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Stocks To Watch: Altria, Juniper, Merck, Time Warner, UPS

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Stocks to watch for Wednesday, January 31

  • Ace (ACE) said fourth-quarter net income more than doubled as the Bermuda-based insurer and reinsurer selectively underwrote new risks and avoided big catastrophe losses. Net income was $665 million, or $1.99 a share after payment of preferred dividends. That was up from net income of $236 million, or 69 cents a share, during the same quarter a year earlier.
  • Airgas (ARG) reported third-quarter net earnings of $32.5 million, or 42 cents a share, up 5.4% from $30.8 million, or 40 cents a share, during the year-ago period. Excluding a debt charge, earnings from continuing operations were $40.3 million, or 50 cents a share.
  • Allegiant Travel (ALGT) said its fourth-quarter net loss widened to $1.55 million, or 17 cents a share, from $404,000, or 6 cents a share, in the same period last year, mainly due to a one-time $6.4 million charge.
  • Allstate (ALL) reported a 17% increase in fourth-quarter profit, but the insurer's results missed analyst estimates and the company said it will stop giving profit forecasts.
  • Altria (MO) is expected to announce tomorrow, along with its earnings, plans to spin off its Kraft Foods unit. Analysts say such a move would be good for both Altria and Kraft.
  • Amylin Pharmaceuticals (AMLN) reported a narrowed fourth-quarter loss and revenue that more than doubled on a surge in sales of its Byetta diabetes treatment. The biopharmaceutical company posted a fourth-quarter net loss of $58.4 million, or 45 cents a share, compared with $67.2 million, or 61 cents a share, the year before.
  • Avanir Pharmaceuticals (AVNR) said it has received an approvable letter and acceptable labeling from the Food and Drug Administration for a new formulation of its antipsychotic drug FazaClo.
  • Boston Properties (BXP) reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $71.7 million, or 60 cents a share, compared with $154.1 million, or $1.32 a share, in the same period last year. The real estate investment trust said revenue rose 3.4% to $378.7 million from $366.3 million.
  • BRE Properties (BRE) said fourth-quarter net income fell to $17.3 million from last year's result, which included a gain from discontinued operations, of $18.3 million. Income for shareholders in the fourth quarter declined to $12.8 million, or 25 cents a share, from $13.9 million, or 27 cents a share, in the prior year.
  • Burger King's (BKC) net climbed 41% in large part due to year-earlier costs that held back profits. Revenue rose 9% to $559 million.
  • C.H. Robinson Worldwide (CHRW) reported fourth-quarter net income of $71.8 million, or 41 cents a share, up from $58.1 million, or 33 cents, a year ago. Quarterly revenue for the trucking company rose to $1.64 billion from $1.58 billion.
  • Online commerce provider CheckFree (CKFR) reported a slight profit gain on advances in its core business. For its fiscal second-quarter, CheckFree said net income rose 4% to $35.3 million or 39 cents a share, compared to $33.8 million or 36 cents a share a year ago.
  • CVRD Inco, a unit of Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (RIO), said its board has appointed Murilo Ferreira president and chief executive. Ferreira will also retain his current position as executive director, Companhia Vale do Rio Doce.
  • Delta obtained $2.5 billion in new bankruptcy financing, which could help its bid to stay independent as its creditors panel considers US Airways' buyout offer.
  • Flextronics International (FLEX), a contract electronics manufacturer, reported a fiscal third-quarter profit that nearly tripled from a year ago, as sales rose by nearly a third.
  • Harris (HRS) said second-quarter net income rose, as revenue gained, to $94 million, or 67 cents a share, from $30 million, or 22 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year. Before items, quarterly per-share income rose to 68 cents from 52 cents in the prior year.
  • Integrated Silicon Solution (ISSI) reported first-quarter revenue of $61.5 million, up from $51.1 million in the same period last year. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip maker did not release earnings due to an ongoing review of its stock-option granting practices.
  • Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) said fourth-quarter net income rose, as revenue gained, to $80.9 million, or $2.37 a share, from $66.9 million, or $1.99 a share, during the same period in the prior year. Analysts were looking for per-share income of $2.26.
  • Juniper Networks (JNPR) reported fourth-quarter revenue rose 4% to $595.8 million, from $575.5 during the same period one year ago. The sales figure slightly topped the estimates of Wall Street analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial, who had forecast $593 million.
  • Kellogg (K) reported a 5.2% drop in net as gross margins slipped amid higher corn, wheat and other commodity costs.
  • Kyphon (KYPH) said fourth-quarter net income rose, as revenue gained, to $12.2 million, or 26 cents a share, from $3.73 million, or 8 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year. Before items, quarterly per-share income rose to 38 cents from 34 cents.
  • Manitowoc (MTW) reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $43.9 million, or 69 cents a share, compared with $18.2 million, or 30 cents a share, in the same period last year, on strong revenues in the company's crane segment.
  • Merck's (MRK) earnings tumbled 58%, hurt by a 65% drop in sales of cholesterol drug Zocor in the face of generic competition, as well as a restructuring charge
  • Microsoft (MSFT) beat out J&J for the top spot in the annual Journal survey of the reputations of U.S. companies. Bill Gates's personal philanthropy boosted the public's opinion of the tech giant.
  • RedEnvelope (REDE) said third-quarter net income rose, as revenue gained, to $5.31 million, or 56 cents a share, from $4.1 million, or 43 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year. The branded online retailer said quarterly revenue rose to $57 million from $53 million in the prior year.
  • Sierra Health Services (SIE) reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $39.3 million, or 65 cents a share, compared with $28.3 million, or 44 cents a share, in the same period last year, boosted by higher medical premiums revenue.
  • Sirf Technology Holdings (SIRF) reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $9.1 million, down from $10.23 million in the same period the prior year, mainly due to higher stock-based compensation and acquisition-related contingent payments.
  • Time Warner (TWX) reported a 34% jump in quarterly net, helped by the sale of its Internet-access business in Europe. Revenue increased 8.2% on strength in its cable and network segments.
  • Tupperware Brands (TUP) reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $39.9 million, or 65 cents a share, up 28% from $31.2 million, or 51 cents a share, during the year-ago period. Earnings after adjustments were 74 cents a share.
  • UPS reported a 7.5% profit rise but said per-share earnings this year could post their slowest growth in four years, blaming weak industrial production.


Market Update

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng -1.73%, Nikkei -0.61%, Sensex -0.85%, Taiwan -0.52% and Shanghai -4.92%.
  • A quick check towards Europe finds CAC -0.50%, DAX -0.21%, FTSE -0.28%, ATX +0.23%, Swiss Mkt. -0.37% and Stockholm -0.18%.
  • Gold is +0.7 to 650.9 and crude oil is -0.50 to 56.47 this morning.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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