One of the biggest corporate buyouts ever is back on the table. That and more are what's in Thursday's Market Minute.
The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 48 points Wednesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) added 4 and the Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) gained 14 points.
Verizon Communications (VZ) has renewed talks to buy Vodaphone's share of their wireless joint venture. Vodaphone (VOD), which owns 45 percent of the business, confirms that talks are underway. Verizon Wireless is the largest cellular carrier in the U.S. and an acquisition would likely cost Verizon well over $100 billion.
Protests by workers at fast-food chains are expanding, with employees in 50 cities expected to walk off the job today. They're seeking a minimum wage of $15 an hour. Currently, fast-food workers earn well below the poverty level. Workers will picket during lunchtime at McDonald's (MCD), Burger King (BKW), KFC -- a unit of YUM Brands (YUM) -- and Wendy's (WEN) restaurants.
Walmart (WMT) executives will answer questions today from shareholders about how the company operates in Bangladesh following a series of deadly disasters at factories there. The company is expected to lay out its plan to improve worker safety.
Williams-Sonoma's (WSM) quarterly earnings rose by 13 percent, led by strong sales at its Pottery Barn and West Elm units. The retailer also raised its outlook for the rest of the year.
Sticking with the retail theme: Urban Outfitters (URBN) plans to buy back up to 10 million shares of its stock. This is its fourth large repurchase program in the past seven years.
And chip-maker Altera (ALTR) raised its buyback authorization to 13 percent of its shares outstanding.
Shares of the apparel maker Guess (GES) are set to rally after the company's earnings beat expectations.
MasterCard (MA) and Visa (V) could benefit from Obamacare. The Administration will require health insurers to accept prepaid debit card payments from lower-income Americans who don't have checking accounts.
And Ford (F) is adding a second shift at a Michigan plant to ramp up production of its hot-selling Fusion. Sales are up 13 percent so far this year.
-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.
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