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Stocks to Watch: Disney, Kraft, Merck, Sandisk, Texas Instruments, Wal-Mart, XM Satellite Radio


Roll with the punches


Stocks to watch for Tuesday, July 25

  • Adelphia announced the framework of a $17 billion reorganization plan backed by more creditors than previous proposals.
  • Alcon (ACL) said its second-quarter profit rose 43% on strong sales growth, as well as the reduction of a liability related to intellectual property suits that have been settled with Advanced Medical Optics.
  • Allstate (ALL) is considering dropping coverage for hail and wind damage for coastal homeowners in Louisiana, nearly a year after the hurricane season in the Gulf Coast.
  • Altera (ALTR) reported its second-quarter sales rose 17% to $334.1 million over the same period last year. Altera didn't provide net income or profit-per share data because it plans to restate its financial results to correct errors related to stock-option accounting for the years 1996 to 2005.
  • Altus Pharmaceuticals (ALTU) shares plunged more than 33% in late trading after the company, citing production problems, delayed the start of two Phase III clinical trials that were due to start in the second half of the year.
  • American Express (AXP) said net fell 6.7%, largely due to the spinoff of its financial-advisory unit, but reported strong consumer spending.
  • Atheros Communications (ATHR) reported second-quarter net earnings of $6.8 million, or 12 cents a share. In the same period last year, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based provider of semiconductor systems posted a net loss of $216,000, or breakeven on a per-share basis.
  • Barrick Gold (ABX) offered $1.53 billion for rival Canadian miner NovaGold Resources in a deal that would add to its interest in North American mines
  • BellSouth (BLS) said earnings rose 12%, as stronger wireless and high-speed-Internet sales offset a decline in land-line revenue.
  • Brown & Brown (BRO) said second-quarter net income came in at $44.4 million, or 32 cents a share, up 20% from a year earlier when the insurance broker made $37 million, or 27 cents a share.
  • Capstone Turbine (CPST) said John Tucker has resigned as president, chief executive and a director, citing personal reasons. His resignation is effective July 31.
  • Centex (CTX) reported a 31% drop in fiscal first-quarter net income and cut its full-year earnings forecast as the homebuilder adjusts to what it called a "supply-driven correction" in the real estate market.
  • Covance (CVD) said second-quarter revenue rose as net income increased to $35 million, or 54 cents a share, from $29.6 million, or 46 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year.
  • Disney (DIS) announced that it will buy Hungama, a popular Indian children's cable-TV channel, as it plays catch-up in the Indian market.
  • Industrial products manufacturer Crane (CR) reported second-quarter net earnings of $44.5 million, or 71 cents a share, up from $35.7 million, or 59 cents, a year ago. Revenue for the three months ended June 30 totaled $558 million, up 6% from $526 million.
  • CrossTex Energy (XTXI) (XTEX) said it has increased its quarterly distribution 1.9% to 54 cents from 53 cents a unit, payable Aug. 15 to unit holders as of Aug. 2. Additionally, CrossTex Energy Inc. raised its quarterly dividend 3.3% to 62 cents from 60 cents a share.
  • DeVry (DV) named Richard Gunst chief financial officer and treasurer, succeeding Norman Levine. Gunst has served as CFO of PepsiCo.'s Quaker Foods and Beverages unit
  • Eagle Materials (EXP) reported first-quarter net earnings of $59.1 million, or $1.16 a share, compared with $34.9 million, or 64 cents a share, during the year-ago period. The Dallas-based building materials company posted revenue of $260 million vs. $204.8 million.
  • Encysive Pharmaceutical (ENCY) said it has received an approvable letter from the Food and Drug Administration for Thelin, which is under review for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension.
  • Everest (RE) reported record quarterly net income, while rival PartnerRe Ltd. unveiled lower net earnings, but both reinsurers were bullish about prices in some catastrophe-exposed parts of the market.
