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Stocks To Watch: Apple, eBay, Ford, Microsoft, Sharper Image


Today's big stories and some stockswith potential to move...


Stocks to watch for Monday, June 18:

  • Apple (AAPL) could face new security challenges following the release last week of its Safari Web browser for Windows.
  • Biodel (BIOD) said its second-quarter net loss widened to $9.67 million, or $1.79 a share, from $1.34 million, or 25 cents a share, a year earlier. The biopharmaceutical company reported no revenue for the quarter ended March 31, but said its research and development costs increased to $3.82 million from $907,000 a year ago. Shares of Biodel were changing hands at $18.69 in after-hours trading, after closing the regular session at $18.46, up 99 cents, or 5.7%.
  • Chicago Mercantile Holdings (CME) said it's not in discussions with Nymex Holdings (NMX) regarding a merger or acquisition. "We remain focused on completing our merger with CBOT and look forward to our shareholder vote on July 9," CME said in a statement. Earlier today, media reports said Nymex was in talks to sell itself to NYSE Euronext, Deutsche Boerse or CME.
  • eBay (EBAY) expects to keep ads off Google's (GOOG) search engine for about a week, as it tests how effectively Google ads drive visitors to its auction site and produce sales. eBay said it stopped buying ads that appear next to Google's search results in the U.S. as part of a "test." The auctioneer said it has run similar tests in the past; however, the decision was seen as being tied to a spat over a high-profile Google marketing event. "We usually let these things run the length of a normal auction cycle," or about seven days, said Matt Ackley, eBay vice president of Internet marketing. "We will continue to evaluate the situation, and when we feel we have enough data will go back," Ackley said at eBay's annual confab for buyers and sellers, eBay Live, in Boston.
  • Fluor (FLR) said it has named Ilesanmi Adesida and Peter Barker as directors, expanding the board to 12 members from 10. Adesida is dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois and Barker is retired from Goldman Sachs, where he served as the partner heading up investment banking activities on the West Coast. Fluor is a provider of services to the fields of engineering, procurement, construction, operations, maintenance and project management.
  • Ford (F) expects a sale of Jaguar and Land Rover to take a month or more, as it seeks financial buyers for the U.K. brands.
  • GE (GE) and Pearson (PSO) are in talks about a joint bid for Dow Jones (DJ) that would allow the Bancroft family to keep a minority interest in the publisher of The Wall Street Journal, in a potential alternative to Newscorp's (NWS) $5 billion offer.
  • Gerber Scientific (GRB) is expected to post earnings of 23 cents a share for the fourth quarter.
  • Gilead Sciences (GILD) said the Food and Drug Administration has approved Letairis, an endothelin receptor antagonist, in 5 mg and 10 mg tables. Letairis is indicated for the once-daily treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension in patients with WHO functional class II or III symptoms, to improve exercise capacity and delay clinical worsening. The biopharmaceutical company said that Letairis will be available in the United States next week. Because of the risks of liver injury and birth defects, the product will be available through the Letairis Education and Access Program, a restricted distribution program designed to help patients learn about the risks of the drug, the company said.
  • Microsoft (MSFT) plans to take a small strategic stake in Sichuan Changhong Electric and will provide the Chinese television maker with software for entertainment products linking TVs and the Internet.
  • Odyssey Re Holdings (ORH) board authorized the buyback of up to $200 million in company shares over the next two years. The specialty insurance company has about 72.3 million shares outstanding. The shares closed Friday at $43.45, up 23 cents.
  • Sharper Image (SHRP) is expected to post a loss of 88 cents a share for the first quarter.
  • Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) has asked a state court in Michigan to dismiss the lawsuit filed by fired advertising executive Julie Roehm, contending that she lives in Arkansas.

Market Update:

  • Asian trading closed mostly higher with the Hang Seng +2.69%, Nikkei +0.99%, Sensex -0.58%, Taiwan +1.45% and Shanghai +2.92%.
  • A quick check across the pond finds the CAC -0.11%, DAX +0.44%, FTSE -0.02%, ATX -0.09%, Swiss Mkt. +0.12% and Stockholm +0.33%.
  • Crude oil is trading down -0.20 to 67.80 and gold is higher +2.8 to 661.5 this morning.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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