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Stocks To Watch: Circuit City, Citigroup, eBay, Intel, RF Micro

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

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Stocks to watch for Thursday, March 29:

  • Altera (ALTR) late Wednesday authorized a quarterly dividend of 4 cents a share. The San Jose semiconductor company said the dividend is payable June 1 to shareholders of record May 10. Altera also approved a 50 million share increase in the number of shares authorized for repurchase. Combined with the remaining shares previously authorized, Altera now has 57 million shares authorized for repurchase.
  • AngioDynamics (ANGO) intends to act to set aside and may appeal a jury verdict found in favor of Diomed (DIO). Diomed filed a lawsuit against the medical device company in 2004 for infringing on a patent via AngioDynamics' VenaCure product line for varicose veins. AngioDynamics plans to file a motion to overturn the verdict within 10 days, and, if denied, intends to file an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., the company said.
  • Atmel's (ATML) board approved changes to the company's corporate governance, including the implementation of a majority voting standard for uncontested director elections.
  • Celestica (CLS) said it has named Paul Nicoletti as interim chief financial officer. Nicoletti, who currently serves as senior vice president of finance, succeeds Anthony Puppi, who announced his intention to retire in January.
  • Circuit City (CC) unveiled a broad restructuring, which includes replacing 3,400 employees with new hires paid at lower rates. The retailer is also mulling a sale of its Canadian stores.
  • Citigroup (C) said it plans to roughly double its China branch network this year, expanding its presence in a key growth market as it considers cutting jobs elsewhere.
  • A new version of the Skype Internet telephony feature from eBay (EBAY), released Wednesday, is the first to incorporate eBay's PayPal online payment feature. For now, the new version of Skype allows users to send each other money using a PayPal account, which is part of a broader plan by eBay to incorporate PayPal into more of Skype's features. "We hope that adding this capability will result in a better, more enriching experience for both Skype and PayPal users, which is crucial to extending our leadership positions in the communications and payments markets," an eBay spokesman said.
  • Globalstar (GSAT) swung to a fourth-quarter loss of $730,000, or 1 cent a share, from a net income of $7.99 million, or 13 cents a share, a year earlier, as revenue fell 19%. The satellite voice and data service company's revenue dropped to $29.2 million from $36.3 million in the year-ago period. On average, analysts expected revenue of $35.1 million, according to a poll by Thomson Financial.
  • Brazilian discount airline Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes (GOL) has agreed to acquire the total share capital of VRG Linhas Aereas S.A., which operates Varig airlines, from controlling shareholders VarigLog and Volo. The total consideration offered for the VRG shares is about $275 million, consisting of $98 million in cash and about 6.1 million non-voting shares issued by GOL. With the assumption of $45 million of debentures, the total value of the deal is about $320 million, Gol said. Under the deal, Gol and VRG will be managed as independent companies, the company said.
  • Intel (INTC) is planning the most fundamental design change in its microprocessors since introducing its Pentium Pro chips in 1996.
  • Jones Apparel (JNY) named Wesley Card as chief financial officer, effective immediately, succeeding Thimio Sotos, who has resigned to pursue other opportunities. Card will continue to serve as chief operating officer, the New York-based company said.
  • Multi-Fineline Electronix (MFLX) said its second-quarter sales were hurt by less-than-anticipated sales to its largest customers, and won't grow sequentially. The company said net income for the quarter ending March 31 could decline as well.
  • Resources Connection's (RECN) fiscal third-quarter net income fell 5.1% to $13.1 million, or 26 cents a share, from $13.8 million, or 27 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding stock-based compensation, the professional services firm posted earnings of $17.1 million, or 33 cents a share. Revenue for the quarter ended Feb. 28 rose 17% to $187.5 million from $160.3 million.
  • RF Micro Devices (RFMD) said it still backs its previous outlook of fourth-quarter earnings of 11 cents to 12 cents a share on revenue of $250 million to $260 million, assuming the Jazz Semiconductor transaction closes in March. The company also confirmed it still sees pro forma per-share earnings of 10 cents to 11 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial are currently forecasting earnings of 11 cents a share on revenue of $256 million for the quarter. RF Micro, a mobile communications technology company, also said it currently sees a first-quarter slowdown in demand from a top-tier customer that will impact operating results. For the first quarter, the company said it sees a "sequential decrease" in revenue, margins and per-share earnings. Analysts are looking for per-share earnings of 11 cents on revenue of $264 million for the quarter.
  • Smart Modular Technologies (SMOD) fiscal second-quarter net income surged to $14 million, or 22 cents a share, from $783,000, or a penny a share, a year earlier. The memory modules manufacturer said net sales for the quarter ended Feb. 28 rose 46% to $239.1 million from $163.7 million a year ago. Smart Modular expects third-quarter net sales of $235 million to $245 million. The company predicts earnings to be about the same as the second quarter.
  • Sonic (SONC) reported second-quarter net earnings of $6.22 million, or 9 cents a share, down from $12.9 million, or 14 cents a share, during the year-ago period. Earnings before special items were 16 cents a share. The drive-in restaurant chain posted revenue of $161.5 million, up 8% from $148.9 million, last year. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had forecast second-quarter earnings of 14 cents a share on revenue of $161 million. System-wide same-store sales rose 2% during the current quarter. Additionally, Sonic said it expects third-quarter earnings of 30 cents to 31 cents a share on revenue growth of between 10% and 12%.
  • Sunoco Logistics Partners (SXL) said it has named Neal Murphy as chief financial officer, effective in early April.
  • Switch and Data Facilities (SDXC) reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $1.66 million, compared with a net loss of $3.83 million in the same period last year. Net loss attributable to common shareholders came in at $5.14 million, or 5 cents a share, compared with $24 million, or 22 cents a share, last year. Switch and Data, which provides Internet exchange and colocation services, said revenue in the three months ended Dec. 31 rose 9.5% to $29.3 million from $26.7 million. For full-year 2007, the company expects revenue of $127 million and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $40 million.
  • Tower Automotive plans to sell its assets to Cerberus in a deal valued at $1 billion, highlighting private equity's growing role in the U.S. auto industry.
  • URS (URS) said its EG&G division has been awarded one of 16 contracts to provide logistics support services to Defense Department agencies under the Field & Installation Readiness Support Team program. The maximum value of all 16 contracts under the program is $9 billion over the initial five-year base period, URS said. Task orders under the contract will be issued over the base period, followed by three, five-year option periods.


Market Update

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +1.37%, Nikkei +0.05%, Shanghai +0.77% and Taiwan +0.77%.
  • Looking over at Europe, we find the CAC +0.74%, DAX +0.70%, FTSE +0.52%, ATX +0.33%, Swiss Mkt. +0.66% and Stockholm +0.49%.
  • Gold is trading -1.5 to 665.3 and crude oil is +0.05 to 64.13 this morning.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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