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Stocks To Watch: Alcoa, Chevron, Citigroup, ConocoPhillips, Western Refining

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

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Stocks to watch for Wednesday, April 11:

  • Alcoa's (AA) earnings climbed 8.9%, helped by sales gains in the global construction and aerospace markets and by higher prices for aluminum.
  • Amgen (AMGN) named Robert Bradway executive vice president and chief financial officer, replacing Richard Nanula.
  • Anadarko Petroleum (APC) said it has closed its new, previously announced, $8 billion credit facility.
  • Angelica (AGL) reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $3.27 million, or 35 cents a share, up from $543,000, or 6 cents a share, during the year-ago period. Earnings from continuing operations were $3.3 million, or 35 cents a share, compared with $1.1 million, or 12 cents a share, last year. The St. Louis-based provider of healthcare linen management services posted revenue from continuing operations of $105.7 million vs. $105.1 million.
  • Array BioPharma (ARRY) said it has filed an investigational new drug application for its drug candidate ARRY-797, a selective, orally active p38 inhibitor, with the Food and Drug Administration. The biopharmaceutical company said it plans to proceed with a Phase I clinical trial of ARRY-797 in cancer patients this year.
  • Benihana (BNHN) said fourth-quarter same-restaurant sales, or sales at restaurants open at least one year, rose 5.8%, while overall restaurant sales increased 17.2%.
  • Boston Communications (BCGI) said it plans to reduce its workforce by 93 people, or about 21%, and record a related one-time charge of about $2 million in the fiscal second quarter. Most of the employees impacted by the cuts are located at the headquarters in Bedford, Mass. and work across all areas of the organization, the company said.
  • Buca (BUCA) said that comparable sales at its Buca di Beppo restaurants rose 0.2% in the first quarter compared with the year-ago period.
  • Chevron (CVX) issued its interim update for the first quarter. The oil and gas giant said it expects results in the quarter to benefit from a $700 million gain on the sale of its interest in manufacturing assets in the Netherlands, partially offset by the effects of lower refinery utilization. In the first two months of the first quarter, Chevron said combined U.S. liquids and natural gas production fell 3% when compared with the fourth quarter, while combined international liquids and natural gas production fell 1%. U.S. crude realizations decreased by $2.65 per barrel, international liquids realizations declined $2.72 per barrel, while U.S. natural gas realizations increased 26 cents per thousand cubic feet. Chevron also said U.S. refinery crude-input volumes declined 20% in the first two months of the first quarter due to downtime at the company's Richmond, Calif., refinery.
  • Chico's FAS (CHS) said that comparable sales at company-owned stores rose 5.2% in March compared with the year-ago period. Total sales for the five-week period ended April 7 increased 22% to $191.2 million from $156.8 million reported last year, the retailer said.
  • Citigroup (C) announced its first major overhaul, saying it will save $2.1 billion in 2007 by eliminating 17,000 positions.
  • ConocoPhillips (COP) became the first major U.S.-based oil company to call for a federal cap on global-warming emissions.
  • Electro Scientific Industries (ESIO) reported fiscal third-quarter net earnings of $5.6 million, or 19 cents a share, down 46% from $10.4 million, or 35 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The maker of laser systems said revenue in the three months ended March 3 rose to $59.4 million from $55.9 million. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were expecting a per-share profit of 20 cents on revenue of $62 million. The company expects fourth-quarter shipments and revenue in the range of $60 million to $70 million.
  • Fred's (FRED) said same-store sales for March rose 4.4%, compared with a 1% increase a year ago. The company said sales for the five-week period ended April 7 rose 9% to $172.2 million from $158.2 million a year ago. Fred's March performance was helped by customer traffic and the ongoing traction from marketing and operational initiatives, the company said. The company expects April sales to be hurt by the earlier Easter holiday. In March, Fred's opened two new stores and closed four stores. In 2007, the company plans to open 35 to 40 new stores, 15 to 25 new pharmacies, and expects to close certain stores.
  • Genaera (GENR) said it plans to cut its work force by 30% over the next three months as it realigns to focus on the development of obesity treatment trodusquemine. Separately, the company promoted its Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications Leanne M. Kelly to chief financial officer, replacing John A. Skolas, effective May 1.
  • Metro One Telecommunications (INFO) independent auditors included a going concern statement in its report on Metro's financial statements for the year ended Dec. 31.
  • SoftBrands (SBN) expects to report a fiscal second-quarter operating loss wider than the approximate $1 million loss initially anticipated. The supplier of enterprise-application software also expects to report revenue for the period ended March 31 of $20.5 million to $21 million, below its guidance of $24 million, hurt by its hospitality business.
  • Tecumseh Products (TECUA) reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $63.8 million, or $3.45 a share, compared with a net loss of $51.9 million, or $2.81 a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue in the three months ended Dec. 31 rose to $437.3 million from $417.8 million.
  • TriZetto (TZIX) expects its first-quarter results to be towards the top end of its February guidance. The company previously forecast earnings of 8 cents to 12 cents a share on revenue of $100 million to $110 million.
  • Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX) said results from a Phase II study showed its retigabine compound effectively reduced monthly seizure rates among epilepsy patients. The pharmaceutical company said Tuesday that the 396-patient study showed a growing reduction in seizure rates at escalating doses compared with a placebo. The results were published in the journal Neurology.
  • Western Refining's (WNR) $1.4 billion acquisition of Giant Industries (GI) has been challenged by the Federal Trade Commission. The agency approved a complaint challenging the merger, citing reduced competition for the bulk supply of light petroleum products to northern New Mexico.
  • William Lyon Homes (WLSM) new home orders in the first quarter ended March 31 grew 3% to 669 units from 647 a year earlier. The home builder, which operates in California, Arizona and Nevada, said its average number of sales locations for the recent quarter increased 13% to 54 locations from 48 a year earlier, while new orders per location fell to 12.4 from 13.5 a year earlier.


Market Update

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +0.50%, Nikkei +0.03%, Taiwan +0.45% and Shanghai +1.48%.
  • A quick check towards Europe finds the CAC +0.37%, DAX +0.36%, FTSE +0.29%, ATX +0.71%, Swiss Mkt. +0.19% and Stockholm +0.37%.
  • Gold is trading up +1.8 to 683.1 and crude oil is also higher +0.16 to 62.05 this morning.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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