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Stocks To Watch: Forest Oil, GE, Hertz, Motorola, Yahoo


Find your way through the fray!


Stocks to watch for Monday, January 8

  • Blockbuster (BBI) said it has agreed to sell its Rhino Video Games chain to GameStop (GME). Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The sale is expected to close by the end of January. Rhino is a regional retail chain with 72 stores located in the southeast.
  • Build-A-Bear Workshop (BBW) said President and Chief Operating Officer Barry Erdos is resigning, and the company named Scott Seay to succeed him. Erdos' resignation will reduce the St. Louis-based stuffed animal retailer's board to eight members.
  • Forest Oil (FST) reached a deal to acquire Houston Exploration (THX) for about $1.5 billion in cash and stock, potentially ending a shareholder fight.
  • General Electric (GE) agreed to acquire oil and gas operations from Vetco International for $1.9 billion from Candover, 3i and J.P. Morgan Partners. GE Industrial, a unit of General Electric (GE) said it has agreed to acquire Rochester, N.Y.-based Microwave Data Systems Inc., a subsidiary of Moseley Associates. Financial terms weren't disclosed. The transaction is expected to close this month, pending certain approvals. MDS employs about 275 people who design and manufacture networked high-speed, microwave radios for wireless communications solutions. Upon closing, the new business will be a wholly-owned GE subsidiary called GE MDS LLC, GE said.
  • General Motors (GM) is heading into the Detroit auto show aiming to prove it can regain its status as a technology and design leader.
  • Goodyear Tire & Rubber (GT) expects to close its tire manufacturing facility in Tyler, Texas, in the first quarter of 2008, the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company estimates the charges associated with the closure will be between $155 million and $160 million. Goodyear said it recorded $107 million of the charges in the third quarter of 2006, and expects to record an additional charge of about $10 million in the fourth quarter of 2006 to reflect benefit arrangements set forth in the new master labor contract. The rest of the charges are expected to impact 2007 and early 2008. When complete, the closure of the Tyler facility is expected to generate annual cost savings of about $50 million, the company said.
  • Hertz (HTZ) said it will cut roughly 200 jobs in the first of "a series of initiatives" to improve its competitiveness. The layoffs will impact employees at the company's corporate headquarters in Park Ridge, N.J., its service center in Oklahoma City, and in its U.S. field operations. The car rental company expects to save up to $15.8 million annually from the job cuts, and expects restructuring charges of $3.3 million to $3.8 million in the first quarter. "Throughout 2007, Hertz will implement a series of operational initiatives that should result in even higher levels of efficiency, enabling the company to maintain its position as the premium brand and service leader in our markets," said Mark Frissora, chairman and chief executive, in a statement.
  • Motorola (MOT), the world's No. 2 mobile phone maker, cut its fourth-quarter sales and profit forecast as handset prices fell amid fierce competition.
  • Pediatrix Medical Group (PDX) said that the U.S. Attorney's office in Miami has opened an investigation into its stock option grant practices. The health-care provider said it plans to cooperate fully on the matter. Pediatrix also said that its audit committee is working to complete the previously announced review of options as soon as possible.
  • Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group (SWRG) said that December sales at restaurants open at least one year rose 5.1% to $14.1 million. Total consolidated restaurant sales for the month increased 9% percent to $15.3 million, the New York-based company said. For the fourth quarter, comparable sales increased 3.9% to $33.5 million. Total sales for the quarter ended rose 7.5% to $36.2 million, the company said.
  • Sony (SNE) and Microsoft (MSFT) said they reached key sales milestones for the holiday season for their game consoles.
  • Yahoo (YHOO) is to unveil a new mobile search offering for cellphone handsets, stepping up its attack on the mobile market.

Market Summary

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng -0.90%, Sensex -1.50%, Taiwan -1.26%, Shanghai +2.49% and Nikkei -1.51%.
  • A quick look across the pond finds the CAC +0.39%, DAX +0.27%, FTSE +0.16%, Swiss Mkt. -0.45% and Stockholm +0.04%.
  • Crude oil is trading +0.62 to 56.92 while gold is +3.2 to 610.1 this morning.
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