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Stocks to Watch: Federated, Research in Motion, SunMicro, Verizon


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Stocks to watch for Thursday, September 28

  • Accenture (ACN) is expected to report per-share earnings of 38 cents in the third quarter.
  • Advance America Cash Advance Centers (AEA) said it plans to "vigorously" defend itself against a lawsuit filed by the Pennsylvania Department of Banking. The Spartanburg, S.C.-based company said the suit alleges the company is providing credit lines to borrowers without a license and with interest and fees in excess of state law.
  • American Greetings (AM) is expected to post a second-quarter loss of 16 cents a share.
  • Amgen (AMGN) introduced Amgen Oncology Assistance, a financial assistance program that will include a cap on out-of-pocket co-payments for cancer patients receiving Vectibix. The program will be available in October. Amgen Inc. said the Food and Drug Administration has approved Vectibix following priority review. Vectibix is expected to be commercially available in early to mid-October and will be priced about 20% less than the other anti-EGFr antibody currently on the market, Amgen said.
  • AutoZone (AZO) said Edward Lampert, chairman of Sears Holdings (SHLD), will not stand for re-election to the AutoZone board. Memphis, Tenn.-based AutoZone has nominated Theodore Ullyot, general counsel of ESL Investments, to fill the board seat being vacated by Lampert.
  • Deutsche Bank (DB) said it has named Michael Burke managing director and head of U.S. private client services. Burke was managing director and director of national sales for Morgan Stanley's global wealth management group.
  • Energy Conversion Devices (ENER) said it has increased the number of independent directors on its board and plans to adopt an incentive plan and increase its authorized shares to 100 million from 50 million in an effort to improve corporate governance. The company also approved the elimination of Class A and Class B stock.
  • Exelixis (EXEL) said it is offering to sell 9 million of its shares in an underwritten public offering, subject to market and other conditions. The biotechnology concern said it plans to grant the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 1.35 million shares to cover over-allotments.
  • Family Dollar Stores (FDO) is expected to post fourth-quarter per-share profit of 23 cents.
  • Investor Carl Icahn plans to spend up to $500 million to boost his stake in Federated (FD), raising the prospect of a leveraged buyout.
  • Ford's (F) finance chief said the financial performance of the company's North American business won't show improvement until cost cuts kick in and production levels start rising during the second half of 2007.
  • Forrester Research (FORR) said it has named Charles Rutstein as chief operating officer, effective Jan. 1, 2007. Rutstein currently serves as president of Forrester Americas, the firm's largest operating group, the Cambridge, Mass.-based research company said.
  • General Motors' (GM) chief Wagoner and Renault and Nissan CEO Ghosn agreed to keep talking until Oct. 15 about a possible three-way alliance.
  • Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) ex-Chairman Dunn said she learned in late spring of 2005 that phone records were accessed in a leak probe but suggested she was unaware of the tactics used. Chief Executive Mark Hurd said in testimony prepared for an appearance Thursday before a House subcommittee that a company probe into boardroom leaks began with the best of intentions, but soon turned into a "rogue investigation" that violated the technology giant's core principles, and vowed to ensure that such an incident would never happen again.
  • Kellwood (KWD) said it has agreed to acquire the assets of CRL Group LLC, the owner of the Vince brand. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. St. Louis-based Kellwood said Vince is expected to have sales of more than $45 million in 2006.
  • Lionsgate Entertainment (LGF) Chief Executive Jon Feltheimer and Vice Chairman Michael Burns have agreed to sign "multiple year" contract extensions with the entertainment company, Burns told MarketWatch.
  • Mobile ESPN is poised to close down. The sports-centric cellphone firm will aim to rebound as a content partner with bigger carriers
  • Nabi (NABI) said it is exploring ways to increase shareholder value, including joint ventures, strategic alliances and the sale of all or part of the company. The Boca Raton, Fla.-based biotechnology company said it has hired Banc of America Securities LLC to help it explore some of the alternatives
  • Resources Connection (RECN) reported first-quarter net earnings of $11 million, or 22 cents a share, compared with $15.1 million, or 29 cents a share, during the year-ago period. Earnings excluding stock-based compensation expense and the related income tax effect were $15.1 million, or 30 cents a share.
  • PolyOne (POL) said it expects third-quarter sales and shipments to be 2% below second-quarter levels, but higher when compared with the same period last year. The company added it sees operating income for the period below its second-quarter result, and around last year's third-quarter levels.
  • Research in Motion (RIMM) is expected to report second-quarter earnings of 71 cents a share.
  • Sangamo BioSciences (SGMO) said it has presented data demonstrating that a treatment with its zinc finger DNA-binding protein nucleases can make human immune system cells permanently resistant to HIV infection.
  • Smart Modular Technologies (SMOD) is expected to post per-share earnings of 18 cents in the fourth quarter.
  • Sun Microsystems (SUNW) said it has agreed to acquire Neogent Inc., an identity management services automation company based in Austin, Texas. Financial terms of the agreement weren't disclosed. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun Microsystems manufacturer of computer hardware and software said the acquisition is immaterial to its per-share earnings.
  • Texas Industries (TXI) is expected to report first-quarter profits of $1.07 a share.
  • Tibco Software (TIBX) is expected to post earnings of 6 cents a share in the third quarter.
  • TIB Financial (TIBB) said it has approved a 2-for-1 stock split. Shareholders of record as of Oct. 9 will receive the additional shares on Oct. 23, the Naples, Fla.-based financial services.
  • United Natural Foods (UNFI) forecast earnings per share growth of 15% to 19% for the year. The company said it expects to earn $1.25 to $1.30 a share for the year.
  • Universal Technical Institute (UTI) said it is reducing its workforce by 70 employees, effective immediately. Related expenses will be $1.2 million, and included in the fourth quarter.
  • UnumProvident (UNM) said that C. William Pollard is stepping down as chairman on Sept. 30 and retiring from the board on Dec. 31. The Chattanooga, Tenn.-based named Jon Fossel to succeed Pollard as non-executive chairman, effective Oct. 1.
  • Ventas (VTR) said the Supreme Court of New York has once again ordered its tenant indred Healthcare (KND) to produce sufficient information to determine inter-company pharmacy profits at Ventas facilities. The court rejected Kindred's argument that it doesn't have the information, Ventas said.
  • Verizon (VZ) said its deployments of television and high-speed Internet services are on track, and promised new revenue streams in the future, possibly including product-placement-based advertising.
  • Wal-Mart (WMT) will curtail health-care options it offers newly hired workers, promoting a low-premium, high-deductible plan.

Market Update

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +0.05%, Sensex +0.11%, Nikkei +0.48%, Shanghai +0.69% and Taiwan -0.88%.
  • A check of the European bourses finds the CAC +0.17%, DAX +0.08%, FTSE +0.55% and Swiss Market -0.04%.
  • Crude oil is trading +0.08 to 63.04 while gold is +5.7 to 609.0. For their part, stateside futes are bove fair value.
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