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Stocks To Watch: Amazon, AT&T, Merrill Lynch, Research in Motion, Toyota

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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 25:

  • Aflac (AFL) reported an 11% increase in first-quarter net income late Tuesday, but the life and health insurer also said that sales in Japan fell 10.6%, a bigger decline than some analysts were expecting. Net income came in at $416 million, or 84 cents a share, vs. $375 million, or 74 cents a share, a year ago, Aflac reported. Operating earnings, which exclude net realized investment gains and losses and other items, were $407 million, or 82 cents a share.
  • Amazon (AMZN) said net more than doubled on a 32% jump in sales, helped by slower spending growth and a lower tax rate.
  • Apple's (AAPL) former CFO asserted that Jobs misled him about board actions on stock-options grants. Fred Anderson said he told the CEO that Apple might have to take a charge if it backdated grants.
  • AT&T (T) nearly doubled profit and revenue, fueled by growth in its wireless business and cost savings from acquisitions.
  • Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) said that first-quarter income fell to $18.4 million, or 24 cents a share, compared with last year's profit of $19.3 million, or 24 cents a share. Sales climbed to $356.6 million, falling just shy of the $359 million estimated by analysts.
  • C.H. Robinson Worldwide (CHRW) posted first-quarter net income of $73.0 million, or 42 cents a share, up from $58.1 million, or 33 cents a share, a year earlier. Sales rose to $1.62 billion from $1.50 billion a year ago with the trucking side benefiting from higher margins and increased volumes.
  • Corning (GLW) said quarterly net income jumped 27% amid better-than-expected results from its telecommunications business.
  • Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) signed an agreement to acquire Arteis, a privately held operator of Web-based graphic design firm Logoworks. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
  • Merrill Lynch (MER) said it will acquire a $2.9 billion stake in Resona in a deal that marks the largest investment ever by a foreign company in a Japanese bank.
  • Northwest Airlines (NWACQ) acquired Mesaba Airlines, which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
  • Research in Motion (RIMM) and Verizon Wireless (VZ) plan to launch a BlackBerry smart phone that allows customers to roam on overseas networks.
  • TravelZoo (TZOO) reported first-quarter net earnings of $4.06 million, or 25 cents a share, down slightly from $4.12 million, or 24 cents a share, during the year-ago period. The New York-based Internet media company posted revenue for the three months ended March 31 of $19.7 million vs. $16.9 million.
  • Toyota (TM) surpassed General Motors (GM) in quarterly world-wide sales for the first time, underscoring a seismic shift in the auto industry.
  • Vonage (VG) won a court ruling letting it continue to sign up new customers while it appeals a decision that it violated Verizon patents.
  • XL Capital's (XL) first-quarter net income rose 20% to $562.5 million, or $3.06 a share , from $468.6 million, or $2.56 a share, a year earlier. The insurance and reinsurance company's revenue rose 0.4% to $2.48 billion from $2.47 billion.
  • Zoran (ZRAN) swung to a first-quarter loss of $5.88 million, or 12 cents a share, from net income of $20.7 million, or 43 cents a share, a year earlier, as revenue fell 29%. The digital entertainment and imaging components company's revenue dropped to $101.7 million from $142.2 million in the year-ago period.


Market Update

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng -0.18%, Nikkei -1.24%, Sensex +0.57%, Taiwan -0.75% and Shanghai +0.63%.
  • A quick look towards Europe shows the CAC +0.88%, DAX +0.58%, FTSE +0.45%, ATX +0.40%, Swiss Mkt. -0.05% and Stockholm -0.01%.
  • Gold is trading +2.0 to 689.7 while crude oil is +0.38 to 64.96 this morning.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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