Walgreen Withdraws Bid for Longs Drug Stores

Walgreen ( WAG) has decided to drop its pursuit of Longs Drug Stores ( LDG), citing the broad financial meltdown.

Walgreen had offered $75 per share in cash -- which was higher than the CVS Caremark ( CVS) offer of $71.50 per share in cash. The board for Long's Drug Stores refused to discuss any agreement with Walgreen's management.

We think Walgreen is making the best move it can at this time. The credit markets are tough -- so financing for any deal may have come at a prohibitive cost.

We advised investors to take profits on the run-up in LDG shares back in mid-September, when shares jumped up to $76 right after the WAG offer. That call looks even better now -- after Walgreen's subsequent withdraw. None of the stocks mentioned above are on our "Recommended" list.

MetLife/Hartford Financial Services Reportedly Mulling Merger

It appears that MetLife ( MET) and Hartford Financial Services ( HIG) may be considering a potential merger, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

According to the WSJ, MetLife recently approached Hartford regarding a merger -- but the talks "didn't lead anywhere."

Both companies have seen their stock prices hit hard over the last month and have taken steps to increase their liquidity. Hartford Financial recently got a $2.5 billion capital infusion from Allianz SE -- Europe's biggest insurer -- while MetLife raised nearly $2 billion after an offering of 75 million shares at $26.50 per share. MetLife also announced a plan to cut jobs -- but didn't offer details about that plan.

We prefer either company look for a stronger partner, rather than the thought of putting two struggling companies under one roof. Basic arithmetic states that when you multiply two negative numbers, you get a positive, but we're not sure that rule applies on Wall Street.

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