  • Exxon (XOM) said it spilled a small amount of oil at a huge project on an island off the Russian coast.
  • Forward Air (FWRD) said second-quarter revenue rose as net income increased to $13 million, or 41 cents a share, from $12 million, or 37 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year.
  • Genentech (DNA) agreed to pay Inotek Pharmaceuticals as much as $625 million for the rights to develop a new class of drugs as treatments for cancer and acute heart problems.
  • Hexcel (HXL) said its second-quarter income tax provision increased as net income fell to $17.6 million, or 18 cents a share, from $26.2 million, or 28 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year.
  • Honda (HMC) is expected to announce plans to enter the U.S. market for small-business jets, in what may be the final push in its 20-year effort to become a jet aircraft maker.
  • JDA Software Group (JDAS) said its quarterly profit tumbled 70% and revenue declined as sales of new software licenses fell by almost a third to meet the firm's recently lowered expectations.
  • Kraft Foods (KFT) posted a nearly 45% increase in quarterly earnings, lifted by cost cutting and higher sales volume. Kraft Foods posted higher profit and credited a favorable product mix, increased advertising and continued cost savings.
  • Liberty Property Trust (LRY) reported second-quarter earnings of $68.5 million, or 76 cents a share, compared with $44.6 million, or 51 cents a share, in the same period last year.
  • Linn Energy LLC (LINE) said it has agreed to acquire certain oil and natural gas properties of Blacksand Energy LLC located in the Los Angeles basin for $291 million.
  • Merck (MRK) said profit more than doubled and raised its forecast, helped by cholesterol-drug sales. Schering-Plough swung to a profit. New Jersey's high court agreed to hear Merck's appeal of the class certification of a high-stakes Vioxx lawsuit brought by a union and several other third-party payors. The lawsuit seeks reimbursement for as much as $9.6 billion of Vioxx purchases.
  • Nabors Industries (NBR) said its second-quarter profit surged 77% on demand for its rigs and also forecast strong growth ahead for all the oil services company's divisions over the next couple of years.
  • Netflix (NFLX) said its second-quarter profit rose sharply on a 46% spike in revenue, but its outlook for the third quarter fell short of analysts' expectations.
  • Radyne (RADN) reported second-quarter earnings of $3.15 million, or 17 cents a share, compared with $2.08 million, or 12 cents a share, during the same period last year.
  • Reinsurance Group of America (RGA) reported second-quarter earnings of $63.6 million, or $1.01 a share, compared with $21.8 million, or 34 cents a share, last year.
  • Rent-A-Center (RCII) said second-quarter net income fell to $39.8 million, or 56 cents per share, from $41.7 million, or 55 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year.
  • SanDisk (SNDK) reported a fiscal second-quarter profit that rose 37% from a year ago as the maker of flash-memory products sold more than 15 million memory cards for use in mobile devices.
  • Texas Instruments (TXN) reported a jump in earnings from its continuing businesses, the latest evidence that demand for chips used in cellphones and other communications products remains solid. The Dallas semiconductor maker said net income for the second quarter was $2.39 billion, or $1.50 a share, including $1.65 billion from discontinued operations that reflects a gain on selling its sensors and controls business. A year earlier, TI's net was $628 million, or 38 cents a share.
  • Wal-Mart (WMT) has hired the public-relations executive who is the architect of its stepped-up effort to counter various social critics.
  • XM Satellite Radio (XMSR) appointed Nate Davis, formerly of Nextel and MCI, as president and chief operating officer, as the company continues to battle rival Sirius Satellite.

Market Update:

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +0.63%, Nikkei +1.42%, Taiwan +0.49%, Sensex +1.96%, Jakarta +0.35% and the Shanghai +1.17%.
  • A quick look across the pond finds the CAC +0.64%, DAX +0.20%, FTSE +0.49%, Swiss Mkt +0.60, Stockholm +0.37% and ATX +1.11%.
  • Crude oil is trading +0.33 to 75.38 while gold is +8.6 to 621.8.
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