Market Minute: P&G Brings Back Lafley; Google Faces New Antitrust Probe

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Procter & Gamble brings back an oldie but goodie, and Google faces new charges.

U.S. stocks avoided the rout that damaged markets around the world Thursday. The Dow industrials (^DJI) fell 12 points Thursday, the S&P 500 (^GSPC) lost 4 and the Nasdaq (^IXIC) edged 3 points lower.

What's old is new again at Procter & Gamble (PG). No, the consumer-products giant isn't reinventing Tide or Crest. It's bringing back A.G. Lafley as president and CEO. Lafley replaces his own hand-picked successor, Bob McDonald, who unexpectedly announced his retirement after four years in the corner office.

Google (GOOG) is reportedly facing a new antitrust investigation into whether it illegally dominates Internet advertising. News reports say the Federal Trade Commission is launching this probe just five months after dropping a separate investigation.

Sears Holdings (SHLD) is in for a rough day. Its shares are set for a double-digit decline after posting a loss of $279 million, as sales continued to slide. The company, which operates Sears and Kmart stores, plans to close more than 100 stores.

The clothing retailer Gap (GPS) has its mojo back. After several challenging years, Gap posted a 43 percent jump in quarterly earnings, topping Wall Street expectations.

But two other fashion retailers -- Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) and Aeropostale (ARO) could come under pressure. Abercrombie posted a quarterly loss, and Aeropostale said its sales declined last quarter. It also forecast a worse than expected loss in the current period.

Pandora Media (P) shareholders are giving thumbs up to the strong sales from the Internet music services. Pandora shares have already rallied 45 percent in the three months since its last quarterly report.

It's not unusual for disgruntled shareholders to confront corporate executives at annual meetings, but this one got out of hand. Cablevision Systems (CVC) CEO James Dolan yesterday called the police to evict protesters. Those protesters were linked to a union in a long-running labor dispute with the company.


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