Chevron, Devon, Statoil Announce Oil Find

Compagnie Generale De Geophysique to buy Veritas; Phelps Dodge and Inco cancel merger; plus more stocks in the news Tuesday

From Standard & Poor's Equity Research

Chevron (CVX) Successfully completed and tested its Jack #2 well in the Gulf of Mexico in 7,000 feet of water, and more than 20,000 feet under the sea floor, marking a new Chevron record as the deepest successful well test in the Gulf of Mexico. Devon (DVN) and Statoil ASA (STO) each own a 25% interest.

Devon Energy (DVN) and co-owners Chevron (CVX) and Statoil (STO) successfully complete the extended production test on the Jack #2 well in the Gulf of Mexico. The well sustained flow rates of more than 6,000 barrels of oil per day. Devon owns a 25% interest in Jack.

Veritas (VTS) agrees to be acquired by Compagnie Generale De Geophysique (GGY) in a cash and stock deal valued at about $3.1 billion, or about $75 per share.

Merrill Lynch (MER) is to buy First Franklin's origination franchise and related servicing platform from National City Corp (NCC) for $1.3 billion. Separately, National City Corp also expects to sell to Merrill Lynch about $5.6 billion of First Franklin-orig mortgage loans from its loan portfolio.

Viacom (VIA.B) Names Philippe Dauman as President and CEO, replacing Tom Freston, who has resigned. It also names Thomas Dooley as Senior EVP and Chief Administrative Officer.

Ford Motor (F)'s CEO reportedly says that a new business model is needed in order to turn the company around.

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) lowers its 2006 EPS from continuing operations (GAAP) estimate to "no less than" 95 cents. It cites the assumption that sales of Apotex's generic clopidogrel made before imposition of a preliminary injunction satisfy substantially all U.S. demand in 2006.

Inco (N) and Phelps Dodge (PD) agree to terminate a combination agreement. Inco is to pay Phelps Dodge a $125 million termination fee, as well as a further $350 million if Inco consummates an alternative take-over bid or similar transaction on or prior to Sept. 7.

Medifast (MED) Heavy insider selling only strengthens the case against the company, which already suffers from credibility problems. Bears see stock going as low as $9 or even $8, according to Barron's.

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