TEL AVIV (MarketWatch) -- Among the companies whose shares are expected to see active trade in Friday's session are ArcelorMittal, Boeing, Bristol-Myers, Freddie Mac, United Rentals and U.S. Steel. The market was closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday, and the Friday session ends early, at 1 p.m. Eastern.
Air France-KLM reported that fiscal second-quarter profit nearly doubled on 5.8% higher sales. Fares rose, and the carrier booked a gain on the sale of an asset.
Anglo American: /zigman2/quotes/204130805/composite AAUKF -4.14% HSBC upgraded themetal extractor to overweight from neutral, saying the recent retreat in the shares on growth fears seems overdone. The broker told clients it remains "constructive" on the commodity price cycle and that the asset restructuring the company will complete in 2008 opens prospects of further buybacks.
ArcelorMittal /zigman2/quotes/202790215/composite MT +1.28% boosted its stake in Hong Kong-listed China Oriental Group Co. /zigman2/quotes/207317613/delayed HK:581 +0.53% to more than 73% from 28%, according to wire reports, which cited a statement by the company to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange Thursday. The world's largest steelmaker purchased the 28% stake in China Oriental from Chen Ningning on Nov. 7 for $647 million, the reports said. The acquisition would make ArcelorMittal the first foreign firm to take control of a Chinese steelmaker, the reports said. In a statement, ArcelorMittal said it was in talks to increase its holding but it didn't elaborate.
Boeing Co., /zigman2/quotes/208579720/composite BA +2.28% the Chicago aerospace giant, said on Thursday that KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, part of Air France-KLM Group, ordered three more next-generation 737-700 jets and two more 777-300 extended-range aircraft. KLM also took options on one additional 737 and two more 777s. The order is list-priced at $716 million.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. /zigman2/quotes/202559280/composite BMY -0.21% and Pierre Fabre Medicament are terminating a license agreement for developing vinflunine, a chemotherapy agent under investigation for treatment of bladder cancer and other tumors. Vinflunine was developed by Pierre Fabre Medicament and licensed to Bristol-Myers Squibb, a New York health and personal-care provider, in 2004 for specific territories. Based on several factors, including a decision not to file a new drug application for bladder cancer in the U.S., the companies decided to return the licensing rights to Pierre Fabre Medicament.
Burst.com Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202063771/composite BRST -10.71% said Wednesday it settled a lawsuit filed against Apple Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +1.62% for infringing patents related to technology used to store and transfer video and audio files, and will receive a one-time cash licensing payment of $10 million.
Crane Co. /zigman2/quotes/210025168/composite CR +0.77% said J. Robert Vipond resigned as chief financial officer. The industrial-product manufacturer's president and chief executive officer, Eric Fast, will serve as interim CFO while the company searches externally for a new CFO.
Ford Motor Co.: /zigman2/quotes/208911460/composite F +1.71% Labor representatives at the Jaguar and Land Rover units back a bid by Tata Motors Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/209145303/composite TTM +1.74% of India to purchase the brands, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter. About 60 senior shop stewards who represent workers at both units voted during a meeting at Land Rover's factory in Solihull, England, supporting Tata's bid, according to the Journal. The vote isn't binding but is expected to give a boost to Tata's pursuit of the brands, the Journal said.
Freddie Mac holders filed a suit alleging that the mortgage buyer didn't have adequate risk-control measures in place between August 2006 and November 2007. The complaint, which seeks status as a class action, also alleges that company procedures led to inflated appraisals and increased risk of defaults.
H&R Block, /zigman2/quotes/207406664/composite HRB +4.11% the tax-preparation firm that's been hit by U.S. subprime mortgage losses, said Greenwich Capital Financial Products has increased its funding to $750 million from $400 million. The funding is for H&R's Option One Mortgage Corp.
Osiris Therapeutics said Friday that Cary Claiborne, its chief financial officer, has left the company to pursue other opportunities. Phil Jacoby, controller and assistant secretary, will serve as interim CFO until a permanent successor is named.
Siemens /zigman2/quotes/214908078/composite SI -0.92% won a 170-million-euro ($250 million) order to supply wind and steam turbines for renewable energy projects in Spain. Customers are the Spanish energy company Iberdrola /zigman2/quotes/205092538/composite IBDRY +4.67% and Solel Solar Systems of Israel.
Thomson Corp. said Friday that it has resumed its buyback program, under which the company can repurchase up to 15 million of its common shares. The Stamford, Conn., financial data provider had temporarily suspended repurchases before announcing its proposed acquisition of Reuters Group PLC [s: RTRSY] in May. Thomson said it still expects to receive regulatory clearance for the Reuters deal in the first quarter of 2008.
UAL Corp.: Indications are that the parent of United Airlines remains open to the idea of a merger with another carrier, accord to a Business Week report. Saddled with one of the thinnest profit margins in the industry, Chicago-based UAL is exploring asset sales as well as spinning off Mileage Plus, its frequent-flier program, as a way of becoming more attractive as a prospective merger partner, the magazine reported in its Dec. 3 issue. Moreover, United's on record as saying it plans to rely on its existing fleet of 460 jets until 2015 or 2016 -- at a time when rival carriers have been busy placing orders for new aircraft. One potential merger candidate, Delta Air Lines Inc. /zigman2/quotes/200327741/composite DAL +1.90% , shot down talk of doing a deal with UAL earlier this month, but investors and analysts remain of the view that Delta's the most logical choice for UAL and Chief Executive Glenn Tilton, followed by U.S. Airways. Tilton wasn't available for comment, Business Week reported.
United Rentals Inc.: /zigman2/quotes/204230955/composite URI +0.60% Cerberus, the New York private-equity firm, late on Wednesday said it asked a New York State Supreme Court, a trial court, for a judgment against Cerberus claims that it is not obligated to complete its acquisition of the Greenwich, Conn., equipment-rental company and that under their agreement, URI is entitled only to damages. On Monday, URI said that it sued Cerberus in the Delaware Court of Chancery to compel the investment firm to close the acquisition. Cerberus had agreed to pay $34.50 a share, or $7 billion, for United Rentals. Cerberus said on Wednesday that its agreement with URI includes a liability cap of $100 million if the deal did not go through. United Rentals has said that Cerberus's effort to end the deal is a ploy to lower the deal price.
U.S. Steel Corp. /zigman2/quotes/200069642/composite X 0.00% said it plans to challenge a recent decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission to revoke an anti-dumping duty order on large-diameter welded line pipe from Mexico. The steelmaker will appeal the ITC's ruling to a binational dispute-resolution panel and will ask for reinstatement of the anti-dumping order.
Volvo: /zigman2/quotes/208939564/delayed SE:VOLV.B +0.85% J.P. Morgan upgraded the auto maker to overweight from neutral, saying the valuation relative to its peers and history no longer looks demanding. The broker told clients the toughest quarters for Volvo are now behind it and the stock's attraction lies with the strong book-to-bill in its European truck business, potential to benefit from a market-volume recovery in the U.S. and Japan in 2008 and 2009, and integration of acquisitions.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., /zigman2/quotes/207374728/composite WMT +0.86% the Bentonville, Ark., retailer, lost an effort to block the public from seeing certain court documents in a tax dispute with North Carolina, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. A judge rejected the company's attempt to block public access to the material, the paper reported.
WSB Financial Group said it received a notice from Nasdaq that its stock is subject to delisting due to a delay in filing its report for the quarter ended Sept. 30. The company will request a hearing to appeal potential delisting. WSB said it delayed filing its quarterly report to complete an assessment of its loan portfolio by independent auditors.