Stocks in the News: Goldman Sachs, BP, UAL-Continental

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

BP (BP) shares are finally recovering this morning, although Transocean (RIG) shares continued falling. Investors have hammered the stocks in the past few days, reacting to the massive oil spill from their well in the Gulf of Mexico, which is now encroaching on Louisiana shorelines. The clean-up costs could reach $3 billion, some analysts estimate.

Goldman Sachs (GS) may be in focus again after a report in the The Wall Street Journal said federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into whether it or its employees committed securities fraud, following a referral from the SEC. Shares fell 3.5% in premarket trades.

UAL Corp. (UAUA) and Continental Airlines Inc. (CAL) are on track to announce a merger agreement on Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. The merger will create the largest airline in the world. Shares of both climbed higher in premarket trading.

D.R. Horton Inc. (DHI) said Friday it turned a profit of $11.4 million, or 4 cents a share, in the fiscal second quarter on a 19% increase in completed sales, and 16% rise in revenue to $896.8 million. This easily topped estimates of a loss of 1 cent per share on revenue of $863 million. Shares rose 1% ahead of the bell.

Newell Rubbermaid (NWL) raised its outlook for the fiscal year when the company reported that first-quarter profit nearly doubled on 8.5% higher sales. The company beat Wall Street estimates. Shares climbed nearly 2% before the bell.

Avon Products' (AVP) fiscal first-quarter profit fell 64% on charges, with adjusted results beating estimates by a penny. Results were helped by strong performance overseas that helped boost revenue by 15%. Shares turned higher ahead of the bell.

Barclays PLC (BCS) reported Friday that profit rose 29% to £1.07 billion ($1.65 billion) in the first quarter as bad loans were down 35% from last year's quarter, but its share price slumped as a drop in investment banking income alarmed investors. Shares sank 5.8% in premarket trading.

Total SA (TOT) said Friday its quarterly profit jumped, thanks to higher crude prices and a return to production growth during the period. Combined production of oil and gas rose 4.5% attributed to new fields as well as lower OPEC cuts and fewer disruptions in Nigeria related to security issues. Shares were 2% lower ahead of the bell.

Monster Worldwide (MWW) reported Thursday a decrease in profit for its fiscal third quarter of 2009, hurt mainly by a 16% drop in revenues. Earnings missed estimates, while revenue surpassed expectations. Guidance was somewhat disappointing and shares sank over 10% before the bell..

McAfee Inc. (MFE) said Thursday its first-quarter profit dropped 30% on charges. But even excluding items, earnings missed estimates although sales, to both businesses and consumers, rose 12%. That wasn't enough to meet expectations. Guidance, too, was below Wall Street forecast and shares dropped over 11% in premarket trades.

Dendreon (DNDN) shares continue to soar this morning following the FDA approval of its prostate cancer vaccine. Shares are up nearly 7% in premarket trading after closing over 26% higher Thursday.

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