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Stocks to Watch: Altria, Boeing, Microsoft, Sprint Nextel, Symantec

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Two Stepping

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Stocks to watch for Thursday, October 26

  • Abbott Laboratories (ABT) said a subset analysis in the Spirit II clinical trial of the Xience V everolimus-eluting stent system showed positive results in tough-to-treat diabetic patients.
  • Aetna (AET) is expected to report earnings per share for the third quarter of 72 cents,
  • Affymetrix (AFFX) shares surged after the genomics toolmaker swung to a third-quarter loss on higher costs but posted revenue that outpaced Wall Street's average forecast.
  • Airgas (ARG) said net earnings in its second quarter rose 33% to $40 million, or 49 cents a share, up from $30 million or 38 cents a share in the year ago period. Analysts had expected earnings of 47 cents a share.
  • Altria (MO) said it is prepared to move ahead with the spinoff of its 88.6% stake in Kraft and will finalize the precise timing at its Jan. 31 board meeting
  • Applebee's International (APPB) said third-quarter net income dipped, but sales rose and the company came in ahead of forecasts. Applebee's net income was $14.8 million, or 20 cents a share, compared with $22.1 million, or 28 cents a share, in the same period in the prior year.
  • Ariba (ARBA) reported its fourth-quarter loss widened slightly, as sales of its software licenses slipped 36%, to $8.4 million, or 13 cents a share, from a loss of $7.3 million or 11 cents a share a year ago.
  • Boeing (BA) plans to pour some $1 billion into research and development to head off possible threats to the 787 Dreamliner program. The plane maker's net fell 31% on a charge over a discontinued in-flight Internet venture.
  • Business Objects (BOBJ) reported third-quarter net earnings of $19.6 million, or 21 cents per American Depositary Share, compared with $19.6 million, or 21 cents per ADS, during the year-ago period. Pro forma earnings were 41 cents a share.
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) is expected to post per-share income of 20 cents for the third quarter.
  • Clear Channel Communications (CCU) said it is considering strategic alternatives to boost shareholder value, as the radio industry struggles with lackluster stock performance amid uncertainty about changing consumer habits.
  • Colgate-Palmolive (CL) posted slightly lower profit, but the consumer-products company's revenue rose 8%.
  • DaimlerChrysler (DCX) said it has no plans to sell Chrysler Group, aiming to bat down speculation that the unit could be on the block.
  • Embarq (EQ) said third-quarter profit fell, but the carrier matched a record for high-speed Internet additions and raised its financial forecast.
  • Gateway (GTW) is facing pressure from an activist investment group to make governance changes, setting the stage for a proxy battle.
  • Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) said it was once again extending its tender offer for the shares of software-maker Mercury Interactive (MERQ), which H-P agreed to acquire for $4.5 billion in July. H-P is extending the offer, which had already been extended until Oct. 27, to Nov. 1.
  • Komag (KOMG) reported third-quarter profit rose nearly 8% as sales surged by a third. The maker of disks for computer disk drives said net income for the three months ended Oct. 1 rose to $34.5 million, or $1.04 a share, from $32 million, or 97 cents a share, a year earlier.
  • LSI Logic (LSI) said it swung to a quarterly profit from last year's same period and set plans to buy a privately-held provider of data storage protection software.
  • OSI Restaurant Partners (OSI) said it will delay its third-quarter earnings report after it found that its liability for unearned revenue for unredeemed gift cards and certificates for the quarter was understated.
  • Medical products maker Owens & Minor (OMI) said net income fell during the third quarter, due largely to doubtful account provisions and other charges, to $14.5 million, or 36 cents a share, compared with $16.8 million, or 42 cents a share, for the same period a year ago.
  • Meritage Homes (MTH) said third-quarter net income fell, as gross margins declined, to $59.5 million, or $2.25 a share, from $70.3 million, or $2.40 a share, during the same period in the prior year. Analysts had expected per-share income of $2.02.
  • Microsoft (MSFT) is expected to post third-quarter income of 65 cents per share.
  • Montpelier Re Holdings (MRH) said third-quarter net income came in at $83.3 million, or 86 cents a share. In last year's period, the net loss was $875.1 million, or $12.16 a share.
  • Oracle (ORCL) Chief Executive Larry Ellison said his company would begin offering full technological support for Red Hat's (RHAT) Linux operating system, effectively quelling speculation that the world's No. 2 software company would unveil its own version of the open-source operating systems.
  • Pulte Homes (PHM) reported third-quarter net earnings of $190.2 million, or 74 cents a share, compared with $395.4 million, or $1.50 a share, during the year-ago period. The home builder posted revenue $3.56 billion vs. $3.79 billion.
  • Sprint Nextel (S) is expected to report income of 33 cents per share for the third quarter.
  • Starwood Hotels & Resorts (HOT) is expected to post per-share income of 50 cents for the third quarter
  • Sun Microsystems (SUNW) is expected to report a third-quarter per-share loss of 4 cents
  • Swift Transportation (SWFT) said third-quarter net earnings rose to $33.5 million, or 44 cents a share, compared with $12.6 million, or 17 cents a share, in the same period last year, as the company benefited from operational improvements and cost control.
  • Symantec (SYMC) said quarterly revenue jumped 20% on strong demand from consumers for its software, though shares of the security- and storage-software giant tumbled more than 7% as results came up shy of Wall Street's hopes amid a disappointing performance in Europe.
  • Zimmer Holdings (ZMH) said it made $183.3 million, or 76 cents a share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with $168.6 million, or 67 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier. Adjusted earnings came in at 82 cents a share.


Market Update

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +1.08%, Nikkei +0.67%, Taiwan +0.30%,Shanghai +0.22%, Sensex +0.60% and Jakarta closed.
  • A quick check across the pond finds the CAC +0.48%, DAX +0.47%, FTSE -0.05%, and Swiss Mkt +0.49%.
  • Crude oil is trading -0.27 to 61.13 while gold is +3.00 to 593.8 this morning.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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