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Stocks to Watch: BP, GM, Ford, Motorola


Grinding it out


Stocks to watch for Tuesday, September 19

  • Aetna (AET) said it still expects third-quarter operating earnings of 72 cents a share and 2006 operating earnings of $2.77 to $2.79 a share.
  • AFC Enterprises (AFCE) reported that domestic same-store sales increased 0.8% in its financial period eight, which ended Aug. 6. The company also posted a domestic same-store sales increase of 1.9% in its period nine, which ended on Sept. 3.
  • Annaly Capital Management (NLY) said it has raised its quarterly cash dividend 7.7% to 14 cents from 13 cents a share.
  • BP said it will further postpone the start-up of its Thunder Horse oil field in the Gulf of Mexico, helping boost oil to $63.80.
  • Cemex (CX) said it sees third-quarter operating income in excess of $800 million, and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of close to $1.1 billion.
  • Comverse Technology (CMVT) said it has received an additional staff determination letter from the Nasdaq indicating that a filing delay serves as an additional basis to delist the company's shares.
  • Con-way (CNW) lowered its view for third-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations to a range of $1.10 to $1.15 from its prior outlook of $1.21 to $1.29. The freight transportation company cited issues such as business volumes that are lower than expectation at the company's less-than-truckload operating unit.
  • El Paso Electric (EE) said it has approved the buyback of up to an additional 2.3 million of its shares.
  • ESS Technology (ESST) said it plans to reorganize its operations, resulting in a reduction in worldwide headcount of about 25% from the end of the second quarter. The Fremont, Calif.-based company said it now expects third-quarter revenue in the range of $19 million to $23 million.
  • General Motors (GM) and Ford (F) discussed the concept of an alliance but dropped the idea. Still, the talks highlight sweeping changes in the auto industry.
  • Harte-Hanks (HHS) said it has agreed to acquire AberdeenGroup Inc. for an undisclosed sum. A Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) computer-crimes expert warned his superiors earlier this year that the company's probe of board leaks was being conducted in a manner that could be illegal
  • Hifn (HIFN) said it expects revenue for its fourth quarter, ended Sept. 30, to fall short of expectations by 20%. The maker of integrated circuits said a major customer has changed its business model, leading to a significant inventory reduction that reduces Hifn deliveries.
  • Hudson Highland Group (HHGP) said it has agreed to sell its Highland Partners executive search business to Heidrick & Struggles International (HSII) for a maximum of $51.6 million in cash.
  • Kyphon (KYPH) said Maureen Lamb has been named chief financial officer. The medical device developer added that Lamb, who previously served as CFO at Photon Dynamics, succeeds Arthur Taylor, who has been serving as chief operating officer and CFO since February 2006.
  • Langer (GAIT) said Chief Financial Officer Joseph Ciavarella has resigned. The medical products company named Sara Cormack CFO, effective immediately.
  • Maxim Integrated Products (MXIM) lowered its first-quarter outlook due to softer-than-expected aggregate bookings and turn orders. The chip provider said it now expects first-quarter earnings of 32 cents to 34 cents a share, excluding one-time charges, on revenue that's flat to down 3% compared with the fourth quarter.
  • Medtronic (MDT) said it has repurchased 95.2% of two series of contingent convertible debentures due 2021. An aggregate of $1.97 billion of debentures was outstanding, and the medical devices company had repurchased $1.88 billion of the debentures as of Friday.
  • MEMC Electronic Materials (WFR) said it has filed its form 10-Qs for the first and second quarters of 2006, and is now current with all Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • Meritage Homes (MTH) said it sees third-quarter results near or slightly below the lower end of the company's prior view due to "further deterioration in market conditions," and that it will be "difficult to achieve" its outlook for the rest of the year.
  • Motorola (MOT) had agreed to acquire Symbol Technologies for $15 a share in cash, in a deal valued at about $3.9 billion.
  • Omnova Solutions (OMN) reported third-quarter net earnings of $3.3 million, or 8 cents a share, compared with $1.4 million, or 3 cents a share, during the year-ago period.
  • Salem Communications (SALM) said it still expects third-quarter revenue of $57.9 million to $58.4 million.
  • Sara Lee (SLE) said fiscal 2007 should be an inflection point for the company's performance, and should show positive topline and bottomline growth trends across all businesses. De Kool added that the company expects cash from operations of $400 million to $500 million, and that prior long-term targets are attainable.
  • Savient Pharmaceuticals (SVNT) said it has accepted for purchase 10 million of its shares for $6.80 each as part of its modified Dutch auction tender offer.
  • Sykes Enterprises (SYKE) said it has sold four United States customer contact management centers currently leased by third parties. The provider of customer contact management solutions said it sees after-tax cash proceeds of $14.5 million.
  • Thomson (TOC) said it has agreed to acquire Solucient LLC, a provider of healthcare decision support solutions. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
  • Wendy's International (WEN) confirmed the distribution ratio for the special dividend of the 160 million shares of Tim Hortons (THI) it owns. The Dublin, Ohio-based fast-food restaurant chain said its shareholders will receive 1.35 of Tim Hortons common stock for every share of Wendy's held.
  • Zimmer Holdings (ZMH) said its board has amended the company's by-laws to adopt a majority vote standard for the election of directors in uncontested elections.

Market Update

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng -0.23%, Sensex -0.84%, Nikkei +0.05%, Shanghai +0.05% and Taiwan -0.01%.
  • A check of the European bourses finds the CAC -0.90%, DAX -0.73%, FTSE -0.78% and Swiss Market -0.42%.
  • Crude oil is trading +0.15 to 63.95 while gold is -3.9 to 588.9. For their part, stateside futes are below fair value.
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