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Stocks to Watch: Alcoa, Dell, General Motors, Mattel, Verisign

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Short and Sweet

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Stocks to watch for Wednesday, November 22

  • Alcoa (AA), the world's biggest aluminum company, unveiled a broad restructuring program that will cut 5% of its workforce and lead to a spin-off of its molded soft-alloy business via a joint venture with Norway's Orkla ASA.
  • American Italian Pasta (PLB) said it has decided to reclassify certain promotional expenses as a reduction in revenues. As a result, the pasta producer's revenue for the fiscal 2005 and 2006 will be reduced by $26 million each year.
  • Baxter International's (BAX) Healthcare SA unit said the Austrian Ministry of Health has entered into a preparedness contract with the company that contains an option to buy 16 million doses of pandemic influenza vaccine.
  • Borders Group (BGP) said the third-quarter net loss widened, as income taxes rose to $39.1 million, or 64 cents per basic share, from a net loss of $14.1 million, or 20 cents per basic share, during the same period in the prior year. Quarterly revenue rose to $860.4 million from $845.8 million.
  • Brocade Communications Systems (BRCD) said fourth-quarter net income rose, as revenue gained, to $20 million, or 7 cents a share, from $1.06 million, or breakeven on a per-share basis, during the same period in the prior year.
  • Coldwater Creek (CWTR) said third-quarter net income rose, as revenue gained, to $15.9 million, or 17 cents a share, from $10.5 million, or 11 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year. The apparel retailer said quarterly revenue rose to $256.4 million from $186.8 million in the prior year.
  • Comcast (CMCSA) and Walt Disney (DIS) said Comcast has acquired Disney's 39.5% ownership stake in E! Networks for $1.23 billion and now fully owns the entertainment news network.
  • Cray (CRAY) said it has been awarded a $250 million contract from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop a new supercomputer.
  • Dell's profit rose 12% from a year ago, when it took a hefty restructuring charge, as the computer maker released delayed preliminary results. Shares surged 8.5% after hours.
  • General Motors (GM) shares fell after UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said contract negotiations would begin in July.
  • International Business Machines (IBM) said the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has given the company a 4-year, $244 million contract to develop a supercomputer that is more efficient and simpler to program.
  • J. Crew Group (JCG) said third-quarter net earnings rose to $26 million from $3.03 million in the same period last year, on the back of higher than expected sales gains. The retailer said revenue rose 23% to $275.6 million from $223.4 million, on comparable-store sale growth of 19%.
  • Mattel (MAT) is recalling 4.4 million Polly Pocket play sets after three children were hospitalized with serious injuries from swallowing tiny magnets that fell off the toys.
  • Par Pharmaceutical (PRX) and AstraZeneca (AZN) said they signed a supply and distribution agreement in the U.S. under which Par will distribute a generic version of AstraZeneca's Toprol-XL extended release tablets.
  • Payless ShoeSource (PSS) said third-quarter net earnings rose to $28.9 million, or 43 cents a share, from $21.9 million, or 32 cents a share, in the same period last year, on the back of increases in average retail and footwear units sold.
  • PDL BioPharma (PDLI) said Roche (RHHGY) will discontinue its agreement with PDL to jointly develop daclizumab for organ transplant patients on longer-term maintenance therapy.
  • QAD (QADI) said third-quarter net income fell, as operating expenses rose, to $947,000, or 3 cents a share, from $2.69 million, or 8 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year.
  • Solectron (SLR) said its board has voted to terminate the company's shareholder rights plan.
  • VeriSign (VRSN) said it will restate its financial results for 2001 through 2005, as well as the first quarter of 2006, to record additional non-cash, stock-based compensation expense.
  • Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) said Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Thomas Murtagh has granted the retailer's motion to decertify the class in a suit that alleges missed breaks.
  • XTO Energy (XTO) raised its quarterly cash dividend 20% to 9 cents a share from 7.5 cents a share.


Market Update

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +1.28%, Sensex +0.66%, Taiwan +0.53%, Shanghai +0.19% and Nikkei +1.14%.
  • A check of the European bourses finds the CAC +0.47%, DAX +0.51%, FTSE +0.03% and Swiss Mkt +0.39%.
  • Crude oil is trading -0.22 to 59.95 while gold is +0.3 to 629.0.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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