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Stocks stablize after sell-off; FedEx drug-shipping probe; AbbVie and Shire finally agree to merge

Hot Stock Minute

U.S. stocks are stable after geopolitical risks rocked investors confidence on Thursday, following the crash of passenger plane in the Ukraine, and as Israel launched a ground offensive in Gaza yesterday. Yahoo Finance Senior Columnist Michael Santoli said this might have been a little bit of an excuse for a shake-out with the markets close to record highs. 

In the world of M&A, Shire (SHPG) finally agreed to be acquired by AbbVie (ABBV) for more than $54 billion in cash and stock, after rejecting four prior takeover offers. The move allows AbbVie, which is based outside Chicago to reduce its tax bill by reincorporating in Britain. The news comes as the Obama administration and some members of Congress are seeking to halt the practice known as tax-inversion.

Investors also sifting through more corporate earnings. Google (GOOGL) impressed investors with a 22% jump in revenue, but missed on earnings. IBM (IBM) on the other hand reported earnings and revenue that topped estimates, but sales fell for the ninth straight quarter on weakening demand for hardware and computer services. General Electric (GE) earnings hit the mark, but revenue was slightly below estimates.

In other news, FedEx (FDX) got hit with criminal charges for shipping drugs from illegal pharmacies. The company was indicted by a federal grand jury for knowingly shipping drugs from illegal online pharmacies to customers who didn't medically need the drugs or have valid prescriptions. FedEx denies wrongdoing and said it will plead not guilty. The company says it handles 10 million packages a day and that the government is asking them to "assume criminal responsibility" for the contents of those packages. “Prescription drug abuse is a huge problem, this isn’t the way to go cracking down on it. These pharmacies - the DEA could shut them down themselves,“ said Yahoo Finance’s Jeff Macke.

The investigation has been going on for several years, and Federal authorities said FedEx was warned back in 2004 that illegal pharmacies were using the company to ship drugs. UPS (UPS) paid $40 million last year to resolve similar charges. Yahoo Finance Senior Columnist Michael Santoli said this is not a big deal for FedEx’s overall business. “This is almost literally blaming the messenger,” he said.

The race to grab a piece of the e-commerce market is on. Both Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR) took steps to boost their e-commerce presence. Facebook said it's testing a "Buy" button so users can purchase items right from ads displayed on their news feeds. And Twitter bought mobile payment system startup CardSpring, which allows users to redeem discounts and coupons in tweets.

In our poll today, we want to know what you think. Would you use e-commerce features on Facebook and Twitter? Vote in our poll, or leave us a comment on Twitter

 

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