General Mills ( GIS), the maker of Cheerios, reported a slip in earnings as increasing input costs and price-conscious consumers in the fiscal third quarter weighed on profitability. Profit came in at $391.5 million, or 58 cents a share, in the quarter ending Feb. 26, down from $392.1 million a year earlier. Revenue came in at $4.12 billion; analysts were looking for $4.09 billion. Shares were slipping 0.2% to $38.76 a share.
Jabil Circuit ( JBL), the provider of electronics manufacturing services, posted second-quarter profit that was in-line with estimates but the low end of its third-quarter outlook came in below analysts' estimates. For its fiscal third quarter ending in May, Jabil forecast core earnings of 60 cents to 70 cents a share on revenue of $4.2 billion to $4.4 billion. Analysts forecast profit of 65 cents a share on revenue of $4.35 billion. Shares were down 2.2% to $25.90.
Hartford Financial Services Group ( HIG)
Discover Financial Services ( DFS) is expected to report a jump in profit for the period of December through February, as more customers used credit cards to buy gifts and pay bills during the holidays. Analysts forecast 94 cents a share in profit on $1.84 billion in revenue, up from $1.73 billion in the period a year ago.
Thomson Reuters ( TRI) is in talks to sell its health care business in coming days, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The news provider had suspended the sale of the unit last year citing because of volatile market conditions. The people said the unit could sell for around $1 billion, the Journal reported. One person said a sale could come as early as this week.
On Assignment ( ASGN), the second largest IR staffing firm in the U.S., will buy staffing company Apex Systems for about $505 million in cash and stock. The combination is expected to more than double the buyer's revenue and will close the second half of the year. Almost half of On Assignment's revenue from 2011 was from the IT and engineering staffing. Shares of On Assignment were soaring 24.3% to $17 a share in premarket trading, as investors welcomed the deal.
Reports on Tuesday said HP ( HPQ) was looking to merge its printer and PC division into one arm. According to AllThingsD, HP will merge its Imaging and Printing Group into the Personal Systems Group, and the combined unit will report to Executive Vice President Todd Bradley, citing sources familiar with the matter. Vyomesh "VJ" Joshi, who is in charge of Imaging and Printing, would leave the company. The plan is aimed at reducing costs, a person familiar with the matter told the Journal. The two units together generate about $65 billion a year in revenue.
-- Written by Joseph Woelfel and Chao Deng >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Joseph Woelfel