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In another cliffhanger, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) spent much of the day above the 13,000 level before finally falling back. News of some details on Greece's debt restructuring made it clear exactly how massive an undertaking it will be and raised some concerns about the impact it could have on the entire European economy. The Dow ended up closing down 2 points to 12,983, although the S&P 500 set a multiyear high, joining its peers over recent weeks.
Earlier today, I looked at three Dow stocks that turned out to be among the top performers today. So let me turn instead to some other gainers for Friday.
Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) , up 0.7%
Drug giant Pfizer is in the process of trying to sell off its infant nutrition unit to focus more on its core business. Reports surfaced early today that Mead Johnson Nutrition, itself a spinoff from Bristol-Myers Squibb, plans to team up with France's Danone to make a bid for the business. With Nestle already expected to participate, a bidding war could be great news for Pfizer.
One potential hurdle is concentration in the baby formula market, which could raise anti-competitive concerns. With bids due in early March, you won't have to wait long to find out what happens next.
Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG ) , up 0.4%
The news wasn't so bright at consumer goods giant P&G. The company announced that it will nix 5,700 jobs as one component of a cost-cutting plan expected to try to trim as much as $10 billion. The cuts will represent a 10% drop in P&G's non-manufacturing job base.
From an investing standpoint, the move could help P&G be more competitive and boost shares. But as just another example of how this economic recovery hasn't been as supportive of new jobs as previous ones, P&G's news could fuel more criticism of government efforts to boost the economy, especially in this election year.
ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM ) , up 0.4%
Overall, energy stocks got a boost from higher oil prices. But Exxon had particularly good news of its own.
The company said that it has discovered huge quantities of natural gas in an offshore find near the cost of Tanzania. Working with Statoil (NYSE: STO ) , Exxon's analysis suggests a find of up to 5 trillion cubic feet of gas. With the east African nation well-placed to serve Asian markets, the prospect of exporting liquefied natural gas could spell new prosperity for the region.
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