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Big News of the Week

Two stocks under $10 merged, Plute Homes ( PHA) and Centex ( CTX). Pulte will buy Centex for $1.3 billion and create the country' biggest homebuilder.

Life insurance companies under $10 received a boost mid-week. The Treasury Department will make TARP funds available to qualifying life insurers. On the news, shares of Hartford Financial Services ( HIF) and Lincoln National ( LNC) jumped.

Bank stocks received mixed reviews last week. Mike Mayo, a Calyon analyst, said that bank loan losses could exceed the Great Depression. He also initiated ratings on financials under $10 like Bank of America ( BAC) and Citigroup ( C) with underperform ratings. Billionaire investor George Soros also weighed in and predicted that the U.S. economy won't recover until 2010.

Dick Bove, Rochdale Securities analyst, made headlines by saying BofA's stock would return to all-time highs. Meanwhile, an Oppenheimer analyst lowered quarterly and full-year estimates for the bank.

General Motors ( GM) announced a partnership with Segway and unveiled a two-wheeled electric car. Competitor, Ford ( F) completed a tender offer and reduced its debt by $9.9 billion.

IBM ( IBM) dropped its bid for Sun Microsystems ( JAVA) which drove down Sun's shares.

Finally, first-quarter earnings season unofficially kicked off with numbers from Alcoa ( AA). The aluminum company reported a loss of 59 cents a share and a 36% decline in revenue based on weak demand and the sluggish economy.

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Alix joined TV in February 2007. Previously, she held positions in film and theater production, management, and legal administration. Alix has a degree in communications and theater from Northwestern University.