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Stocks to Watch: AT&T, Ford, Hasbro, Texas Instruments, Wal-Mart, Xerox

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Stocks to watch for Tuesday, October 24:

  • Alcon (ACL) said third-quarter net income fell, as expenses rose, to $232.1 million, or 76 cents a share, from $295.8 million, or 95 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year. Excluding items, per-share income was $1.09, while analysts had expected earnings per share of $1.07.
  • American Express (AXP) said net fell 6.1%, but operating profit rose on an increase in customers and a decline in late payments.
  • Amgen (AMGN) reported a 14% rise in third-quarter profit that was powered by a surge in sales of the biotechnology company's lead product, the anemia treatment Aranesp.
  • AT&T (T) reported a 74% earnings jump, in a sign that a string of acquisitions is starting to pay off.
  • Atheros Communications (ATHR) shares increased 2.6% after the company said third-quarter net income rose, as revenue gained, to $6.32 million, or 11 cents a share, from $2.15 million, or 4 cents as share, during the same period in the prior year.
  • Brown & Brown (BRO) said third-quarter net income came in at $40.3 million, or 29 cents a share, up 16% from a year earlier when the insurance broker made $34.8 million, or 25 cents a share. Analysts expected the company to make 28 cents a share.
  • Cirrus Logic (CRUS) said the company has found information that "raises potential questions" about the measurement dates used to account for certain stock-option grants.
  • CNet Networks (CNET) said third-quarter sales rose 13% from a year ago, as advertising gains outpaced a dip in daily traffic to its collection of Web sites.
  • Everest Re Group (RE) and PartnerRe (PRE) reported better-than-expected third-quarter profits as a light hurricane season helped the reinsurers avoid big losses that hit them in 2005.
  • Transaction processor First Data Corp. (FDC) posted a 34% decline in third-quarter profit, reflecting in part its spin-off of money transfer firm Western Union.
  • Fisher Scientific International (FSH) said third-quarter net income rose, as revenue gained, to $151.8 million, or $1.14 a share, from $93.5 million, or 73 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year. The provider of scientific tools said quarterly revenue rose to $1.51 billion from $1.36 billion in the prior year.
  • Ford (F) reported that its preliminary loss widened to $5.8 billion, forecast bigger operating losses and plans to restate earnings.
  • Forward Air (FWRD) reported third-quarter net earnings of $12.7 million, or 41 cents a share, compared with $12.1 million, or 38 cents a share, in the same period last year. The result was boosted by strong growth in its logistics' business.
  • Grant Prideco (GRP) reported third-quarter net earnings of $126.5 million, or 95 cents a share, compared with $48.1 million, or 37 cents a share, in the same period last year, on strong sales and wider operating income margins. Analysts had expected per-share earnings of 84 cents.
  • Hasbro's (HAS) net rose 8.2% despite a drop in demand for Star Wars-branded products. The nation's No. 2 toy maker reported strong sales of Littlest Pet Shop, Playskool and other brands.
  • Hercules (HPC) said earnings climbed as better volumes and pricing for its specialty chemicals offset drags from a divested business.
  • II-VI (IIVI) reported first-quarter net earnings of $7.5 million, or 25 cents a share, up 11% from $6.75 million, or 23 cents a share, during the year-ago period. The maker of optical components posted revenue of $60.8 million vs. $54.4 million.
  • Kraft (KFT) posted an 11% increase in third-quarter profit, boosted by strength in powdered drinks and convenience foods in the U.S., along with growth in Latin America and Europe.
  • Merrill Lynch (MER) is the top-earning bank for IPOs so far this year in Asia, excluding Japan and Australia, helped by ICBC's giant offering.
  • Netflix (NFLX) said its third-quarter profit nearly doubled on a 48% revenue increase, as subscribers rose 58% to more than 5.6 million.
  • Pactiv (PTV) said third-quarter earnings more than doubled thanks to foreign exchange and tax gains and higher sales of its trademark Hefty products.
  • Petco Animal Supplies (PETC) said its shareholders have approved the company's acquisition by private equity investment firms Texas Pacific Group and Leonard Green & Partners L.P. for $1.8 billion, including assumed debt. The transaction is expected to close this week.
  • Pitney Bowes (PBI) posted a 6% rise in third-quarter profit as demand for its mailing equipment grew overseas, particularly in the U.K.
  • Plum Creek Timber (PCL) reported a slight drop in its third-quarter earnings as rising profit from its rural properties business was offset by a weaker quarter for its lumber and plywood division.
  • Radyne (RADN) shares fell 10% after the manufacturer of products for the transmission of data over satellite said third-quarter net income fell, as revenue declined, to $2.75 million, or 15 cents per share, from $2.88 million, or 16 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year.
  • SL Green Realty (SLG) said third-quarter net income for shareholders rose, as sales gains increased, to $118.7 million, or $2.53 a share, from $37.3 million, or 87 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year. Quarterly per-share funds from operations remained flat at $1.13.
  • Sunoco Logistics Partners (SXL) reported third-quarter net earnings of $17.7 million compared with $14.7 million in the same period last year. The oil company posted net income per limited partner unit of 59 cents vs. 56 cents last year. Revenue rose 29% to $1.61 billion from $1.25 billion.
  • Texas Instruments' (TXN) profit rose 11%, helped by stronger sales of its chips used in cellphones and other electronics, but the company warned of slower growth.
  • United Therapeutics (UTHR) said it expects third-quarter net income and revenue to be "consistent" with results from the prior quarter. The biotechnology company also said the board has authorized the company to buy back up to 4 million of its shares within the next two years.
  • Wal-Mart (WMT) said it plans to slow its expansion rate next year and slash capital spending. Executives hinted that some funds slated for expansion might be used to buy back stock. The news boosted the retailer's shares 3.9%.
  • Waste Connections (WCN) reported third-quarter net earnings of $21.9 million, or 47 cents a share, down 11% from $24.5 million, or 51 cents a share, during the year-ago period. The solid waste services company posted revenue of $216.5 million vs. $188.7 million.
  • Western Digital (WDC) said a special board committee's three-month review has found that the annual employee stock-option grant made in November 1999 was "intentionally dated with hindsight" at a low price. The storage company said it has informed the Securities and Exchange Commission's enforcement division staff and will cooperate in the event of an inquiry.
  • Xerox's (XRX) net surged to $536 million, boosted by a tax-related gain. Revenue rose 2%, led by color printers and supplies.


Market Update

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +0.35%, Nikkei -0.05%, Taiwan +0.81% and Shanghai +2.60%, the Sensex and Jakarta were closed.
  • A quick check across the pond finds the CAC -0.29%, DAX -0.09%, FTSE -0.01%, and Swiss Mkt -0.33%.
  • Crude oil is trading -0.71 to 58.62 while gold is +0.54 to 591.0 this morning.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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