to help it better compete in the U.S. market. Chrysler reported this morning Q1 net income of $473M, up from $116M a year ago. Quarterly sales +33% to 523K vehicles. The company confirmed its 2012 profit guidance of ~$1.5B. Opinion: Why Ford is the rival to bet on.

Akamai guidance sends shares down. Akamai (NASDAQ:AKAM) shares got an initial bump after beating on Q1 EPS ($0.41 vs. $0.38 consensus) and revenue ($319.4M vs. $310.7M), but closed -7.3% in AH trading following a conference call that guided for Q2 revenue of $322M-330M (vs. $314.8M consensus) and EPS of $0.36-0.38 (vs. $0.39 consensus), raising new fears of strong price competition in the content delivery network space. Rivals LLNW and LVLT could see volatile trading today. Earnings call transcript: CEO Paul Sagan on the company's outlook.

Stocks moving on earnings news. Lots of premarket share movement stemming from earnings results. Logitech (NASDAQ:LOGI) +12.1% after reporting FQ4 net income up ten-fold to $28.3M, blowing away consensus of $12.4M. Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB) -6.1% after posting net profit of €1.38B, short of €1.64B consensus. Banco Santander (STD) -4.1% after reporting Q1 net profit of €1.6B (-24%) vs. consensus of €1.64B, including €3.13B in loan-loss provisions (+51%). Earnings center: Real-time earnings coverage.

Oil giants hike payouts. Chevron (NYSE:CVX) raised its quarterly dividend 11.1% to $0.90/share, its 25th consecutive year of dividend hikes. Earlier in the day, Exxon (NYSE:XOM) said it would raise its quarterly dividend to $0.57/share from $0.47, the 30th consecutive year of hikes. The 21% increase, a departure from Exxon's usual pattern of constant but conservative dividends, signals the world’s largest oil company is confident oil prices will remain high. Opinion: Finding high yield in the energy sector.

Icahn pulls Amylin suit. Carl Icahn withdrew his lawsuit against Amylin Pharmaceuticals (AMLN) following “discussions” with CEO Daniel Bradbury “that we agreed would not be publicly disclosed.” Though Icahn's terse statement is open to interpretation, it seems likely that Amylin is exploring a sale on its own, just as Icahn wants. Opinion: Rare disease stocks with takeover potential.

Wal-Mart lawsuit season opens. Wal-Mart's (NYSE:WMT) board and several top execs got hit with a lawsuit from an investor alleging shareholders have been harmed by the "irreparable damage" to the company's image stemming from bribery allegations at its Mexican unit. The legal action seeks damages payable to the company rather than shareholders. Opinion: Wal-Mart's dividend trumps short-term bad news.

Top Economic & Other News
FOMC stays the course. No major change in policy from the FOMC. The committee sees moderate growth with strains in global financial markets providing a big downside risk. Revised 2012 forecasts: jobless rate at 7.8-8.0% from 8.2-8.5%; inflation at 1.9-2.0% from 1.4-1.8%; GDP growth at 2.4-2.9% from 2.2-2.7%. Seven Fed members see the first rate hike in 2014, up from 5 previously. Bernanke says he won't hesitate to use additional QE if necessary. Opinion: Dual mandate, RIP.


Today's Markets:
In Asia, Japan flat. Hong Kong +0.8%. China -0.1%. India -0.1%.
In Europe,London flat. Paris -0.8%. Frankfurt -0.6%.
Futures at 7:00: Dow -0.15%. S&P -0.2%. Nasdaq -0.2%. Crude -0.2% to $103.89. Gold +0.3% to $1647.40.

Today's economic calendar:
8:30 Initial Jobless Claims
8:30 Chicago Fed National Activity Index
10:00 Pending Home Sales
10:30 EIA Natural Gas Inventory
11:00 Kansas City Fed Mfg Survey
1:00 PM Results of $29B, 7-Year Note Auction
4:30 PM Money Supply
4:30 PM Fed Balance Sheet

Notable earnings before today's open: ABC, AET, AMLN, AUO, AZN, BC, BG, BMY, BWA, CAM, CCE, CELG, CL, CMS, CNX, D, DB, DDD, DNKN, DOW, ELN, EQT, ETR, FIS, GR, GTI, HOT, HP, INCY, IPG, IRM, IVZ, JBLU, K, LINE, LIZ, LLL, LMT, MCO, MJN, MO, MWW, MYL, NBL, NIHD, OCR, ORI, OXY, PCS ,PDS, PEP, PHM, POT, PTEN, RTN, SHPGY, SWC, SWI, SWY, TLAB, TS, TSM, TWC, TYC, UAL, UPS, VNTV, WHR, WM, XEL, XOM, YNDX, ZMH
Notable earnings after today's close: AEM, AMZN, AXS, BMRN, CERN, CINF, CLWR, CSTR, CYH, DECK, DOX, EMN, EXPE, FBHS, FII, FIO, GILD, IM, INFA, INVN, KEG, KLAC, LEG, MCRS, MET, MXIM, NXPI, PFG, QLIK, RSG, SBUX, SPN, SWKS, VRSN, VRTX, WDC, WSH, WYNN, ZNGA

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Source: Wall Street Breakfast: Thursday's Must-Know News