NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire -06/27/12)- Energy and financial shares in the S&P 500 saw the biggest losses Friday, as all 10 groups in the index fell on concerns the European Union Summit will do little to ease Europe's growing financial crisis. "Declining oil prices and near-record low bond yields indicate slowing global growth, while elevated sovereign credit spreads and a strong U.S. dollar suggest the European crisis is nowhere near being resolved," said Mandy Xu, an equity derivatives strategist at Credit Suisse. Five Star Equities examines the outlook for companies in the S&P 500 and provides equity research on Altria Group, Inc. (MO) and 3M Co. (MMM).
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The European Union summit will begin on June 28 and will be the European leaders first meeting since the Greek elections on June 17. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stated her resistance to debt sharing in Europe. "It's not a bold prediction to say that in Brussels most eyes -- all eyes -- will be on Germany yet again," Merkel said. "I say quite openly: when I think of the summit on Thursday I'm concerned that once again the discussion will be far too much about all kinds of ideas for joint liability and far too little about improved oversight and structural measures." State Street Corp. predicts the euro will likely fall to $1.20 by the end of the year as the region's debt crisis grows.
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The brand portfolios of Altria's tobacco operating companies include such well-known names as Marlboro, Copenhagen, Skoal and Black & Mild. Altria currently offers investors an annual dividend of $1.64 per share for a yield of around 4.8 percent. Shares of the company are up nearly 14 percent year-to-date.
3M recently reported that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the business of Federal Signal Technologies Group (FSTech) from Federal Signal Corp., for a purchase price of $110 million in cash. FSTech focuses on electronic toll collection and parking management hardware and software services. The fast-growing $3 billion electronic tolling industry is projected to grow at a rate greater than 12 percent per year as government agencies increasingly rely on tolling to fund roadway infrastructure, construction and maintenance.
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