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Stocks to Watch: Apple, General Electric, Merck, Morgan Stanley, Sun Microsystems


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


Stocks to watch for Friday, April 13:

  • Apple (AAPL) said yesterday it would delay by four months the release of Leopard, the next upgrade to its Macintosh computer operating system, due to having to allocate software and engineering resources in order to ready its upcoming iPhone for its scheduled June debut.
  • CBS Corp. (CBS) canceled Don Imus' morning radio show, a reaction to the advertiser pullouts and calls for his firing that followed his racially disparaging remarks about the Rutgers University women's basketball team.
  • Dow Chemical (DOW) fired two officials after learning they had been in secret talks with investors about buying the company and taking it private. Dow got a tip about the talks from someone at J.P. Morgan, singling out senior adviser J. Pedro Reinhard, a director and former chief financial officer, and Romeo Kreinberg, an executive vice president
  • Gannett (GCI) said Thursday that it has agreed to sell four daily newspapers to GateHouse Media (GHS) for $410 million.
  • General Electric (GE) is expected to report first-quarter earnings of 44 cents a share, according to a survey of analysts by Thomson Financial.
  • JetBlue Airways (JBLU) said it has named Jim Hnat as executive vice president of corporate affairs, and has realigned its leadership reporting structure. The corporate affairs team will report to the Office of the Chief Executive Officer, David Neeleman, the airline's founder and CEO, and President Dave Barger, the company said.
  • Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (KKD) reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $24.4 million, or 39 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $37.7 million, or 61 cents a share, during the year-ago period. The company posted revenue of $112.2 million vs. $122.2 million. The results include a $16 million charge related to the previously announced settlement of the class-action litigation and partial settlement of the shareholder derivative action. Also during the quarter, Krispy Kreme recorded a $2.1 million provision for doubtful accounts and a $1.3 million charge related to the proposed settlement of certain wage and hour complaints lodged against the company. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had forecast fourth-quarter earnings of a penny. System-wide sales for the quarter fell 6.4% compared with a year ago, the company said.
  • Lam Research (LRCX) reported fiscal third-quarter net earnings of $164.7 million, or $1.15 a share, up 91% from $86.3 million, or 60 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The chip-equipment maker said revenue in the three months ended March 25 rose to $650.3 million from $437.4 million in the comparable period last year. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were expecting, on average, a per-share profit of $1.06 on revenue of $644 million.
  • Merck (MRK) was disappointed after the Food and Drug Administration's Arthritis Advisory Committee voted against recommending approval of Arcoxia, the company's osteoarthritis treatment. Arcoxia has been under review by the FDA since December 2003 and Merck said the drug is currently available in 63 countries. The panel voted 20-to-1 against approval of the drug amid concerns it raises the risks of heart attacks and strokes. The FDA usually follows the advice of its panels but is not required to. The FDA is expected to make a final decision on Arcoxia by the end of April.
  • Morgan Stanley (MS) has agreed to buy 13 hotels in Japan from All Nippon Airways for about $2.37 billion. The hotels to be sold include the ANA InterContinental Tokyo and resort hotels on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa.
  • Sun Microsystems (SUNW) said it has agreed to acquire SavaJe Technologies' intellectual property assets. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Sun said the transaction is not material to its earnings per share. SavaJe makes an operating system for mobile devices.
  • Toyota Motor (TM) boosted its market share in Europe to 6.2% in the first quarter 2007 from 5.5% in the same period last year, as it outperformed an overall decline in new car registrations, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, or ACEA, said Friday.

Market Update

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng -0.19%, Nikkei -1.01%, Sensex +2.06%, Taiwan -0.90% and Shanghai -0.36%.
  • A quick check across the pond finds a field of green with the CAC +0.22%, DAX +0.31%, FTSE +0.27%, ATX +0.54%, Swiss Mkt. +0.53% and Stockholm +0.13%.
  • Gold is trading +3.7 to 683.5 and crude oil is also up +0.04 to 63.87 this morning.
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