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Stocks to Watch: GM, Home Depot, JP Morgan, Merrill, New York Times, Disney, Yahoo


Take it to the bank


Stocks to watch for Wednesday, July 19

  • Amdocs (DOX) said it has agreed to acquire privately held Cramer Systems Group Ltd. for around $375 million in cash in a move to expand its service-management and operations-support systems offerings.
  • AT&T (T) is set to launch its Homezone television service, which blends satellite TV with on-demand movies and other services off the Internet.
  • Charles & Colvard (CTHR) said the second-quarter cost of goods fell as net income rose to $1.1 million, or 6 cents a share, from $740,000, or 4 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year.
  • Check Point Software Technologies (CHKP) forecast results for all of 2006 that would be roughly in line with the average of analysts' estimates. Executives of the network-security software firm predicted that it would earn $1.12 to $1.20 a share for the year, or $1.33 to $1.40 a share after stripping out one-time items.
  • Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) said quarterly revenue rose 12%, and the restaurant operator unveiled plans to review its stock-option awards practices.
  • Coca Cola's (KO) earnings rose 6.6%, fueled by the sale of shares in its Turkish bottler and strong volume growth in Latin America.
  • Con-Way (CNW) reported second-quarter net earnings of $70.73 million, compared with $71.1 million last year. Quarterly revenue rose 8% to $1.1 billion from $1.02 billion.
  • Cognex (CGNX) said higher sales boosted its second-quarter net earnings to $11.4 million, or 24 cents a share, from $7.8 million, or 17 cents a share, in the same period last year.
  • CSX (CSX) posted a second-quarter profit of $390 million, or $1.66 a share, up from $165 million, or 73 cents a share, a year ago.
  • Digitas (DTAS) reported second-quarter net earnings of $13.5 million, or 14 cents a share, up 14% from $11.9 million, or 12 cents a share, during the year-ago period. The Boston-based marketing services company posted total revenue of $190.9 million vs. $134.3 million.
  • En Pointe Technologies (ENPT) said it sees third-quarter sales of $93.8 million to $94.8 million. During the same period in the prior year, the Los Angeles company reported sales of $92.6 million.
  • General Motors (GM) will step up discounts on certain models in the U.S., but is not planning a "nationwide blowout sale."
  • Home Depot (HD) announced a program to sell advertising on its Web site, as the retailer looks to tap into the strong demand for Internet ads.
  • Illumina (ILMN) said it swung to a profit in the second quarter and lifted its 2006 forecast.
  • JP Morgan Chase (JPM) reported 2Q EPS of $0.92 ex-items vs $0.87 cons.
    Investment banking revs were +52% y/y to $4.18 bln, retail financial revs were (1%) y/y to $3.78 bln, card services (6%) to $3.66 bln and commercial banking +9% to 949 mln.
  • Johnson &Johnson (JNJ) reported second-quarter profit rose 9%, helped by higher sales of medical devices and treatments for mental illness and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Marriott (MAR) is banning smoking in every room of its 2,300-plus hotels in the U.S. and Canada, in an effort to extinguish an increasingly common source of guest complaints -- the smell of lingering cigarette smoke.
  • Merrill Lynch (MER) said earnings rose 44% to $1.63 billion despite recent stock-market headwinds, helped by private-equity gains
  • MetLife (MET) said it's considering selling Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town, properties that make up what the life insurer says is the largest apartment complex in Manhattan.
  • New River Pharmaceuticals (NRPH) said it plans to buy back up to $50 million of its shares.
  • News Corp.'s (NWS) Fox said it will launch a new live national morning television program on Fox affiliates beginning in January.
  • New York Times (NYT) posted flat net and said it will reduce the width of its flagship paper, consolidate printing plants and cut 250 jobs.
  • Novartis (NVS) plans to build a $600 million flu-vaccine plant in the U.S. that uses new technology to help eliminate production glitches that can lead to flu-shot shortages
  • Palm Harbor Homes (PHHM) said its first-quarter earnings rose 35% to $3.55 million, or 16 cents a share, compared with $2.63 million, or 12 cents a share, in the same period last year.
  • Plx Technology (PLXT) said second-quarter revenue rose as the company swung to net income of $281,000, or a penny a share. During the same period in the prior year, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based chip provider reported a net loss of $732,000, or 3 cents a share.
  • Renaissance Learning (RLRN) said second-quarter operating expenses rose as net income fell to $4.67 million, or 16 cents a share, from $7.34 million, or 24 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year.
  • Total System Services (TSS) said second-quarter operating income rose as net income increased to $57.4 million, or 29 cents a share, from $50.6 million, or 26 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year.
  • Toyota (TM) said it is developing a hybrid vehicle that can travel greater distances on an electrical charge, and it will consider producing vehicles that can run on ethanol.
  • Trustmark (TRMK) reported second-quarter earnings of $30.8 million, or 55 cents a share, compared with $22.2 million, or 39 cents a share, in the same period last year.
  • United Health (UNH) posted a 26% jump in quarterly net profit as a rise in premiums, due to the company's acquisition of PacifiCare, boosted revenue.
  • Valmont Industries (VMI) said its second-quarter earnings rose 66% to $17.3 million, or 67 cents, from $10.4 million, or 42 cents, last year.
  • The Wall Street Journal plans to run an advertisement on its front page starting in September.
  • Walt Disney (DIS) said it is slashing 650 jobs -- 20% of the staff -- at its movie studio. In a surprise move, the studio will also replace its head of production.
  • Wells Fargo (WFC) said net rose 9%, while four other regional banks reported mixed results amid a tricky interest-rate environment.
  • Xilinx (XLNX) said it has postponed its first-quarter earnings release to July 25. Additionally, the San Jose, Calif.-based chip company said the independent investigation into its option granting practices is not yet complete.
  • Yahoo's (YHOO) profit fell nearly 80% from year-ago results that were boosted by the sale of Google shares. IBM's (IBM) profit rose 11% on relatively strong sales growth in its software business.

Market Update:

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +0.33%, Nikkei +0.44, Taiwan -0.13%, Sensex -2.15%, Jakarta -0.43% and the Shanghai -2.32%.
  • A quick look across the pond finds the CAC +0.29%, DAX +0.36%, FTSE +0.26%, Stockholm +1.80% and ATX +0.80%.
  • Crude oil is trading -0.64 to 72.90 while gold is -5.0 to 624.50. For their part, stateside futes are mixed to fair value.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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