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Stocks To Watch: Capital One, Gap, Merril, Research in Motion, Saks

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

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Stocks to watch for Friday, April 20:

  • Advanced Micro (AMD) swung to a bigger-than-expected $611 million loss amid signs that the worst of a price war with Intel (INTC) may be ending.
  • Aeroflex (ARXX) received a conditional acquisition proposal from Veritas Capital for a leveraged recapitalization in which stockholders would receive a cash dividend of $14 and retain 21.2% of the fully diluted common equity.
  • American Express (AXP) reported a 21% increase in first-quarter profit late Thursday as customers spent more and ran up bigger credit card debts.
  • Armor Holdings (AH) reported first-quarter net earnings of $36 million, or 94 cents a share, down from $41.4 million, or $1.11 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding a long-term performance-based compensation charge, profit came in at $50 million, or $1.31 a share, the company said.
  • Capital One Financial's (COF) first-quarter profit fell 24% to $675.1 million, or $1.62 a share, from $883.3 million, or $2.86 a share, hampered by a 23% decline in its national-lending segment and higher expenses. The bank and credit card holding company said Thursday that net interest revenue climbed to $1.62 billion from $1.21 billion. Noninterest income declined to $1.81 billion from $1.86 billion.
  • Cerner (CERN) said first-quarter net income grew nearly 37% to $27.6 million, or 33 cents a share, from a year-earlier profit of $20.1 million, or 25 cents a share. The health-care information technology company's revenue increased 14% to $365.9 million, from $321.2 million a year earlier. Excluding stock compensation, income grew to $29.9 million, or 36 cents a share, up from year-earlier income of $23 million, or 28 cents a share.
  • Cytec Industries (CYT) reported first-quarter net earnings of $51.7 million, or $1.05 a share, up from $38.1 million, or 79 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding special items, profit for the 2007 first quarter came in at $37.3 million, or 76 cents a share. The chemical company said revenue in the three months ended March 31 rose to $863.6 million from $819.4 million in the same period last year.
  • First Data (FDC) said first-quarter net income came in at $175.2 million, or 23 cents a share, down 59% from a year earlier, when the payment processing company made $430.1 million, or 55 cents a share. Consolidated revenue rose 12% to $1.8 billion, the company added. A year ago, First Data's net income was buoyed by profit from its Western Union money transfer business. The company has since spun the unit off.
  • Gap (GPS) picked veteran Gary Muto, fresh from the failure of the company's Forth & Towne concept, to lead the company's most important segment, Gap adult.
  • Hub Group's (HUBG) first-quarter net income grew 25% to $11.4 million, or 29 cents a share, from a year-earlier profit of $9.13 million, or 22 cents a share. The 2006 period including earnings from discontinued operations of $657,000, or 1 cent a share. The transportation management company's revenue increased 10% to $393.3 million, from $356.8 million a year earlier.
  • Intuit (INTU) reaffirmed its financial outlook for the third and fourth quarters and fiscal 2007, and provided final season-to-date unit sales for its fiscal year 2007 consumer tax products and services. Through April 18, total TurboTax federal unit sales increased 5% over the same period last year, the company said.
  • Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) said first-quarter profit rose 65% to $23.8 million, or 62 cents a share, from $14.5 million, or 38 cents a share, a year earlier, boosted by recurring revenue growth and sales of its da Vinci Surgical System. The medical-equipment maker said Thursday that revenue rose 48% to $114.2 million from $77.3 million.
  • Knoll (KNL) said first-quarter net income climbed 45% to $14.8 million, or 30 cents a share, from $10.3 million, or 19 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding items, earnings were 30 cents a share, up from 20 cents a year ago. Sales increased 14% to $247.9 million from $218.1 million a year ago.
  • Leggett & Platt (LEG) reported first-quarter net income of $75.7 million, or 41 cents a share, up from $62.1 million, or 33 cents, a year ago. The results include a 7-cent per-share gain from discontinued foam cushioning operations. Less the one-time gain, earnings were 33 cents a share. Revenue for the quarter ended March 31 fell 2.2% to $1.29 billion from $1.32 billion.
  • Merrill's (MER) net more than quadrupled to $2.16 billion as gains in investment banking offset a slump in mortgage revenue. Bank of America's (BAC) net rose 5.4%, even as profits shrank in its three main units.
  • Mohawk Industries (MHK) first-quarter net income rose 14% to $90.4 million, or $1.32 a share, from $79.1 million, or $1.16 a share, a year earlier. The manufacturing company said net sales fell 3.2% to $1.86 billion from $1.93 billion a year ago.
  • Molex (MOLX) said profit for the first three months of the year increased 7% to $65.3 million, or 35 cents a share, from $61 million, or 33 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. The electrical components maker said revenues for its fiscal third quarter increased 12% to $807 million.
  • Research in Motion (RIMM) began explaining the cause of its massive BlackBerry outage, but the company's initial silence angered some customers and fueled speculation about what was behind the failure.
  • Saks (SKS) said Chairman R. Brad Martin will retire from the board as of May 4. The New York retailer's board named Chief Executive Stephen L. Sadove as chairman.
  • Siemens AG (SI) said Heinrich von Pierer, chairman of the German technology and industrial conglomerate's supervisory board, will step down April 25 in the wake of a multinational probe into possible bribery.
  • UnionBanCal's (UB) said first-quarter net income fell about 14% to $149.6 million, or $1.07 a share, from $172.9 million, or $1.18 a share, a year earlier. The bank holding company said Thursday revenue decreased 4.5% to $653.2 million from $684.3 million a year ago, as net interest income fell 7.66% to $430.6 million.
  • Zions (ZION) said first-quarter earnings rose to $153.3 million, or $1.36 a share, from $137.6 million, or $1.28 a share, a year earlier. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected earnings of $1.42 a share. Zions said net interest income for the quarter reached $457.1 million, up from $422.8 million in the prior year.


Market Update

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +1.31%, Nikkei +0.46%, Sensex +2.67%, Taiwan +0.69% and Shanghai +3.92%.
  • A quick look towards Europe shows the CAC +1.52%, DAX +1.42%, FTSE +0.83%, ATX +1.24%, Swiss Mkt. +1.22% and Stockholm +0.84%.
  • Gold is trading +5.3 to 693.6 while crude oil is +1.02 to 62.85 this morning.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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