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Stocks to Watch: Amazon, Blackstone, Hewlett-Packard, Phelps Dodge, Sun Micro, UPS


We're half-way there........


Stocks to watch for Wednesday, July 26

  • Ace (ACE) and Chubb (CB) reported increases of more than 20% in second-quarter net income as the property and casualty insurers benefited from a lack of major catastrophes in the period.
  • Aflac (AFL) reported a 21% increase in second-quarter net income late Tuesday, but warned that sales in Japan may fall during the rest of 2006.
  • Altria's (MO) net income rose 1.6% in the second quarter on strength in overseas cigarette sales and in its food business. The company also boosted its full-year outlook.
  • (AMZN) reported second-quarter profit fell by more than half, sending its shares down sharply in after-hours trading, as the online retailing pioneer was hurt by the cost of employee stock options and higher operating expenses. Shares slid nearly 10% after hours.
  • American International Group (AIG) said it has ended an agency relationship with American International Marine Agency of New York, a subsidiary of C.V. Starr & Co., in another step in the insurer's separation from its former chairman and chief executive Maurice "Hank" Greenberg.
  • Ameriprise Financial (AMP) said second-quarter net income came in at $141 million, or 57 cents a share, down 9% from a year earlier, when the financial-planning company made $155 million, or 63 cents a share.
  • Blackstone is weighing a possible bid to top the $21.3 billion leveraged buyout of hospital chain HCA by Bain Capital, KKR and Merrill. Any potential offer is still in the early stages, and would be difficult and costly.
  • Charles Schwab (SCHW) said its board has approved a share buyback of up to $500 million.
  • Chordiant Software (CHRD) said the Securities and Exchange Commission has contacted the company regarding an inquiry about past stock-option-grant practices.
  • Citigroup (C) CEO Charles Prince ruled out slashing expenses to boost the firm's flagging stock, despite calls by investors to do so.
  • Colgate-Palmolive (CL) said its quarterly profit slid 17%, as restructuring charges outweighed sales growth.
  • Corning (GLW) said second-quarter earnings more than tripled as several onetime gains and stronger demand for fiber-optic products offset a glut in glass panels used in electronic displays.
  • Dover (DOV) reported second-quarter net income of $71.9 million, or 35 cents a share, down sharply from $173.2 million, or 85 cents, a year ago.
  • Ethan Allen Interiors (ETH) said its board has approved increasing the quarterly cash dividend 11% to 20 cents from 18 cents a share. The board has also increased the share buyback authorization by 1.4 million shares to 2.5 million shares.
  • Fiserv (FISV) said its second-quarter profit rose 3.2% to exceed expectations as revenue increased 9.7%.
  • Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) said it has agreed to acquire Mercury Interactive (MERQ) , a troubled maker of testing and optimization software, through a cash tender offer worth at least $4.5 billion.
  • H.J. Heinz (HNZ) said all of its stockholders with shares held through banks, brokers or financial intermediaries are now able to vote via the Internet in the company's proxy fight with Nelson Peltz and his Trian Group. Heinz said Internet voting was restored, following an 8-day shutdown, after ADP Proxy Services amended Trian's voting instruction form.
  • Honda (HMC) will begin accepting orders this fall for its new five- to six-passenger twin-engine Honda Jet, realizing its long-nurtured dream to enter America's small-business-jet market.
  • Integrated Device Technology (IDTI) said first-quarter expenses rose as the company swung to a net loss of $1.56 million, or a penny a share. During the same period in the prior year, the company reported net income of $6.58 million, or 6 cents a share.
  • Lattice Semiconductor (LSCC) said second-quarter revenue rose as the company swung to net income of $2.07 million, or 2 cents a share. During the same period in the prior year, the company reported a net loss of $8.16 million, or 7 cents a share.
  • Linear Technology (LLTC) reported fiscal fourth-quarter net earnings of $115.7 million, or 37 cents a share, up from $106 million, or 34 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding items, net profit came in at $125.9 million, or 41 cents a share.
  • Lockheed Martin's (LMT) profit rose 26% thanks to strong performance by its space and electronics units as well as lower pension costs, prompting the defense contractor to raise its full-year profit forecast
  • Lone Star Technologies (LSS) reported second-quarter earnings of $32.2 million, or $1.04 cents a share, compared with $63.5 million, or $2.09 cents a share, in the same period last year, as expenses rose.
  • McDonald's (MCD) reported second-quarter profit rose 57% on broad-based growth, including the fast-food giant's best European results in more than a decade. Revenue increased 9.4%.
  • Novartis (NVS) agreed to buy a 13% stake in Momenta Pharmaceuticals, sending shares of the biotechnology company up. The pact includes joint development work on four new drugs.
  • Phelps Dodge (PD) said it has received an advance ruling certificate from the Canadian Competition Bureau clearing its offer to purchase all of the outstanding shares of Inco (N).
  • RF Micro Devices (RFMD) reported first-quarter earnings of $13.9 million, or 7 cents a share. In the same period last year, the maker of radio system components for mobile communications posted a net loss of $2.7 million, or 1 cent a share.
  • Select Comfort (SCSS) said second-quarter revenue rose as net income increased to $10.7 million, or 19 cents a share, from $7.86 million, or 13 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year. .
  • Sierra Health Services (SIE) said second-quarter revenue rose 22%, buoyed by a rise in medical premiums, and the managed healthcare provider raised its full-year earnings forecast.
  • Sigma-Aldrich (SIAL) posted a second-quarter profit of $70.3 million, or $1.04 a share, up from $62.5 million, or 91 cents a share, a year earlier.
  • SigmaTel (SGTL) said second-quarter revenue fell as net income dropped to $2.93 million, or 8 cents a share, from $10.9 million, or 29 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year.
  • Sun Microsystems (SUNW) posted a loss as charges hurt results, but the computer maker's sales rose 29%.
  • United Parcel (UPS) reported a lower-than-expected 7.6% profit rise and issued a lackluster outlook, blaming fuel costs and a slowing economy. The company's shares tumbled 10%.
  • U.S. Steel (X) and other steelmakers reported strong results amid high demand and predicted that steel prices would remain strong.
  • Xstrata (XTA) said its acquisition offer for Falconbridge (FAL) has been approved by the Minister of Industry under the Investment Canada Act.
  • Washington Mutual (WM) said it has agreed to sell its WM Advisors asset management business to Principal Financial Group for $740 million in cash.
  • Weyerhaeuser (WY) is pulling back from some home-building markets because of the housing slowdown.
  • Whirlpool's (WHR) profit slipped 5.2%, weighed down by its acquisition of Maytag. Sales rose 33%, reflecting the acquisition and strong consumer demand.

Market Update:

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +0.20%, Nikkei -0.81%, Taiwan -0.23%, Sensex +1.94%, Jakarta +0.39% and the Shanghai +0.07%.
  • A quick look across the pond finds the CAC +0.12%, DAX +0.09%, FTSE +0.22%, Swiss Mkt +0.32, Stockholm +0.80% and ATX +1.55%.
  • Crude oil is trading +0.09 to 73.84 while gold is -0.2 to 617.8.
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