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News That Moved the Market
Bank of America Buys Countrywide. Bank of America (BAC, -1.4%) will purchase troubled lender Countrywide (CFC,-17.4%) for $4 billion. The deal will go through at $7.16/share, a 7.6% discount from where CFC finished Thursday after rumors of the takeover pushed the stock higher. Kenneth Lewis, CEO of Bank of America, called the purchase a "one-time opportunity (to buy) when the value is very attractive."
JP Morgan in "Preliminary Talks" to Buy WaMu. CNBC reported Friday JP Morgan (JPM, -1.1%) and Washington Mutual (WM, +3.7%) held "very preliminary talks" about a deal. JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon said in October he was looking to expand the company's retail mortgage business.
Merrill to Writedown $15 Billion. According to a NY Times report, Merrill Lynch (MER, +5.1%) will writedown $15 billion from losses in mortgage-related investments when it reports earnings next week. To sure up finances, Merrill will look to foreign investors for a cash injection.
American Express Lowers Estimates. American Express (AXP, -10.1%) dropped after the company said it would take a $440 million charge and lowered its guidance below expectations. An increase in defaults and lower customer spending were blamed.
Trade Deficit Widens. The U.S. trade deficit increased 9.3%, the most in two years. The $63.1 billion gap came in above expectations. The jump was a result of Americans spending a record amount on imported oil
Tiffany Cuts Outlook. Tiffany & Co. (TIF, -11.2%) dropped the most in three and a half years after the company lowered the top end of its forecast. The company said a decline in holiday sales caused the trim in the company's outlook. "It was a challenging holiday season," said Chief Financial Officer Jim Fernandez. "There is uncertainty about macro conditions and the state of consumer spending in the U.S."
No major economic data will be released Monday.