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Stocks To Watch: American Eagle, Bed Bath & Beyond, Murphy Oil, New York Times, Oracle


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


Stocks to watch for Thursday, April 12:

  • Advanced Magnetics (AMAG) said its Phase III studies on ferumoxytol, an intravenous iron replacement, met their primary and secondary endpoints. The company said the two studies demonstrate a significant improvement in hemoglobin levels for non-dialysis dependent patients using the drug, compared with oral iron supplements.
  • Teen-wear apparel retailer American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) said hot sales on spring things powered a 20% jump in same-store sales in March. That was well ahead of the 11.1% projection reached by analysts reporting to Thomson Financial. Total sales surged 35% to $271.5 million during the five-week period. As a result, American Eagle raised its first-quarter profit forecast from 34 cents a share to 35 cents a share. At Thomson Financial, analysts had pegged the average forecast at 33 cents a share.
  • Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $205.8 million, or 72 cents a share, up 4% from $197.9 million, or 67 cents a share, during the year-ago period. The retailer posted revenue of $1.99 billion vs. $1.69 billion. The current results included a non-recurring charge of about $30 million, or 7 cents a share, related to Internal Revenue Code Section 409A, the company said. Excluding the charge, per-share earnings were 79 cents vs. 67 cents.
  • Christopher & Banks' (CBK) fiscal fourth-quarter net income plunged to $1.93 million, or 5 cents a share, from $6.68 million, or 18 cents a share, a year earlier. The Minneapolis-based women's retailer said net sales for the 14-week quarter ended March 3 increased 5.8% to $134 million, compared with $126.6 million in the 13-week period a year ago. Christopher & Banks expects a first-quarter net income range of 30 cents to 31 cents a share.
  • DaimlerChrysler (DCX) said German bank WestLB is temporarily holding 14% of the auto maker's equity for "trading purposes."
  • Health Care REIT (HCN) said it plans to offer 5 million shares of its common stock.
  • Hot Topic (HOTT) said March sales at stores open at least one year rose 3.4% from last year. The teen retailer said total sales for the five-week period ended March 31 rose 7% to $63.6 million.
  • Limited Brands (LTD) named Stuart Burgdoerfer as chief financial officer, effective immediately.
  • Men's Wearhouse (MW) expects its fiscal first-quarter earnings on the lower end of its previously stated range of 63 cents to 67 cents a share. A Thomson Financial survey of analysts, on average, expects earnings of 66 cents a share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates usually exclude items. The Houston off-price specialty retailer cited softening U.S. sales for the change in forecast.
  • Murphy Oil (MUR) expects first-quarter income of 60 cents to 65 cents a share. On average, analysts polled by The oil and gas producer projects production and sales volume of 94,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. Murphy Oil expects first-quarter corporate charges of about $13 million.
  • Nestle (NSRGY) will acquire the Gerber baby-food unit from Novartis (NVS), according to published reports.
  • New York Times (NYT) said it expects to record charges in the range of $152 million to $169 million related to the closure of its Edison, N.J. printing plant. The newspaper publisher also will cut 250 jobs in the Edison closure and the consolidation of its print operations to its plant in the New York City borough of Queens, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • NovaStar Financial (NFI) said it has initiated a formal process to explore strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the company. The mortgage lender said it has retained Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. to act as an adviser. NovaStar also said it has received a commitment for an additional financing facility of up to $100 million.
  • Oracle (ORCL) received regulatory clearances required to buy Hyperion Solutions (HYSL). In March, the software company launched a $3.3 billion, or $52 a share, offer for Hyperion, which specializes in business-intelligence software.
  • Ruby Tuesday (RI) earned $28.7 million, or 49 cents a share in its fiscal third quarter, down from $30.2 million, or 50 cents, in the year-ago period, the company said Wednesday. Excluding charges, the company would have earned 57 cents, a 14% increase. Total sales were up almost 12% to $377.9 million but sales at restaurants open at least a year fell 1%. Ruby Tuesday also said that effective with the start of trading on Thursday, its ticker symbol will change to RT.
  • SAIC (SAI) said fourth-quarter earnings fell to $84 million, or 20 cents a share, from a year-earlier profit of $154 million, or 44 cents a share, when there were fewer shares outstanding.
  • Thomas Properties Group (TPGI) said it plans to offer 7 million shares of its common stock in a public offering.
  • Zumiez (ZUMZ) said its March same-store sales increased 17% for the five weeks ended April 7. Total sales for the sports-related apparel retailer rose 53.7% to $28.3 million from $18.4 million in the five-week period ended April 1, 2006.

Market Update

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng -0.34%, Nikkei -0.73%, Taiwan -0.11% and Shanghai +1.02%.
  • A quick check towards Europe finds the CAC -0.52%, DAX -0.45%, FTSE -0.30%, Swiss Mkt. -0.53% and Stockholm -0.79%.
  • Gold is trading up +1.0 to 682.7 and crude oil is also higher +0.73 to 62.74 this morning.
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