Movers: Thornburg Mortgage, Merrill Lynch, Wal-Mart, Coldwater Creek

Stocks in the news on Thursday

Thornburg Mortgage (TMA) says in a regulatory filing that it has suffered defaults under a variety of lending agreements, and that its obligations under those agreements are "material." The company also said JP Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) plans to exercise its rights under an agreement under which it lent $320 million, after TMA failed to meet a $28 million margin call. The notification from JP Morgan triggered cross-defaults under all its other reverse repurchase agreements and secured loan agreements. S&P downgrades to sell from hold, while Bear Stearns cuts to underperform from peer perform.

Annaly Capital Management (NLY) falls 3.47 to 15.81 after S&P cuts target price and says it thinks NLY shares under pressure as result of Carlyle Capital's failure to meet margin calls. S&P maintains buy.

Anworth Mortgage Asset (ANH) falls 2.62 to 6.23 after Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reportedly downgrades ANH and MFA Mortgage Investments (MFA) to market perform from outperform.

Merrill Lynch (MER) says it is discontinuing mortgage origination at its First Franklin unit in U.S, and will explore the sale Home Loan Services, a mtge loan servicing unit for First Franklin. It says the decision to discontinue lending by First Franklin is because of the deterioration of the subprime lending market. Separately, it announces that it has amended terms of its Exchange Liquid Yield Option Notes due 2032.

Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) posts 2.6% higher total U.S. February same-store sales, excluding fuel, 3.0% higher with fuel, 8.9% higher total company sales. Results were stronger than expected. The retailer sees U.S. March same-store sales flat to up 2%.

Washington Mutual (WM) falls after S&P Ratings Services lowers its long-term counterparty credit ratings on WM to 'BBB' from 'BBB+' and its long-term counterparty credit ratings on Washington Mutual Bank to 'BBB+' from 'A-'. S&P Ratings Services also places all of its WM ratings on CreditWatch with negative implications.

KKR Financial Holdings (KFN) falls after S&P Ratings Services lowered its ratings on the extendible asset-backed commercial paper notes issued by KKR Atlantic Funding Trust and KKR Pacific Funding Trust programs and removed them from CreditWatch with negative implications.

Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE) are seen lower as mortgage-backed and corporate "agency" debt obligations issued by companies fell relative to U.S. government securities.

According to a regulatory filing, Carl Icahn has raised his stake in Motorola (MOT) to 6.3% from 5%.

Coldwater Creek (CWTR) posts $0.19 fourth quarter loss per share, vs. $0.17 EPS a year ago, on 19% lower same-store sales, 5.7% lower total sales. Sees $0.14-$0.17 first quarter loss, $0.20 loss to breakeven in fiscal year 2009. Roth Capital downgrades to hold from buy. S&P cuts estimate, maintains hold.

J.C. Penney (JCP) posts 6.7% lower February same-store sales, compared with guidance for a low-single digit decrease. For the five-week period ending April 5, expects low-single digit decrease in comparable store sales, while total sales for March period are expected to be about flat, and will benefit from the opening of 10 new and relocated stores at the beginning of the March period.

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