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Stocks To Watch: Coca-Cola, Ford, Motorola, UPS, Wyeth

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Today's big stories and some stocks with potential to move...

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Stocks to watch for Thursday, March 1

  • 24/7 Real Media (TFSM) reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $227,000, or breakeven per share, compared with net earnings of $1.4 million, or 3 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue rose to $60 million from $41.7 million.
  • Amgen (AMGN) disclosed it received an informal inquiry from the Securities and Exchange Commission seeking more information about a Danish study of the company's Aranesp anemia drug.
  • Applebee's International (APPB) said system-wide domestic comparable sales fell 4% for the February period. Comparable sales for domestic franchise restaurants fell 3.9%, while comparable sales for company restaurants dropped 4.3%.
  • Coca-Cola Bottling's (COKE) fourth-quarter net income grew to $8.6 million, or 94 cents a share, from year-earlier profit of $1.92 million, or 21 cents a share. The company's net sales fell more than 2% to $340.6 million, from $347.7 million a year earlier.
  • Comfort Systems USA (FIX) reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $7.5 million, or 18 cents a share. During the year-ago period, the company posted a net loss of $17.6 million, or 44 cents a share. Revenue at the Houston-based provider of commercial, industrial and institutional heating, ventilation and air conditioning services rose to $268.1 million from $233.7 million.
  • Douglas Emmett (DEI) reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $20.6 million, or 18 cents a share. The real estate investment trust posted total revenue of $87 million for quarter, which ended Dec. 31.
  • Dress Barn (DBRN) reported second-quarter net earnings of $17 million, or 24 cents a share, up 21% from $14.1 million, or 21 cents a share, during the year-ago period. The retailer posted revenue of $340.3 million vs. $310.9 million. Additionally, Dress Barn reaffirmed its earnings outlook for fiscal 2007, saying it still expects per-share earnings of $1.30 to $1.35.
  • ESS Technology (ESST) reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $10.4 million, or 28 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $52.8 million, or $1.33 a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue in the three months ended Dec. 31 fell to $21.3 million from $44.1 million.
  • Focus Media Holding (FMCN) will acquire Allyes Information Technology Co., a China-based Internet, for $70 million in cash and $155 million of stock.
  • Ford (F) expects total costs for its restructuring plan of about $11.2 billion, with the remaining $1.2 billion expected in the first quarter of 2007.
  • Greif (GEF) reported fiscal first-quarter net earnings of $34 million, or $1.15 per Class A share, up slightly from $33.4 million, or $1.13 per Class A share, in the year-ago period. Revenue at the industrial packaging company rose 29% to $750.8 million from $582.3 million.
  • Gemstar-TV Guide International's (GMST) fourth-quarter net income more than doubled to $31.8 million, or 7 cents a share, from a year-earlier profit of $12.7 million, or 3 cents a share. The Los Angeles publishing company's revenue grew 12% to $145 million, from $129.4 million.
  • Hertz Global Holdings (HTZ) said it will eliminate 1,350 jobs in a new restructuring initiative intended to save $125 million in yearly compensation.
  • Home Depot (HD) warned that 2007 earnings will fall by a worse-than-expected 4% to 9% as it spends $2.2 billion to overhaul its retail business.
  • Longs Drug Stores (LDG) fiscal fourth-quarter net income fell 24% to $26.9 million, or 71 cents a share, from $35.4 million, or 93 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue for the quarter ended Jan. 25 increased 8% to $1.34 billion from $1.24 billion a year ago.
  • ManTech International (MANT) reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $13.9 million, or 41 cents a share, up 33% from $10.4 million, or 31 cents a share, during the year-ago period. The company posted revenue of $290.7 million vs. $261 million.
  • The former chief executive of McAfee (MFE) was e-mailed details about the improper pricing of stock options he'd been awarded, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission complaint. The complaint, filed against former McAfee general counsel Kent Roberts, describes a 2002 email exchange in which Roberts e-mailed the unnamed McAfee (then called Network Associates) CEO at that time to say the CEO's options would be priced advantageously one day after they had been awarded.
  • Medicis (MRX) reported fourth-quarter net income of $17.9 million, or 27 cents a share, compared with $37.3 million, or 56 cents a share, for the same quarter last year. Revenue rose to $99.1 million, from $80.7 million last year. Medicis also said it expects to post earnings of 12 cents a share and revenue of $95 million for the first quarter 2007. For 2007, the company sees earnings of $1.12 a share, on revenue of $455 million.
  • MetLife (MET) said it has authorized an additional $1 billion stock repurchase program. The new buyback plan will begin after the company completes its current $1 billion share repurchase program, of which $208 million remains, the New York-based insurance company said.
