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Stocks To Watch: Amazon, Hewlett-Packard, Mittal, Nortel, Walgreen's


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


Stocks to watch for Thursday, May 17:

  • Advance Auto Parts (AAP) reported first-quarter net earnings of $76.1 million, or 71 cents a share, up 3% from $74.1 million, or 68 cents a share, during the year-ago period. The retailer of automotive aftermarket parts and accessories posted revenue of $1.47 billion vs. $1.39 billion. Comparable-store sales increased 1.1% in the quarter.
  • Amazon (AMZN) plans a music-download service that will sell songs without copy protections that can be played on any device.
  • Bausch & Lomb (BOL) agreed to be bought by Warburg Pincus for $3.6 billion but said it seeks a better deal, pushing shares up 9.8%.
  • A Clear Channel (CCU) deal is gaining momentum, with some big shareholders lining up behind a sweetened private-equity offer of $19.4 billion.
  • DaimlerChrysler's (DCX) CEO said the auto sector will continue to consolidate but Daimler likely won't be involved in big deals. Cerberus' deal for Chrysler depends on the buyout firm's ability to raise $62 billion in debt in the weeks ahead.
  • Google (GOOG) changed its search-results pages to include more information on images, video, news and more.
  • Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ) sales climbed 13%, but net fell 7% due to a year-earlier tax benefit. The computer maker raised its full-year forecast.
  • Long Drug Stores (LDG) fiscal first-quarter net income fell 17% to $13 million, or 34 cents a share, from $15.8 million, or 41 cents a share, a year earlier. Earnings from continuing operations were $16 million, or 42 cents a share, including charges totaling $5.5 million, or 14 cents a share, for the planned disposition of eight California stores. The drug store chain's revenue for the quarter ended April 26 increased 5.6% to $1.3 billion from $1.23 billion a year ago.
  • Merrill Lynch (MER) CEO Stan O'Neal named Greg Fleming and Ahmass Fakahany co-presidents, putting the spotlight on Fleming's long-term succession prospects.
  • Micron Technology (MU) said it plans to offer $1.1 billion of unsecured convertible senior notes due June 1, 2014. The maker of flash memory products said it also plans to grant the underwriters an over-allotment option to purchase up to $165 million of additional notes.
  • Mittal (MT) executives said they are not planning to build steel plants to keep up with rivals in the U.S. The steel giant reported a 40% rise in first-quarter net profit, powered by rising steel prices.
  • Napster (NAPS) said its net loss deepened during its fourth fiscal quarter despite a rise in sales. For the period ended March 31, the digital music company reported a net loss of $8.5 million, or 20 cents a share, compared to a loss of $4.4 million, or 10 cents a share, for the same period last year. Revenue grew more than 8% to $29.1 million.
  • Nortel Networks (NT) said the Ontario Securities Commission issued a notice of hearing to consider a settlement agreement that has been reached by the staff of the OSC. The communications networking company said the settlement agreement relates to certain allegations made by OSC staff regarding certain accounting practices that a Nortel independent inquiry found to have happened during 2000, the last two quarters of 2002 and the first two quarters of 2003, which led to restatements of Nortel's financial results. The terms of the settlement agreement are confidential.
  • PetSmart (PETM) reported first-quarter net earnings of $106.7 million, or 78 cents a share, up from $41.8 million, or 30 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding a net benefit of roughly $64 million, or 47 cents a share, from the company's sale of a portion of its shares in MMI Holdings Inc., PetSmart earned 34 cents a share in the first quarter. Revenue at the pet products provider rose to $1.11 billion from $1.01 billion in the same quarter last year, while sales at stores open at least a year rose 4% versus a 3.7% rise in the first quarter of 2006.
  • Sun Microsystems (SUNW) said it has authorized the buyback of up to $3 billion of its common shares.
  • Walgreen's (WAG) said it plans to acquire Take Care Health Systems, an operator of 50 health-care clinics in Chicago, Kansas City, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Pittsburgh. Walgreen's expects the transaction to close next week. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
  • Warnaco Group (WRNC) said its board approved a new 3-million-share repurchase program, which is in addition to the 978,915 shares remaining under a previously disclosed 2005 share repurchase program. The New York apparel company said the combined shares remaining under the 2005 program and the new share repurchase authorization represent 8.6% of its common stock outstanding. Shares of the company closed trading Wednesday at $31.42, up 17 cents, or 0.5%.

Market Update

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +0.27%, Taiwan +0.62%, Shanghai +1.56%, Nikkei -0.17% and Sensex +1.22%.
  • A quick look across the pond finds the CAC +0.30%, DAX +0.55% and FTSE +0.31%.
  • Crude oil is +0.41 to 62.96 and gold is +1.10 to 662.6 this morning.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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