Stocks in the news: Rio Tinto, Berkshire Hathaway, Microsoft

The following post rounds up the companies making headlines today:

Rio Tinto (RTP) was accused by China for spying on Chinese steel mills for six years, resulting in the mills overpaying $102 billion for iron ore, Rio Tinto's biggest earner. Rio Tinto declined to comment on the accusations, which may be something new according to Australia's ministry and the writer. Nonetheless, four Rio employees remain detained in Shanghai on suspicion of stealing state secrets. Shares declined about 4 percent ahead of the bell.

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) posted a 14 percent rise in quarterly net income to $3.3 billion in net income, or $2,123 per share, after markets closed Friday. The improving stock market boosted the value of Warren Buffett's company's derivative contracts and its investments. Results were well above analyst estimates.
Microsoft (MSFT) sold its Razorfish division over the weekend to Publicis for $530 million in cash and stock. The deal is part of a wider five-year agreement in which Publicis will buy display and search advertising from Microsoft, while Microsoft gets a stake of about 3 percent in Publicis.

McDonald's Corp (MCD) said same-store sales at U.S. restaurants rose 2.6 percent, aided by its new McCafe espresso-based coffee drinks. Global same-store sales climbed 4.3 percent. Shares were up about 1.4 percent ahead of the bell.

Dish Network Corp. (DISH) said Monday that its second-quarter profit slid 81 percent to $63.4 million, or 14 cents per share, on TiVo Inc. (TIVO) litigation costs and rising expenses, but it managed to add subscribers and maintain revenue. Revenue was nearly flat at $2.90 billion. Shares jumped 8 percent in pre-market trade.

Dynegy (DYN) reported Monday that second-quarter loss widened by 27 percent, and that it will sell eight plants plus another under development to LS Power Associates for about $1 billion in cash and $500 million in stock as the company attempts to bolster its finances and cut near-term debt. Shares fell about 1.5 percent.

Freddie Mac (FRE) reported it didn't need to ask for more financial aid from the U.S. government as it reported a $768 million second-quarter profit. Shares jumped over 90 percent ahead of the bell.

Virgin Mobile USA Inc (VM) reported a higher quarterly profit that beat market estimates as it continued to benefit from the growth of its profitable hybrid customer base.

Hormel Foods (HRL) boosted its fiscal-year earnings outlook, citing solid performances from numerous segments. Shares gained 2.4 percent in pre-market trade.

Research in Motion (RIMM) shares declined about 1.7 percent ahead of the bell after UBS downgraded the stock from Buy to Neutral.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPhone customers who are also customers of USAA, a privately held bank and insurance company, will now be allowed to deposit checks immediately through their phones without mailing them later to the bank.

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