Northern Trust Will Eliminate 450 Jobs

Northern Trust

(NTRS) - Get Report

is announcing plans to cut about 4% of its staff to reduce costs and streamline operations amid the weakening economy.

The company is cutting about 450 jobs. The company reported it had over 12,000 employees at the end of September. Following the company's report this past quarter, management was not able to offer EPS or revenue guidance for 2009.

We removed Northern Trust from our "Recommended" list on Sept. 29, when the stock was trading at $79.90 a share. The company has a 2.45% dividend yield, based on Friday's closing stock price of $45.79. The company does have long-term technical support around the $30 per share level, last hit in 2003. If that fails to hold, then the next area could possibly be 1997 lows of $20. We would look elsewhere for better investment opportunities.

Northern Trust is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 2.9 out of 5 stars.

Aetna Reaffirms 2009 Guidance

Aetna

(AET)

just announced it is reaffirming its earnings guidance for this year and 2009.

The company said it expects 2009 earnings growth of 3% to 5%, subject to pension expense -- which will be determined based at year-end. The company's guidance should bring its EPS to $4.08 for 2009, which would be a penny below consensus estimates. The company did have 17.7 million members at the end of its recent quarter, up 6.4% from a year ago.

We have avoided shares of Aetna since our early June coverage began, when the stock was trading at $46.48. The company currently has a .19% dividend yield -- based on Friday's closing stock price of $21.01. The company is near the 2004 technical support levels of $20 per share. If that fails to hold, then the $12-14 area may be the next stop. We would look elsewhere for better investment opportunities.

Aetna is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.1 out of 5 stars.

Waste Management Announces 7.4% Dividend Increase

Waste Management

(WMI)

just announced it will raise its quarterly dividend to $0.29 per share -- or $1.16 per share per year -- which would be an increase of 7.4% compared to the dividends paid in 2008.

Management is optimistic about the company's ability to continues to produce consistent and strong cash flows.

We put Waste Management on our "Recommended" list back on Oct. 13, when the stock was trading at $25.76. The company will now have a 3.88%, based on the new dividend payout and Friday's closing stock price of $29.91.

Waste Management is a "Recommended" stock at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars.

MGM Mirage Rallies On Casino Sale

MGM Mirage

(MGM) - Get Report

shares are up over 10% after the company announced plans to sell the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino to billionaire Phil Ruffin for $500 million in cash.

The market's initial response to the deal is a good one, since the sale should help to improve its liquidity position. The acquisition is targeted to close by the end of the 2009 second quarter.

The casino operator has seen shares fall from the $90 level it hit just last October. The debt levels for casino operators have made the companies tough stocks to own, especially with the weakening economic picture. The company does have short-term technical support at the $8 level, but a drop below that may have the shares retest the 1998 lows that took the stock down to $5.75 a share. We would look elsewhere for better investment opportunities.

MGM Mirage does not currently pay a dividend.

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At the time of publication, the author had no positions in stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.

Tom Reese and Paul Rubillo are senior editors of Dividend.com. Visit Dividend.com for more dividend stock ratings, picks, news, and analysis for long-term and income-seeking investors.