STOCKS NEWS US-Barclays slashes price target on Alcoa by 40 pct

Wed Dec 24, 2008 2:02pm GMT

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U.S. stock market report [.N] 0858 ET 24Dec2008-Barclays slashes price target on Alcoa by 40 pct ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Barclays Wednesday cut its price target on aluminum company Alcoa Inc (AA.N) by 40 percent, dropping it to $12 from $20. "With commodity prices low and downstream end markets continuing to rapidly deteriorate, it seems highly probable that results and, more importantly, the outlook provided will be fairly gloomy," the firm wrote, adding that it expected 2009 consensus estimates on the company would continue to fall.

The firm also cut its current earnings estimate on Alcoa to $1.37 a share from $1.70 a share, and its next-year estimate to 40 cents from $2.10 a share, a drop of 81 percent.

Shares of Alcoa, a Dow component, closed Friday at $9.57.

Reuters Messaging: ryan.vlastelica.reuters.com@reuters.net 0849 ET 24Dec2008-Futures remain flat after barrage of data ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

U.S. index futures remained flat on Wednesday, following the release of data that seemed to suggest the recession was deepening. Initial claims data showed that the number of U.S. workers filing for jobless benefits rose by 30,000 to 586,000, a 26-year high that was worse than expected. Also, durable goods orders slid by 1 percent in November while U.S. consumer spending was down 0.6 percent.

Dow Jones industrial average futures DJc1 were up 19 points while S&P 500 futures SPc1 rose 1.8 points and Nasdaq 100 futures NDc1 added 0.5 points.

Reuters Messaging: ryan.vlastelica.reuters.com@reuters.net 0845 ET 24Dec2008-Consumer spending down for 5th straight month ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

U.S. consumer spending fell by 0.6 percent in November, dropping for the fifth straight month as income shrank amid a deepening economic recession. The Reuters Estimate was for a decline of 0.7 percent.

Incomes contracted by 0.2 percent in November, after increasing 0.1 percent in October, when spending was down 1 percent. [ID:nN24257176]

Reuters Messaging: ryan.vlastelica.reuters.com@reuters.net 0840 ET 24Dec2008-Durable goods orders drop 1 percent in November ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

New U.S. orders for long-lasting manufactured goods fell by 1 percent in November, according to a government report. The fall was less than the decline of 3 percent that had been forecast by Reuters Estimates.

According to the report, much of the overall drop was concentrated in transportation equipment, where orders fell 7.4 percent. [ID:nN24257266]

Reuters Messaging: ryan.vlastelica.reuters.com@reuters.net 0836 ET 24Dec2008-Jobless claims up by 30,000, worse than expected ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The number of U.S. workers filing for initial claims for jobless benefits surged by 30,000 to a 26-year high last week, rising to 586,000, the highest level since 1982. Analysts had expected 560,000 new claims would be filed. [ID:nN23536356]

Reuters Messaging: ryan.vlastelica.reuters.com@reuters.net 0804 ET 24Dec2008-Citigroup to cut ties with Old Lane Partners: WSJ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Citigroup (C.N) will sever its ties with senior executives of Old Lane Partners by Dec. 31, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Old Lane is a hedge fund co-founded by Vikram Pandit, who later became Citigroup's chief executive. [ID:nBNG406012]

Shares of Citigroup, a Dow component, edged up to $6.55 before the bell on Wednesday after closing at $6.52.

Reuters Messaging: ryan.vlastelica.reuters.com@reuters.net 0756 ET 24Dec2008-Futures flat ahead of economic data ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

U.S. futures were flat on Wednesday, on a short trading day as investors awaited such economic data as consumer spending data and the early release of weekly jobless claims. Consumer spending is expected to decline by 0.7 percent in November, a fifth consecutive drop. [ID:nN24248465]

Dow Jones industrial average futures DJc1 were down 20 points while S&P 500 futures SPc1 slid 2.1 points and Nasdaq 100 futures NDc1 were off 0.5 points.

Reuters Messaging: ryan.vlastelica.reuters.com@reuters.net