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Stocks to Watch: Altria, Ford, Gap, Merck, Time Warner


Down the stretch they come!

  • Aeropostale (ARO) turned in second-quarter earnings that were slightly higher than last year's, thanks to a vendor settlement. The company said it made about $8.4 million, or 16 cents a share, compared with last year's profit of $7.5 million, or 13 cents a share.
  • Shares of Altria (MO) and Reynolds American (RAI) rose after a judge's ruling held that tobacco companies violated federal racketeering laws, though she was unable to impose financial penalties.
  • Bebe Stores (BEBE) reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $22.1 million, or 24 cents a share, up 13% from $19.5 million, or 21 cents a share, during the year-ago period.
  • Bristol Myers's (BMY) board stopped short of reiterating its support for its CEO amid a government probe of a failed patent accord.
  • Brocade Communications Systems (BRCD) reported third-quarter net earnings of $24.5 million, or 9 cents a share, boosted by a higher gross margin and strong sales.
  • Comverse Technology (CMVT) said it is terminating the employment agreements of former Chairman and Chief Executive Kobi Alexander, former Chief Financial Officer William Sorin and former General Counsel David Kreinberg.
  • Cost Plus (CPWM) reported a second-quarter net loss of $11.3 million, or 51 cents a share.
  • Dell (DELL) reported a fiscal second-quarter profit of $502 million, or 22 cents a share, on $14.09 billion in revenue.
  • Ford Motor (F) is looking to cut North American salaried costs by another 10% to 30% by closing more factories and eliminating more management jobs, the Wall Street Journal reported.
  • Gap (GPS) said net income declined 53% for its fiscal second quarter, and it slashed its earnings forecast for the full year, disappointing investors who have been waiting for a long-promised turnaround.
  • Marvell Technology (MRVL) said its net revenue rose 47% to $574 million. The company didn't report its net income or per-share figures due to an internal review of its stock-option accounting.
  • Merck (MRK) suffered two setbacks in its Vioxx litigation. A plaintiff was awarded $51 million, and a New Jersey verdict was reversed.
  • Nordstrom (JWN) said it earned $178.8 million, or 67 cents a share, in its second quarter, up from $148.9 million, or 53 cents a share, in the year-ago period.
  • Petco Animal Supplies (PETC) reported second-quarter net earnings of $9.92 million, or 17 cents a share, compared with $18 million, or 31 cents a share, during the year-ago period.
  • Pfizer (PFE) said a federal jury has ruled that the company doesn't infringe Synthon IP's U.S. patent covering a process for making amlodipine, the active ingredient in the hypertension drug Norvasc.
  • Time Warner (TWX) said it would restate its financials for the years ended Dec. 31, 2000 through Dec. 31, 2005 to adjust certain advertising revenues that were accounted for improperly during 2000 and 2001.
  • Tyson Foods (TSN) said it is consolidating its beef plants in the Pacific Northwest, resulting in around 770 job cuts. The company's Tyson Fresh Meats subsidiary will close its beef slaughter plant in Boise, Idaho, and scale back processing operations at its Pasco, Wash., complex in October.

Market Update

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng -0.24%, Nikkei +0.53%, Sensex -0.10%, Taiwan -0.18% and Shanghai -0.33%.
  • A check of the European bourses finds the CAC +0.05%, DAX -0.04%, FTSE +0.46%, ATX -0.09%, Swiss Mkt -0.18% and Stockholm +0.11%.
  • Crude oil is trading +0.83 to 70.89 while gold is +0.2 to 625.5 this morning. For their part, stateside futes are slightly below fair value.
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