3M is buying back 22 billion of its shares and increasing its dividend by more than a third. The Scotch Tape and Post-it Note maker will span the repurchase over the next 5 years. To top it off, 3M also gave a 2014 outlook that surpasses estimates. Shares rose almost 3% to $131.39.
Microsoft won’t be picking a new CEO until next year. The director in charge of the search for the new leader said Microsoft’s board will announce its choice in the early part of 2014. Steve Ballmer, who has been CEO since 2000, is planning to retire next year. Shares were slightly off to $36.52.
If you’re a Facebook user, video advertisements are set to appear on your Newsfeed starting this week. Facebook is rolling out ads that will play automatically on phones and computers. The move might help the social networking giant take part in the huge TV ad market. Shares of Facebook were up almost 2% to $54.86.
AT&T & Frontier
AT&T is selling its Connecticut operations to Frontier Communications for $2 billion. The country’s biggest phone company said the proceeds from the deal will help expand its 4G LTE network access to more people and help grow its internet and video services. The deal won’t go through it’s reviewed by regulators. Shares of AT&T were down a fraction to $33.85. Frontier soared up more than 8.5% to $4.78.
Higher chicken prices and lower feed costs helped Sanderson Farms grow earnings in the company’s fourth quarter. The company’s earnings more than quadrupled from last year, but net-income missed estimates by a lot, which disappointed investors. That sent shares down 3% to $68.38.
Shares of Rockwell Medical plummeted after Brean Capital gave the pharmaceutical company a sell rating. The firm’s analyst said he doesn’t expect Rockwell’s new Anemia drug to be approved by the FDA. He also cited stagnant sales and flat future growth as reasons for the poor rating. Shares tumbled almost 20% to $10.80.
Targacept also took a hit today after the drug developer announced it would stop working on an experimental drug. In mid-stage trials, the drug, which was supposed to treat Schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease, didn’t meet the company’s goals. The stock slumped more than 33.5% to $3.95.