  • Motorola (MOT) said it has been notified that certain Carl Icahn entities have filed to acquire additional shares of Motorola stock. The Schaumburg, Ill.-based telecommunications company said the notice stated that Icahn and Icahn Partners LP are each filing to acquire between $119.7 million and $500 million worth of Motorola stock, while Icahn Partners Master Fund LP and Icahn Partners Master Fund II LP are each filing to acquire more than $500 million, but less than 25% of Motorola's outstanding stock.
  • Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR) reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $38.9 million, or 43 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $108.1 million, or $1.23 a share, during the year-ago period. Revenue at the biopharmaceutical company more than doubled to $69.9 million from $32.9 million.
  • Novell (NOVL) said it has amended a restructuring plan begun in 2006 and as a result will incur charges of between $35 million and $45 million. The restructuring charges, primarily in the form of employee severance, will be paid through fiscal 2007, Novell said in a statement.
  • PetSmart (PETM) said that fourth-quarter net earnings climbed to $76.9 million, or 56 cents a share, compared with $70.9 million, or 50 cents a share, for the same period a year ago. Sales were $1.17 billion vs. last year's $1.05 billion, the company said in a press release after the close. Sales were in line with estimates.
  • Smith Micro Software (SMSI) fourth-quarter net income rose 63% to $3.61 million, or 14 cents a share, from $2.21 million, or 9 cents a share, a year earlier. The developer and marketer of software products and services said revenue more than doubled to $17.2 million from $8 million a year ago.
  • Sonus Networks (SONS) said fourth-quarter revenue was $79 million. The maker of voice and data communications hardware and software didn't report earnings because it hasn't completed its restatement of certain financial reports. Sonus said the audit committee completed its investigation of the company's stock option practices and accounting, and found no improper conduct or violation of company policies by any member of management.
  • Southwestern Energy (SWN) reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $33.8 million, or 20 cents a share, down from $48.9 million, or 29 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31 slipped to $214 million from $220 million a year ago.
  • St. Joe (JOE) lowered its previously disclosed financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2006, following a judicial decision relating to a 1996 sales commission dispute. For the fourth quarter, the real estate development company's earnings were cut to $22.3 million, or 30 cents a share, down from the previously reported $23.8 million, or 32 cents a share. Full year net income was cut to $51 million, or 69 cents a share, from $52.5 million, or 71 cents a share.
  • St. Mary Land & Exploration (SM) said President Tony Best was named to additional position of chief executive, effective Feb. 23.
  • Take-Two Interactive Software (TTWO) reported a net loss for the 2006 fiscal year on Wednesday afternoon. For the year ended Oct. 31, the video game publisher said net loss came in at $184.9 million, or $2.60 per share, compared with earnings of $35.3 million, or 50 cents a share, for the previous year. Revenue for the year was $1.04 billion compared to $1.2 billion the previous year.
  • UnionBanCal (UB) said it has named Masaaki Tanaka as president and chief executive of the company and its principal subsidiary, Union Bank of California N.A., effective May 24. The San Francisco-based bank holding company also said it has named Norimichi Kanari to succeed Tetsuo Shimura as chairman, effective immediately.
  • United Parcel Service (UPS) said a voluntary separation offer made to a small group of employees was accepted by 194. The Atlanta shipping company will record a one-time charge of $80 million during the first quarter, and expects a positive return on the program after two years.
  • United Surgical Partners International (USPI) fourth-quarter net income rose 6.5% to $13.1 million, or 29 cents a share, from $12.3 million, or 27 cents a share a year earlier. The owner and manager of surgery centers said revenue increased 34% to $155.7 million from $116.1 million a year ago.
  • Universal Health Services's (UHS) fourth-quarter net income more than doubled to $34.2 million, or 63 cents a share, from $12.3 million, or 23 cents a share, a year earlier. The King of Prussia, Pa., hospital company's revenue grew to $1.07 billion from $967.2 million.
  • Wyeth (WYE) said it expects the Food and Drug Administration's inspection of the company's facility in Guayama, Puerto Rico, to take at least several more weeks to complete. Wyeth also reaffirmed its 2007 pro forma earnings forecast of $3.40 to $3.50; it further said its first-quarter per-share profit is expected to beat the current average estimate on Wall Street, which stands at 85 cents, according to Thomson Financial.


Market Update

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng -1.55%, Nikkei -0.86%, Sensex +1.71%, and Shanghai -2.91%.
  • Looking over at Europe, we find the CAC -0.18%, DAX -0.08%, FTSE +0.36%, ATX +1.36%, Swiss Mkt. +0.35% and Stockholm +0.64%.
  • Gold is trading +3.50 to 676.0 and crude oil is +0.32 to 62.11 this morning.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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