Market Focus

Annie’s & General Mills 

General Mills just got a little more organic. The food giant is buying organic mac and cheese maker Annie’s in a deal worth more than $800 million. The price tag of the deal is a 50 percent premium to Annie’s average share price over the past month. Investors ate up shares of Annie’s after-hours. During the regular trading day the stock fell one percent to $33.51.

Hertz

Hertz’s CEO has stepped down amid pressure from an activist investor. The car rental company’s CEO cited personal reasons for his departure. The move follows an announcement in August that Hertz would review its earnings and correct financial statements from the last three years because of accounting errors. Since then activist investors have taken stakes in the company, including Carl Icahn. Shares rose slightly on the news to $28.50.

Amazon

A big bargain bonanza at Amazon. It slashed the price of its Fire phone. It was about $200, now its 99 cents and it comes with a free year of Amazon Prime. The price cut comes the day before the anticipated launch of Apple’s new phone. But there are some strings attached on that Amazon deal, you have to sign a two-year contract. Shares fell more than one percent to $342.34.

Walgreen

Activist Investor Jana Partners has scored two seats on Walgreen’s board of directors. The pharmacy operator didn’t give a specific reason for the appointments. But Walgreen has been under pressure after lowering its earnings forecast and because it decided not to cut its tax rate by relocating overseas. Shares fell 1.5 percent to $62.96.

Campbell Soup

A sales miss at Campbell Soup made shares soggy today. Soup and snack results remained sluggish in the food company’s fourth quarter. Earnings were in-line, but its profit outlook for the year disappointed investors. The stock was down 2.5 percent to $43.39

Abbvie & Teva Pharmaceutical 

Some legal trouble for drug maker Abbvie and Teva Pharmaceutical. The Federal Trade Commission is suing the two companies for allegedly illegally preventing generic versions of a testosterone replacement drug AndroGel from getting to market. Shares of Abbvie were off a fraction to $55.57. Teva was up one percent to $52.58.

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