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Stocks To Watch: Barclays, Cintas, Claire's, Intel, NY Times, Wendy's


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


Stocks to watch for Wednesday, March 21:

  • Barclays's (BCS) talks to buy ABN are forcing banks world-wide to evaluate their next moves. Citigroup (C) and HSBC (HBC) are seen as potential rival bidders.
  • Black Box (BBOX) said it will restate its financials to record an additional $63 million pretax in stock-based compensation from 1992 through the present uncovered in its backdating review. The Pittsburgh-based technical infrastructure company said the review is not completed, but it does not see any restatement affecting the current fiscal year ending March 31.
  • CBOT Holdings (BOT), the parent company of the Chicago Board of Trade, said it has postponed its special meetings of shareholders and CBOT members scheduled for April 4. The meetings to vote on the merger with Chicago Mercantile Exchange Holdings (CME) were pushed back to complete the review of the offer from InterContinentalExchange (ICE), the company said. CBOT said it plans to announce a new date for the meetings once it has been established. The merger agreement with CME remains in effect, CBOT said, and company recommendations in favor of the deal are unchanged. CBOT said it doesn't plan to comment further on ICE's proposal until the review is finished.
  • Cintas' (CTAS) fiscal third-quarter net income rose slightly to $76.7 million, or a 48 cents share, from $76.6 million, or 45 cents a share, a year earlier. The Cincinnati provider of specialized services to businesses said revenue for the quarter ended Feb. 28 rose 8.2% to $905.4 million from $836.4 million a year ago. Cintas cut its 2007 earnings and revenue forecast to ranges of $2.03 to $2.08 a share and $3.675 billion to $3.725 billion, respectively.
  • Chaparral Steel (CHAP) reported third-quarter net earnings of $62.5 million, or $1.29 a share, up 27% from $49.2 million, or $1.03 a share, during the year-ago period. The producer of structural steel beams and supplier of steel bar products posted net revenue of $420.2 million vs. $374.6 million. Additionally, Chaparral said that based on current market conditions, it expects the fourth-quarter earnings of $1.35 a share. The company said it believes the end user demand for its products will remain strong.
  • Claire's (CLE) agreed to a $3.1 billion buyout by Apollo in the latest sign of private-equity firms' appetite for retailers.
  • Darden Restaurants (DRI) reported a slight bump in fiscal third-quarter net profit late Tuesday with the help of a tax break -- and the company stuck to its full-year earnings and sales growth target.
  • Dun & Bradstreet (DNB) bought First Research for $22.5 million with an earn-out potential of up to $4 million based on financial performance. D&B doesn't expect the acquisition to have a material impact on 2007 revenue performance. First Research generated 2006 revenue of $6.5 million, while D&B had 2006 core and total revenue of $1.53 billion. D&B expects First Research to cut 2007 earnings by 4 cents a share, have no effect to 2008 earnings and add to 2009 profits.
  • Gateway (GTW) said it isn't involved in discussions to be acquired by Taiwanese personal-computer giant Acer Inc. A Gateway spokesman said that while the No. 3 U.S. PC maker doesn't normally comment on rumors, it isn't in any discussions with Acer, which has been trying to make more inroads in the U.S. computer market.
  • Genworth Financial (GNW) said it has increased its share buyback plan by $600 million. A total of $1.1 billion is now authorized for the repurchase of shares during 2007, the financial services provider said.
  • ICF International (ICFI) swung to a fourth-quarter profit of $9.21 million, or 65 cents a share, from a loss of $1.03 million, or 11 cents a share, a year earlier. The provider of consulting and technology services said revenue more than doubled to $113.9 million from $51.8 million a year ago. On average, analysts polled by Thomson Financial predicted fourth-quarter revenue of $100 million. ICFI expects first-quarter revenue of $125 million to $135 million and 2007 revenue of $480 million to $520 million. Analysts predict first-quarter and 2007 revenue of $96.9 million and $399 million, respectively.
  • Intel (INTC) may announce a decision about whether it will build a chip fabrication plant in China as soon as Monday.
  • Legacy Reserves LP (LGCY) reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $1.88 million, or 10 cents per unit, on revenue of $20.7 million. The company said its results in the quarter were impacted by impairment charges of $7.5 million related to the decrease in oil and natural gas prices. Net oil and natural gas production averaged 3,625 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2006. The company had its initial public offering in January. Separately, Legacy announced that it has agreed to acquire certain oil and natural gas producing properties from Nielson & Associates Inc. for $45 million. The properties are located in Caddo County, Okla. The deal is expected to close in mid-April.
  • McClatchy (MNI) reported that total revenue in February fell 5.1% compared with the year-ago pro forma figure. Pro forma revenue includes the addition of newspapers purchased in the Knight Ridder acquisition, and excludes the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper, the company said. Consolidated advertising revenue for the month decreased 5.2%, McClatchy said.
  • Medtronic (MDT) said an appeals court has ruled in its favor in the patent litigation against Cross Medical Products Inc., a subsidiary of Biomet (BMET). In its decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that Medtronic's current multi-axial pedicle screw products don't infringe any claim of certain Cross Medical patents relating to spinal surgery
  • New York Times (NYT) said February revenue from continuing operations fell 3.6% from the same month last year, while advertising revenue from continuing operations dropped 6%. The company said February ad revenue fell 7.5% at the New York Times Media Group, dropped 4% at the New England Media Group, and fell 8.1% at the Regional Media Group. Internet ad revenue for the three media groups rose 14.3% in February.
  • SL Green Realty (SLG) said it has authorized the repurchase of up to $300 million worth of its common stock, or roughly 3.4% percent of its fully outstanding shares based on the current market price. The share buyback authorization will expire on Dec. 31, 2008, the New York-based real estate investment trust said.
  • ValueVision Media (VVTV) fourth-quarter net income rose 2.6% to $3.52 million, or 8 cents a share, from $3.43 million, or 8 cents a share, a year earlier, as revenue rose 3.5%. The Minneapolis direct marketer's revenue for the quarter ended Feb. 3 grew to $216.7 million from $209.4 million in the year-ago period.
  • Wendy's International (WEN) said it now expects 2007 per-share earnings of $1.26 to $1.32, up from its previous outlook of $1.17 to $1.23, due to a lower number of shares outstanding in the full-year count. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial are currently estimating 2007 earnings of $1.25 a share. The fast-food operator said its 2007 forecast for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization remains unchanged at $330 million to $340 million. Additionally, the company said it expects first-quarter earnings of 11 cents to 14 cents a share. Analysts are looking for per-share earnings of 19 cents for the quarter. Wendy's also said it has completed its 9-million-share accelerated share repurchase. The company expects settlement to occur on Wednesday.

Market Update

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +0.82%, Sensex +1.89%, Taiwan +0.27% and Shanghai +0.83%.
  • Looking over at Europe, we find the CAC +0.05%, DAX +0.04%, FTSE +0.49%, ATX +0.75%, Swiss Mkt. +0.52% and Stockholm +0.50%.
  • Gold is trading +3.10 to 662.1 and crude oil is +0.42 to 59.67 this morning.
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