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Stocks To Watch: Alcan, Fremont, Halliburton, Intel, Sallie Mae


Today's big stories and some stocks with potential to move...


Stocks to watch for Wednesday, May 23:

  • Advanced Analogic Technologies (AATI) said the U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled in favor of the company in a patent infringement case brought by Linear Technology (LLTC). The ITC judge found that all asserted claims of Linear's patents were either non-infringed or invalid, the company said. The initial determination will now be considered by the full ITC, the company said. The final determination is expected to be issued by Sept. 22, and AnalogicTech said it expects the judge's findings to be confirmed at that time.
  • Aeroflex's (ARXX) board declared a revised proposal from Veritas Capital to acquire the company for $14.50 a share superior to an offer by General Atlantic and Francisco Partners. The provider of automated testing services and microelectronics had agreed to be acquired by General Atlantic for $13.50 a share, or about $1 billion. Aeroflex said it's prepared to terminate previous pact, in which case General Atlantic would be entitled to a $15 million fee plus up to $7.5 million in expenses from the company. General Atlantic has up to three days following receipt of notice of the superior proposal to revise its offer.
  • Alcan (AL) recommended that shareholders reject Alcoa's (AA) $27.41 billion takeover bid, calling the offer for the Canadian aluminum maker inadequate.
  • Analog Devices (ADI) reported second-quarter net earnings of $125.4 million, or 37 cents a share, down 14% from $145.8 million, or 39 cents a share, during the year-ago period. Pro forma per-share earnings were 40 cents vs. 41 cents. The chipmaker said revenue rose to $669.1 million from $643.9 million.
  • Bristow's (BRS) fiscal fourth-quarter net income grew 54% to $27.4 million, or 91 cents a share, from a year-earlier profit of $17.8 million, or 75 cents a share. The Houston oilfield helicopter transport company's revenue for the quarter ended March 31 grew 14% to $228.7 million from $201.3 million.
  • Crescent Real Estate Equities (CEI) said it has agreed to be acquired by funds managed by Morgan Stanley Real Estate (MS) for $22.80 per share in a deal valued at roughly $6.5 billion, including debt. The offer represents a 5.5% premium over Crescent's closing share price on Tuesday. The deal includes the assumption and refinancing of roughly $3.1 billion of Crescent's debt and redemption of its preferred shares. Crescent expects the deal to close by the end of the third quarter.
  • Dycom Industries (DY) reported third-quarter net earnings of $12.4 million, or 31 cents a share. During the year-ago period, the provider of specialty contracting services posted a net loss of $6.5 million, or 16 cents a share. Excluding certain gains and charges, earnings were $11.1 million, or 27 cents a share, compared with $8.3 million, or 21 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue rose to $291.6 million from $251.1 million. For the fourth quarter, Dycom said it expects per-share earnings from continuing operations of 29 cents to 34 cents on revenue from continuing operations of $295 million to $315 million.
  • Foot Locker (FL) and Nike (NKE) said they will launch a network of specialty basketball stores.
  • Fremont General (FMT) agreed to sell its commercial real-estate lending business to iStar Financial as part of a $1.9 billion deal that will also result in new corporate management for the beleaguered lender.
  • Halliburton's (HAL) CEO said he would welcome a Mideast investor taking a "major" equity stake and may dually list its shares in Dubai.
  • Intel (INTC) and STMicro (STM) will split off their flash-memory-chip units into a new firm. Designed to consolidate development, the move underscores the pressures afflicting firms in that business.
  • Media General's (MEG) April revenue increased 7.7% to $93.3 million from a year earlier. Excluding the revenues of four NBC television stations acquired in June, total revenue fell 2.6%. The company said the publishing division revenues decreased 6.5%, reflecting lower classified advertising revenue. Media General's interactive media division's revenue rose 33.7%, the company said.
  • Men's Wearhouse (MW) fiscal first-quarter net income climbed 42% to $40.9 million, or 75 cents a share, from $28.9 million, or 53 cents a share, a year earlier. The April acquisition of After Hours Formalwear contributed 8 cents to the period's earnings, after acquisition-funding costs. Total sales for the Houston retailer of men's apparel grew 14% to $496.1 million from $434.6 million, as U.S. same-store sales declined 1.3%. Canadian same-store sales increased 5.8%.
  • MGM Mirage (MGM) officials face the challenge of navigating any clash between Kerkorian's interests and shareholders of the casino company now in play.
  • Omnicom (OMC) said its board approved a 2-for-1 stock split and boosted its quarterly dividend 20% to 15 cents. Omnicom, a New York marketing and corporate-communications company, recently had 165.4 million shares outstanding. The company will distribute the stock split June 6 to shareholders of record on the same date. The increased dividend will be paid July 5 to shareholders of record on June 6..
  • Pep Boys (PBY) reported first-quarter earnings from continuing operations before cumulative effect of change in accounting principle of $3.22 million, or 6 cents a share. During the same period a year ago, the company posted a net loss from continuing operations of $867,000, or 2 cents a share. The Philadelphia-based automotive aftermarket retail and service chain posted revenue of $546 million vs. $556.6 million.
  • Principal Financial (PFG) said it has authorized a $250 million stock buyback plan. The new share repurchase program is in addition to the $250 million stock buyback approved in November 2006, under which $100 million worth of stock has been repurchased.
  • Sallie Mae's (SLM) CEO, Thomas Fitzpatrick, quit under pressure from J.C. Flowers, the private-equity firm taking the student lender private for $25 billion.
  • Viacom (VIA) is forming a joint-venture entertainment company in India with local player TV18 Group, in an effort to boost its presence in one of the world's fastest-growing media markets.

Market Update:

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng -0.22%, Nikkei +0.14%, Sensex -0.63%, Taiwan +0.40% and Shanghai +1.54%.
  • A quick look across the pond finds the CAC +0.39%, DAX +0.80%, FTSE +0.40%, ATX +1.01%, Swiss Mkt. +0.68% and Stockholm +1.05%.
  • Crude oil is trading to +0.19 to 65.70 while gold is -0.1 to 659.8 this morning.
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