The following is a round-up of news likely to affect stock prices today:

Ford Motor Co. (F) signed a binding deal on Sunday with Zhejiang Geely Holding Group to sell its Volvo Cars unit for $1.8 billion. This is in line with the independent Chinese automaker's aim to expand in Europe. The sale is expected to be completed in the third quarter. Ford bought Volvo Cars from AB Volvo in 1999 for $6.45 billion and has been trying to sell the unit since late 2008. Shares advanced 1% in premarket trading.

Rio Tinto's (RTP) four employees found guilty by a Chinese court of bribery and commercial secrets charges were slapped with jail terms of seven to 14 years. The judge said the crimes committed by the four had caused major losses to the Chinese steel industry. The Associated Press reports that "Rio Tinto said the four would be sacked because the evidence in court showed beyond a doubt that they had engaged in the deplorable behavior of accepting bribes." Shares rose 1.8% ahead of the bell.

Vodafone Group (VOD) and Verizon Communications (VZ) have been holding informal discussions about finding a solution for Verizon Wireless, according to The Sunday Telegraph, including merger options. VOD shares rose in London.

Cal-Maine Foods (CALM) said fiscal third-quarter net income rose 12% to $34.5 million, or $1.45 a share, as sales edged up. Results topped analysts' estimates as the company said it benefited from a favorable balance of supply and demand for eggs during the quarter, and sales at the retail level were very good. Shares were 1.7% higher before the bell.

Apollo Group (APOL) shares also rose 1.8% after it reported fiscal second-quarter earnings fell 26% amid a $ 44.5 million class-action lawsuit charge, but enrollment and revenue rose and earnings topped analysts' expectations, according to Dow Jones Newswire.

Apple Inc (AAPL) has started shipping the new iPad tablet computer, but analysts are unsure how big an impact it will have on the company as the size of the demand is still uncertain, the Financial Times reports. Shares climbed 1.3% ahead of the bell.

Ericsson AB (ERIC) on Monday said it has signed second-generation (2G) and 3G frame agreements with Chinese operators China Mobile and China Unicom worth $1.8 billion in total. Shares gained 1.8% before the bell.

Viacom (VIA.B) shares shot up 15% after a writeup in Barron's saying shares are undervalued.

Boeing Co. (BA) has completed ultimate-load wing tests on its long-delayed 787 Dreamliner.

Citigroup Inc. (C) has expanded its hedge fund operations by hiring 13 new employees, the Financial Times said.

Antisoma (ATSMY) halted a late-stage trial of a lung-cancer drug because there is little or no prospect of demonstrating a survival benefit. Antisoma licensed the drug to Novartis (NVS) in April 2007.

SunPower Corp. (SPWRA) said it has finalized the acquisition of SunRay. Shares jumped over 4%.

Allied Irish Banks (AIB) and the Bank of Ireland (IRE) slumped over 16% and 5% respectively on reports the government will increase its stakes in the lenders as well as the size of the discount the lenders will have to accept for offloading risky assets, MarketWatch reported.

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