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Stocks to Watch: Apple, ATI, H&R Block, Hovnanian, Kraft

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Rolling on a river

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Stocks to watch for Thursday, September 7

  • Apple (AAPL) introduced upgrades of its iMac line for consumers, including a model that sells for less than $1,000.
  • ATI Technologies (ATYT) cut its fiscal fourth-quarter revenue forecast to $520 million from its previous range of $620 million to $660 million. The maker of chips for graphics cards said the expected revenue shortfall is due primarily to lower sales volumes of integrated chipsets for Intel-based platforms.
  • AT&T Services , a unit of AT&T (T), said it has filed a suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to pursue about two dozen data brokers who have accessed customer information without authorization.
  • BEA Systems (BEAS) said it would delay filing its quarterly results with regulators due to its previously announced internal probe of its stock-option practices. The company said it doesn't expect to meet a Sept. 11 deadline for filing the results for the period ended July 31.
  • Boston Scientific (BSX) said a new data analysis confirms an increased risk of blood clots with its drug-coated cardiac stent.
  • Dynavax Technologies (DVAX) said it has entered into a research collaboration and license agreement with AstraZeneca (AZN) for the discovery and development of c agonist-based therapies for the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The collaboration includes an upfront fee of $10 million, plus research funding and preclinical milestones that could bring the total committed funding to $27 million, resulting in a total possible deal value of about $136 million.
  • Eastman Kodak (EK) said it signed a new, multiyear contract with Wal-Mart (WMT) for digital photo kiosk equipment and consumables. The deal will add 2,000 Kodak picture kiosks to 1,000 Wal-Mart stores across the United States.
  • Frontier Airlines (FRNT) said August traffic increased 17.9% to 773.2 million revenue passenger miles. Load factor, or the percentage of a plane filled with passengers, rose 1.3 percentage points to 78.8%, while net capacity rose 15.9% to 980.9 million available seat miles.
  • FuelCell Energy (FCEL) reported a third-quarter net loss of $18.7 million vs. a net loss of $17 million in the same period last year. The manufacturer of cell power plants posted a net loss available to shareholders of $19.8 million, or 37 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $18.6 million, or 38 cents a share, last year.
  • General Motors (GM) is boosting the warranty on all its vehicles to five years or 100,000 miles for 2007 models.
  • H&R Block (HRB), best known for its tax-preparation services, is expanding into banking with plans to begin offering bank accounts to customers to facilitate direct deposit of tax refunds.
  • Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ) handling of Board leaks is being investigated by the SEC and California's attorney general. The firm acknowledged it used "pretexting," posing as directors to obtain their phone records.
  • Hovnanian (HOV) reported third-quarter net earnings of $77 million, compared with $116.1 million in the same period last year. The homebuilder posted earnings available to shareholders of $74.4 million, or $1.15 a share, vs. $116.1 million, or $1.76 a share.
  • International Business Machines (IBM) said it has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration to design and build a next-generation supercomputer that could achieve a speed of up to 1,000 trillion calculations per second, or one petaflop.
  • International DisplayWorks (IDWK) reported third-quarter net earnings of $2.26 million, or 5 cents a share, compared with $984,000, or 3 cents a share, in the same period last year. The maker of liquid crystal displays said it used 45 million shares to calculate this year's results, a 37.5% increase vs. last year mainly due to the company's February stock offering.
  • Kraft Foods (KFT) said it has completed its $1.07 billion acquisition of United Biscuits Iberian operations, as well as the recovery of the rights to trademarks in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The deal includes the assumption of $537 million in debt, as well as $530 million of value for the redemption of Kraft's stake in United Biscuits.
  • Kindred Healthcare (KND) said it plans to expand its hospital operations in Springfield, Ill.; Seattle; Indianapolis; and Las Vegas by adding 69 long-term acute care hospital beds and 110 skilled nursing beds.
  • Lawson Products (LAWS) said it has approved the buyback of up to 1 million shares for $37.5 million to $43 million, or between $37.50 a share and $43 a share, in a modified Dutch Auction tender offer. Additionally, Lawson said that President and Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Belford will retire on Jan. 5, 2007. The company named Thomas Neri, its executive vice president of finance, planning and corporate development, to replace Belford effective immediately.
  • News Corp.'s (NWS) Murdoch is set to meet with Telecom Italia Chairman Tronchetti Provera to discuss a content-sharing deal, amid talk that News Corp. may take an equity stake in the Italian company, which both firms have denied.
  • NYSE chief John Thain said he remains confident that the exchange will close its $20 billion deal with Euronext by early 2007.
  • Palm (PALM) said it now expects first-quarter revenue of $354 million to $356 million, down from its previous forecast of revenue between $380 million and $385 million. The company said the revenue shortfall was primarily due to lower Treo volumes in carrier retail channels.
  • Peabody Energy (BTU) said it now sees a 2006 production target of 230 million tons. The St. Louis-based coal company had previously targeted production of 230 million tons to 240 million tons.
  • Parker Hannifin (PH) said orders rose 13% in August from the same month last year. The Cleveland, Ohio-based maker of fluid power systems and electromechanical controls said orders in its industrial North America segment increased 6%, while international orders rose 18%.
  • Qualcomm (QCOM) faces legal battles that have big implications for the cellphone market, possibly helping define fair conduct in licensing patents.
  • Sonic (SONC) said its estimated same-store sales growth for the fourth quarter was within the company's near-term target range of 3% to 5%. The drive-in restaurants chain said it sees earnings of 87 cents to 88 cents per share for fiscal 2006.
  • Sony (SNE) named Amy Pascal as co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and has extended her deal with the studio to 2011. In addition to her new title, Pascal will continue to serve in her role as chairman of the studio's motion picture group.
  • Spartech (SEH) said it has restated its financial statements to exclude $8.8 million of the non-cash fixed-asset charge previously recorded during fiscal 2005. The amount was related to equipment that was determined to no longer exist based on the physical counts completed in fiscal 2005.
  • Zoll Medical (ZOLL) said the Food and Drug Administration has granted 510(k) marketing clearance for a new defibrillator designed for hospitals. Zoll sees launching the product in 2007.


Market Update

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng -0.94%, Nikkei -1.67%, Sensex -0.67%, Shanghai -0.65 and Taiwan -0.05%.
  • A check of the European bourses finds the CAC -0.83%, DAX -0.55%, FTSE -0.94% and Swiss Market -0.61%.
  • Crude oil is trading +0.16 to 67.66 while gold is -1.80 to 640.0, for thier part stateside futes are below fair value.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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