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Stocks To Watch: Citigroup, Google, Microsoft, UnitedHealth, Xilinx


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


Stocks to watch for Tuesday, March 6:

  • Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing (CHRT) late Monday backed is first-quarter earnings estimate of about $6 million, on revenue of about $324 million. The company will release first-quarter results on April 27.
  • Citigroup (C) announced a $10.78 billion deal to take control of Nikko Cordial, in what would be the biggest foreign acquisition of a Japanese brokerage firm.
  • Hedge fund Pirate Capital LLC said late Monday its founder, Thomas Hudson Jr., has resigned from the board of Cornell (CRN), a Houston-based provider of correctional services. "I am pleased to say that Cornell is a very different company than when I joined the board almost two years ago," Hudson said in a statement. Hudson said he is resigning form Cornell's board to pursue board efforts at Brink's (BCO) including his intention to seek strategic alternatives "more ardently."
  • EMC (EMC) said Vice Chairman Bill Teuber will expand his responsibilities to include leadership of the company's customer operations, its worldwide sales and distribution organization.
  • Esterline Technologies (ESL) fiscal first-quarter net income rose 52% to $12.8 million, or 49 cents a share, from $8.4 million, or 32 cents a share, a year ago. For the quarter ended Jan. 26, the defense technology company's net sales rose 25% to $257.2 million from $205.7 million. Esterline is backing its full-year earnings view of $2.45 to $2.60 a share.
  • Finisar (FNSR) reported pro forma third-quarter revenue of $107.5 million, up 16% from the year-ago period. The optical equipment company said its results were preliminary due to its ongoing review of historical stock options grants.
  • Google (GOOG) Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said Monday that Google and Apple (AAPL) are working together on "many more" new projects, which he did not identify. Schmidt made his comments at a technology conference in San Francisco. Google has nearly doubled the annual salaries of Chief Financial Officer George Reyes and three other top-level executives, the company said in a regulatory filing.
  • Immersion (IMMR) said Anne DeGheest has been appointed to its board, effective March 1.
  • InterMune (ITMN) said it has discontinued its Phase III clinical trial evaluating Actimmune in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, based upon the recommendation of the study's independent data monitoring committee. In a planned interim analysis that included a total of 115 deaths, the committee found the overall survival result crossed a predefined stopping boundary for lack of benefit of Actimmune relative to placebo. InterMune said there was not a statistically significant difference, among 826 randomized patients, between treatment groups in overall mortality.
  • Luna Innovations (LUNA) reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $2.68 million, or 27 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $1.73 million, or 33 cents a share, in the year-ago period. There were 9.88 million shares outstanding in the 2006 fourth quarter, compared with 5.25 in the same quarter last year. Revenue at the company rose 51% to $8.05 million from $5.34 million. Luna forecast a first-quarter per-share loss of $3.3 million on revenue of $6.9 million.
  • Maidenform Brands (MFB) reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $3.22 million, or 13 cents a share. During the same period a year ago, the company posted a net loss of $209,000, or a penny a share. The marketer of intimate apparel reported revenue of $85 million vs. $79.5 million. For 2007, Maidenform said it expects per-share earnings growth of 15% to 18% on total net sales growth of 6% to 7%.
  • McAfee (MFE) is going to appoint former EMC Corp. executive David DeWalt as its new chief executive, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday. The report, citing unnamed sources, said DeWalt will start in the new position April 2. DeWalt previously served as head of worldwide customer operations at EMC (EMC), which announced earlier Monday that another executive at the storage company would be assuming DeWalt's duties. George Samenuk, McAfee's last permanent CEO, stepped down in October as the company announced it was reviewing past stock option grant practices and had found instances of improperly granted options.
  • Medical Staffing Network Holdings (MRN) reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $24.8 million, or 82 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $292,000, or a penny a share, in the year-ago period. The fourth-quarter 2006 results included a pretax non-cash goodwill impairment charge of $28.6 million. Revenue at the healthcare staffing company rose to $99.5 million from $97.7 million.
  • Microchip Technology (MCHP) said it still expects fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of about 33 cents a share, or 36 cents a share excluding items. The provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors also said it expects net sales to be flat to slightly up from third-quarter sales of $251 million. In January, Microchip said it expected fourth-quarter revenue to be flat from the third quarter.
  • Microsoft (MSFT) has settled a lawsuit filed against it by French game developer In-Fusio SA related to the development of a mobile phone version of the popular 'Halo' video game, according to a legal filing. Terms of the settlement were not immediately disclosed.
  • Nissan Motors (NSANY) said it has appointed Mark McNabb to head its global Infiniti luxury car division, effective April 1. McNabb, 45, is returning to Nissan after a one-year stint at DaimlerChrysler where he was vice president of marketing at Mercedes-Benz USA.
  • ResCare (RSCR) fourth-quarter net income rose sharply to $8.99 million, or 27 cents a share, from $596,000, or 2 cents a share, a year earlier. The Louisville, Ky., healthcare company's revenue grew to $337.1 million from $270.9 million. For 2007, the company expects to earn $1.24 to $1.28 a share on revenue of $1.43 billion.
  • Ruth's Chris Steak House (RUTH), a New Orleans upscale steak house operator, will replace New Century Financial (NEW) in the S&P SmallCap 600 index March 7. The market cap of the mortgage real estate investment trust fell to about $253 million, below the minimum of $300 million, S&P said.
  • Santarus (SNTS) fourth-quarter loss narrowed to $7.47 million, or 15 cents a share, from $15.8 million, or 36 cents a share, a year earlier. Earnings for the most recent period included stock-based compensation expenses of about $2.2 million, or 4 cents a share, the company said. The San Diego pharmaceutical company's revenue surged to $20.5 million from $5.68 million a year ago.
  • Sykes Enterprises (SYKE) reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $8.14 million, or 20 cents a share, down 5% from $8.6 million, or 22 cents a share, during the year-ago period. The Tampa, Fla.-based provider of customer management products and services posted revenue of $158.6 million vs. $128.8 million.
  • UnitedHealth (UNH) said options backdating at the managed-care provider will result in the company reducing previously reported earnings by a combined $1.55 billion.
  • A Wal-Mart (WMT) employee is being probed over the electronic interception of messages to a New York Times reporter and others.
  • Xilinx (XLNX) raised the low end of its fiscal fourth-quarter sales outlook, and now expects sales of flat to down 4%, sequentially. The San Jose logic chip maker had predicted sales to be flat to down 5%, sequentially. Xilinx also reiterated its gross margin forecast, which is expected to be about 61%.

Market Update

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +2.11%, Nikkei +1.22%, Sensex +2.27%, Taiwan +1.45% and Shanghai +1.97%.
  • Looking over at Europe, we find the CAC +0.86%, DAX +0.64%, FTSE +0.77%, ATX +0.87%, Swiss Mkt. +0.84% and Stockholm +0.93%.
  • Gold is trading +8.50 to 647.5 and crude oil is +0.55 to 60.62 this morning.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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