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Stocks To Watch: Akamai, American Eagle, Disney, News Corp, Nortel

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Stocks to watch for Thursday, February 8

  • Activision (ATVI) reported a strong jump in earnings for the December quarter thanks to strong sales of its video game titles that include the popular "Guitar Hero" and "Call of Duty" franchises.
  • Akamai Technologies (AKAM) said fourth-quarter net income fell, as costs and expenses rose, to $20.6 million or 12 cents a share, from $25.8 million, or 16 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year. Before items, quarterly per-share income rose to 27 cents from 16 cents in the prior year.
  • Alcon (ACL) reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $354.7 million, or $1.16 a share, compared with $60.7 million, or 19 cents a share, during the same quarter a year ago. Results from the year-ago period included $207.7 million in after-tax charges, or 66 cents a share.
  • Alkermes (ALKS) reported that net income for its fiscal third-quarter rose to $2.9 million, or 3 cents a share, from $1.4 million, or 1 cent a share, for the same quarter last year. Excluding certain items, Alkermes would have reported adjusted earnings of 11 cents a share.
  • American Eagle Outfitters (AEOS) turned in better-than-expected January results driven by strong sales of trendy assortments of the AE brands and raised its earnings forecast. The teen-wear retailer said same-store sales surged 17% on top of last January's robust 9% gain. At Thomson Financial, analysts had pegged a same-store sales estimate of 10.9%.
  • Central Garden & Pet (CENT) reported first-quarter net earnings of $2.97 billion, or 12 cents a share. During the same quarter a year ago, the company posted net earnings of $2.56 million, or 12 cents a share. On a post-dividend basis, the per-share loss was 4 cents, compared with a per-share profit of 4 cents a year ago.
  • Citi Trends (CTRN) said comparable store sales for the five weeks ended Feb. 3 rose 3.2%. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had expected growth of 0.2%. The apparel retailer said total January sales increased to $36.2 million from $20.9 million during the same period in the prior year.
  • Disney (DIS) began fiscal 2007 with another solid quarter powered by big DVD hits but now faces the question of whether it can sustain its momentum.
  • Electronic Data Systems (EDS) said fourth-quarter profit nearly doubled, while revenue grew 11%. Computer services giant EDS said its net income for the quarter ended Dec. 31 rose to $217 million, or 40 cents a share, from $112 million, or 21 cents, a year earlier.
  • EMC (EMC) said it would sell off a 10% stake in VMware, its virtualization technology software business, in a public offering that will leave the storage-technology giant retaining ownership over the rest of the subsidiary.
  • Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) named a new general counsel to take the place of Ann Baskins, who resigned from the technology giant last fall during the company's corporate spying scandal.
  • Hot Topic (HOTT) said its January sales at stores open at least a year fell 6.6% vs. a 0.7% fall in the same month last year. Analysts, on average, had expected the teen retailer to post a same-store-sales drop of 6.1%, according to Thomson Financial.
  • Jack Henry & Associates (JKHY) reported second-quarter net earnings of $27.8 million, or 30 cents a share, up 28% from $21.6 million, or 23 cents a share, during the year-ago period.
  • Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) Centocor Inc. unit said data published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis receiving subcutaneous injections of the company's CNTO 1275 experienced "significant clearance" of skin disease.
  • LodgeNet Entertainment (LNET) said its fourth-quarter net loss narrowed to $122,000, or 1 cent a share, compared with $2.29 million, or 13 cents a share, in the same period last year, boosted by higher revenue.
  • Nautilus (NLS) said fourth-quarter net income rose, as sales gained, to $12.9 million, or 41 cents a share, from $1.97 million, or 6 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year.
  • News Corp. (NWS) posted a 24% drop in quarterly net after a year-earlier gain, but film hits like "Borat" boosted the media company's results above analysts' expectations.
  • Nortel (NTL) said it will cut 2,900 jobs and shift another 1,000 positions to lower-cost locations, marking the fourth round of layoffs at the telecom-gear maker since 2002.
  • Pacer International (PACR) reported fourth-quarter net income of $21.5 million, or 57 cents a share, up from $20.4 million, or 54 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue for the three months ended Dec. 29 fell to $502 million from $503.8 million a year ago.
  • Pinnacle Airlines (PNCL) said traffic in January decreased 1.5% to 315 million revenue passenger miles. Load factor, or the percentage of a plane filled with passengers, fell 4 percentage points to 65%, while net capacity rose 4.5% to 484.5 million available seat miles.
  • Prudential Financial (PRU) reported fourth-quarter net earnings for its financial services businesses of $893 million, or $1.88 a share, compared with $377 million, or 78 cents a share, in the same period last year, as revenue rose.
  • Rambus (RMBS) shares rose 2.5% in after-hours trading. The chip interfaces designer said the Nasdaq will continue to list Rambus's shares pending a review by Nasdaq's Listing Council.
  • Select Comfort (SCSS) reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $10.8 million, or 20 cents a share, compared with $15.8 million, or 28 cents a share, during the year-ago period.
  • Sina (SINA) reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $11.7 million, or 20 cents a share, compared with $13.8 million, or 24 cents a share, in the same period last year, as non-advertising revenue fell and expenses rose.
  • Sunstone Hotel Investors (SHO) reported fourth-quarter net earnings available to shareholders of $6.6 million, or 11 cents a share, down 23% from $8.6 million, or 16 cents a share, during the year-ago period.
  • Tribune (TRB) said its net income rose 78% in the fourth quarter, as the company continues to evaluate bids and mull the future of its newspaper and TV empire.
  • Willis Group Holdings (WSH) reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $148 million, or 94 cents a share, compared with $55 million, or 35 cents a share, in the same period last year, boosted by a $71 million tax credit.
  • Zumiez (ZUMZ) said its January sales at stores open at least one year rose 13%. Analysts, on average, had expected the retailer to post a same-store sales gain of 8.4%, according to Thomson Financial.


Market Update

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +0.27%, Nikkei +0.01%, Sensex +0.06%, Taiwan -0.10% and Shanghai +0.79%.
  • A quick check towards Europe finds CAC -0.39%, DAX -0.17%, FTSE -0.15%, ATX +0.03%, Swiss Mkt. -0.34% and Stockholm -0.72%.
  • Gold is -3.6 to 653.7 and crude oil is +0.08 to 57.79 this morning.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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