NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
Caution was the word of the day. Investors seem wary of letting the market get too far ahead of itself, so after a stellar Monday that saw both the Dow and the Nasdaq hit 52-week highs, stocks crept back down a bit.
The market digested a couple of merger announcements, some earnings results, and of course, more scandals. And on the economic front, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas announced after the bell that planned layoffs jumped 125 percent in October to their highest level in a year.
For the day, the Dow slipped 19.63 points to close at 9,838.83, the Nasdaq edged down 9.73 points to 1,957.97, and the S&P slipped 5.77 points to 1,053.25. Check out Loose Change for news on Gucci's troubles...
TAKING STOCK Big news from Novell. The business-software company announced that it will acquire German Linux developer SuSE Linux AG for $210 million in cash. That's not all -- Novell added that IBM plans to invest $50 million in its stock, a big thumbs up from Big Blue. NOVL stock shot up more than 21 percent to $7.33, while IBM lost 54 cents to $89.14.
This new Linux dominance for Novell threatens Red Hat's sweet spot, and it certainly spelled trouble for Red Hat stock, which lost $1.80 to $13.58.
In earnings news, Gillette came out smooth, beating analyst estimates by growing quarterly earnings 17.5 percent to $416 million from $354 million last year. Sure, Gillette had to spend more on advertising to keep from losing market share to a new four-bladed razor from Schick, but strong sales and the weak dollar helped results.
And don't forget, Gillette owns Duracell as well -- the battery division's sales powered up 7 percent. Gillette stock added $1.65 to $34.15.
TYCO TRIMS While former Chairman Dennis Kozlowski sits on trial in downtown Manhattan, Tyco's new chairman, Edward Breen, is making changes and making headlines. Bermuda-based Tyco announced that it will unwind parts of its empire by cutting 7,200 jobs, dropping more than 50 lines of business, and selling its undersea fiber-optic cable network.
What really got the stock going was the company's forecast of double-digit earnings growth in this quarter. The quarter ended September 30 was less pretty: The conglomerate took a $1.2 billion charge for the restructuring, pushing earnings to a net loss of $297.1 million. Investors seem to think the company is inching back on track, and TYC stock added $1.48 to $22.50 on Tuesday. Now, how's good old Dennis doing?
SCANDAL SCORECARD More on the mutual fund debacle. Regulators today charged seven former Prudential Securities employees with defrauding mutual funds and raking in millions in improper trades, backed by the support of superiors.
Massachusetts regulators say Prudential ignored up to 30,000 letters sent by some 68 fund companies warning that market timing was going on. Bad news for Prudential Securities' joint owners, Prudential Financial and Wachovia Corp. PRU stock slid 98 cents to $38.05 while Wachovia dropped 40 cents to $45.47...
Here's the latest from Scrushy-land (aka Alabama, where former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy must now stay, with a monitoring device on his ankle). Today Scrushy was indicted on 85 criminal counts for fabricating an additional $2.7 billion in income for his health-care company.
Scrushy took it like a man (I guess) and surrendered at the FBI office and appeared in court in Birmingham. His lawyer said he'll plead 'not guilty' to the slew of charges, which include money laundering and wire fraud. Let's see how this trial comes down. HLSH.PK's struggling stock gave up another 3 cents to close at $2.78.
Cephalon the move After the bell yesterday, Cephalon, which develops drugs that treat neurological disorders and cancer, agreed to pay about $515 million in cash to buy Cima, which makes so-called "oral drug delivery systems" -- basically, it makes drugs dissolve quickly on the tongue. CIMA added $1.47 to $32.78 today, but Cephalon lost 56 cents to $45.86...
Gucci gasps The luxury design house was deserted by its legendary "dream team" today -- CEO Domenico De Sole and designer Tom Ford said they'd leave the booming company they had built up. The pair didn't negotiate new contracts with the company's owner, Pinault Printemps Redoute.
De Sole and Ford had wanted full autonomy for the Florence-based fashion house with $2.9 billion in annual revenues. When they didn't get it they announced their April 30 departure. That's bad news for Gucci, which could use strong leadership as luxury good sales pick up along with the economy. PPR is certainly in the market for a new designer now...
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