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Stocks To Watch: Amgen, Bed Bath & Beyond, Citigroup, Merck, Nike

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

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Stocks to watch for Friday, March 23:

  • 3Com (COMS) reported a third-quarter net loss of $4.78 million, or a penny a share, compared with a net loss of $32.8 million, or 8 cents a share, during the year-ago period. The provider of voice and data networking solutions posted revenue of $323.4 million vs. $177.6 million. Additionally, 3Com said it has received final approval from the Chinese government for its proposed $882 million acquisition of Huawei Technologies' 49% stake in the Huawei-3Com Ltd. joint venture. The deal, which is expected to close by March 29, will give 3Com full ownership of H3C, the company said.
  • A. Schulman (SHLM) cut its fiscal 2007 earnings outlook on continued weakness in Europe and North America during the fiscal second quarter ended Feb. 28. The supplier of plastic compounds and resin said it now expects net income for the fiscal year ending Aug. 31 to be $25 million to $30 million, below prior guidance to meet or exceed fiscal 2006 net income of $32.7 million. A. Schulman said the new estimate includes $7 million of expected savings from North American restructuring and about $2 million of costs associated with restructurings disclosed in February, as well as in November.
  • Amgen (AMGN) said that it has discontinued a clinical trial evaluating the addition of its drug Vectibix to a treatment regiment of chemotherapy and the drug Avastin in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, after the combination was found to hinder patient survival.
  • Avery Dennison (AVY) signed a definite agreement to buy label and tag company Paxar (PXR) for $30.50 a share, or about $1.34 billion.
  • Activision Publishing Inc., a subsidiary of Activision (ATVI), said it has signed a multi-year agreement granting the company exclusive worldwide rights to develop and distribute video games on all platforms based on Live Nation's (LYV) Monster Jam series. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The first game under the agreement is expected to be available at retail stores this holiday season, Activision said
  • Artes Medical's (ARTE) fourth-quarter loss widened to $7.75 million from $5.38 million a year ago. On a per-share basis, the loss was $2.32, compared with $4.44 a year earlier, the San Diego medical technology company said.
  • Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) acquired the privately held retailer buybuy BABY for about $67 million, net of cash acquired, and repayment of debt of about $19 million. The retail chain said buybuy BABY operates eight stores in New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia. Bed Bath & Beyond said the acquisition allows the company to provide merchandise to expectant parents and their friends, who are part of its current customer base.
  • Blackstone filed for an IPO to raise about $4 billion. The private-equity firm disclosed it made over $6 billion in profit in the past five years and built a $79 billion portfolio.
  • Capital City Bank (CCBG) said it has approved an additional buyback plan of up to 1 million shares.
  • A faction within Citigroup (C) is pushing its CEO to make a bid for Dutch banking giant ABN Amro, now in exclusive takeover talks with Barclays (BCS). Any move by Citigroup would be unsolicited and could even be perceived as hostile.
  • Cisco Systems (CSCO) named former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell to its board. Powell, 43, is currently a senior advisor for Providence Equity Partners and chairman of the MK Powell Group. He served as FCC chairman from 2001 until 2005. Cisco's board now has 12 members.
  • G-III Apparel (GIII) swung to a fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $518,000, or 3 cents a share, from a loss of $2.75 million, or 23 cents a share, a year earlier. The New York apparel manufacturer said net sales for the quarter ended Jan. 31 rose 43% to $98.8 million from $69.1 million a year ago. On average, analysts polled by Thomson Financial predicted fourth-quarter earnings of 2 cents a share, and revenue of $99.4 million. G-III expects a first-quarter loss of $7.7 million to $8.4 million, or 51 cents to 56 cents a share, and net sales of $28 million.
  • IHS (IHS) said an existing shareholder has begun a secondary offering of 3.75 million shares. The provider of technical information, tools and services said it won't receive any proceeds from the offering.
  • Jabil Circuit (JBL) reported fiscal second-quarter revenue of $2.9 billion, a 27% increase over the $2.3 billion it reported a year ago. The electronics contract manufacturer didn't give any earnings results due to ongoing company audit committee and accountant investigations into Jabil's historical financial statements. For the third quarter, Jabil estimates it will report a loss of 8 cents a share to a profit of 4 cents a share, on revenue in a range of $2.9 billion to $3 billion.
  • Standard & Poor's said it plans to add Kraft Foods (KFT) to the S&P 500 index on March 30, replacing Sabre Holdings (TSG).
  • Merck (MRK) said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adopted the unanimous recommendation of its advisory committee on immunization practices for the use of Gardasil in females ages 11 through 26. The research-driven pharmaceutical company said the drug is indicated to help prevent cervical cancer, precancerous and low-grade cervical lesions, and other diseases caused by human papillomavirus. The guidelines state that routine vaccination with Gardasil is recommended for females ages 13 to 26 who haven't previously been vaccinated.
  • Morgan Stanley (MS) reorganized its trading business a day after reporting a 70% jump in profit on the back of hefty gains in that division.
  • New York Times (NYT) said it's increasing its regular quarterly dividend 31%, to 23 cents a share from 17.5 cents. The dividend is payable June 13 to shareholders of record as of June 1.
  • Nike (NKE) reported a nearly 8% jump in quarterly profit, helped by strength in Europe and Asia and favorable currency exchange, but said margins current quarter and year would be flat or slightly down.
  • Pozen (POZN) said its amended response to an approvable letter for its migraine treatment Trexima has been accepted for review by the Food and Drug Administration. Pozen said the FDA has also notified the company that it expects a Class II review, which could result in a new decision date of Aug. 1, 2007. Pending FDA approval, the product could be available in the second half of 2007, the company said.


Market Update

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +0.01%, Nikkei +0.35%, Sensex -0.17%, Taiwan +0.46% and Shanghai +0.10%.
  • Looking over at Europe, we find the CAC -0.06%, DAX -0.12%, FTSE +0.28%, ATX -0.20%, Swiss Mkt. +0.08% and Stockholm -0.26%.
  • Gold is trading -2.00 to 662.2 and crude oil is -0.31 to 61.38 this morning.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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