Stocks in the News: Manpower, JetBlue, Alaska Airlines, Morgan Stanley, BP

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

In its latest forecast of worldwide hiring, Manpower (MAN) said Tuesday survey results show "employer optimism in the global labor market is gradually improving." Employers in 30 of 36 countries indicated stronger hiring plans compared to 12 months ago, with 23 reporting improved quarter-over-quarter hiring plans, the staffing company said. Worldwide, strongest job prospects were reported by employers in India, Brazil, Taiwan, China, Peru, Australia and Singapore, while Italy, Ireland, Spain and Greece anticipate the weakest third-quarter hiring. In the U.S., employers' hiring expectations remain relatively stable from three months ago but are notably stronger than those reported 12 months ago, the survey results showed.

After three years of steady declines, consumers are feeling more upbeat about airlines despite paying more for items such as checked bags and extra legroom, the latest survey from J.D. Power and Associates shows. Overall customer satisfaction with airlines in North America has increased notably, with 10 of 12 airlines improving from 2009, according to the marketing information firm's 2010 North America Airline Satisfaction Study released Tuesday. For five years running, JetBlue Airways (JBLU) ranked highest among low-cost carriers, while Alaska Airlines (ALK) flew higher than other traditional carriers.

Morgan Stanley (MS) is reportedly closing 300 offices and laying off up to 1,200 employees during the next year. The cuts come as Morgan Stanley merges with SmithBarney; Citigroup (C) sold 51% of SmithBarney to Morgan Stanley last year. Shares of Morgan Stanley fell nearly 3% in trading Monday along with other financial stocks, which were driven lower by concern about the ongoing European debt crisis.

BP (BP) shares have lost about a third of their value since the spill in the Gulf of Mexico began in April. And now some on Wall Street are wondering if the oil giant shouldn't declare bankruptcy, in an effort to stem its liability, according to The New York Times. Given the plunge in BP's share price, some bankers and analysts say BP is starting to look like takeover bait, with Shell (RDS) and Exxon Mobil (XOM) chief among companies eager to acquire ailing BP.
Apple (AAPL) unveiled the latest version of its popular iPhone on Monday. Known as the iPhone 4, the freshened smart phone adds new features that include videoconferencing. The new iPhone will be available for pre-market orders starting June 15, hitting stores later on June 24 in the U.S., France, Germany, Japan and the U.K. Prices start at $199 for a 16 GB version.

Shares of New York & Co. (NWY) could be in focus after late losses Monday on a warning from the women's fashion retailer about an expected widening of its second-quarter loss, The Wall Street Journal reports. In premarket action, shares were down nearly 8%, after ending Monday's session down 16 cents, or 4.7%, to $3.28.

Depomed (DEPO) said its new drug application for a treatment to relieve lasting pain caused by shingles has been accepted by federal regulators. The action by the Food and Drug Administration triggers a $10 million milestone payment to Depomed from its licensee, the drug-delivery company said. Shares surged nearly 9% to $3.03 in premarket action.

ConAgra Foods Inc. (CAG) has agreed to sell part of its Gilroy Foods & Flavors unit to a Singapore-based company for $250 million. Shares were up fractionally to $24 a share in after-hours trading.

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