U.S. stocks closed lower Friday, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 25 points to 14514, the Standard & Poor's dropped 2.5 points to 1560, and the Nasdaq Composite declined 9.9 points to 3249. Among the companies with shares actively trading after hours are Constellation Brands Inc. (STZ, STZB).
Shares of Constellation rose 3.6% after hours to $47.40 on the news that Anheuser-Busch InBev N.V. (BUD, ABI.BT), Mexico's Grupo Modelo S.A.B. (GPMCY, GMODELO.MX) and the Justice Department asked a federal court Friday to allow more time for settlement talks that could resolve a government antitrust lawsuit challenging the companies' planned merger. In a revised deal reached after the Justice Department sued to block the original deal in late January, AB InBev offered to sell an additional $2.9 billion of assets to Constellation in a bid to rescue a proposed takeover of Modelo, and agreed to sell Modelo's Piedras Negras brewery in Mexico to Constellation.
Regular Session Movers:
Teen apparel retailer Aeropostale Inc. (ARO, $13.75, -$0.76, -5.24%) forecast a surprise loss for the current quarter as it reported a fiscal fourth-quarter loss amid higher impairment charges and weaker sales during its critical holiday selling season. S&P Capital IQ downgraded the stock to hold from buy, expecting margin pressure from the clearance of holiday inventory.
A number of big U.S. banks late Thursday unveiled plans for dividends and stock buybacks following the latest round of the Federal Reserve's stress tests. In all, 14 of the 18 largest U.S. banks received unconditional approval from the Fed for their plans to distribute capital to shareholders. Among the largest U.S. banks, Bank of America Corp. (BAC, $12.57, +$0.46, +3.80%) said its board approved the repurchase of $5 billion of its shares and the redemption of about $5.5 billion in preferred stock. Two companies, Ally Financial Inc. and BB&T Corp. (BBT, $30.98, -$0.75, -2.36%) had their plans rejected. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM, $50.02, -$0.98, -1.92%), meanwhile, was dealt a blow by the Fed, which cited weaknesses in the bank's stress test capital planning that could hamper its funneling more dividends and share buybacks to investors. The bank also faces a grilling from lawmakers on Capitol Hill Friday.
Well-servicing provider Basic Energy Services Inc. (BAS, $15.35, +$0.86, + 5.94%) said that its rig utilization rose to 71% in February, compared with 67% in January and 76% in Feb. 2012, despite snow, wind, and ice interruptions at its mid-continent and Permian Basin operations. The company also expects customer spending to improve. SunTrust added that the latest jump in natural gas prices could help Basic as well.
Brown Shoe Co. (BWS, $17.50, -$0.90, -4.89%) swung to a fiscal fourth-quarter profit as the footwear company recorded fewer restructuring charges and higher revenue at its Famous Footwear segment, catapulting results above Street estimates. However, the company offered a weak view for the year, with adjust per-share earnings and revenue estimates below analysts' expectations.
Callon Petroleum Co. (CPE, $4.38, -$0.62, -12.40%) swung to a fourth-quarter loss as the energy company was hurt in part by lower selling prices of crude oil and natural gas. Per-share earnings and revenue missed analysts' estimates.
CenterPoint Energy Inc. (CNP, $23.41, +$1.57, +7.19%), OGE Energy Corp. (OGE, $67.63, +$6.28, +10.24%) and ArcLight Capital Partners LLC are combining their pipeline and related assets into a partnership, a move that would give them a fresh source of capital as they seek to take advantage of booming demand for shipping oil and natural gas.
DirecTV (DTV, $54.99, +$2.39, +4.54%) said it is dropping out of the auction to buy Vivendi SA's (VIVEF, $20.92, -$0.58, -2.70%) GVT, a Brazilian telecom operator. DirecTV had been eyeing GVT as a way of bolstering its Latin American operations, but the company "has decided not to move forward in its pursuit of GVT and has withdrawn from the process," a DirecTV spokesman said.
Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corp. (GLDD, $7.36, -$1.62, -18.00%) has restated its second-quarter and third-quarter results after the company found instances in its demolition segment where revenue was incorrectly recognized for those periods. The company also reported fourth-quarter earnings that sharply missed analyst expectations.
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