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Stocks To Watch: Clear Channel, Microsoft, Sears Holdings, Safeway, Yahoo


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


Stocks to watch for Monday, May 7:

  • Shareholders lobbied Clear Channel (CCU) to persuade its board to reconsider a sweetened, $19.35 billion privatization proposal that had previously been turned down.
  • Dominion Homes (DHOM) reported a first-quarter net loss of $11.5 million, or $1.41 a share, compared with a net loss of $5.11 million, or 63 cents a share, during the year-ago period. The home builder said the primary factors that increased the net loss on a year-over-year basis were an additional $3.1 million of interest expense and a $2.9 million tax benefit recorded in 2006 with no corresponding benefit in 2007. Revenue came in at $33.8 million, from the delivery of 165 homes, vs. $61.8 million, from the delivery of 315 homes, a year ago. Gross margin fell to 8% from 14.7%. Non-cash charges related to land impairments reduced gross profit by 4.4% during the quarter, the company noted.
  • Exxon Mobil's (XOM) effort to maintain efficiency in Russia underscores a power shift in the energy world resulting from the increased dependence of Western oil companies on less politically predictable countries.
  • Microsoft (MSFT) and Yahoo (YHOO) held recent talks about a possible deal, amid unrest at Microsoft about how to compete with Google (GOOG) in the booming online-ad market.
  • Northwest Air Chief Steenland is due $26.6 million in restricted stock and options once the carrier exits bankruptcy court. Pilots assailed the plan.
  • Quovadx (QVDX) said it swung to a first-quarter net profit of $12.8 million, or 30 cents a share, from a year-ago net loss of $7.77 million, or 19 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The results from the first quarter of 2007 included a gain of $15.4 million, or 37 cents a share, from the sale of CareScience. Excluding certain items, the company posted a first-quarter loss of $2.2 million, or 6 cents a share, compared with a loss of $8.4 million, or 20 cents a share, last year. The software company said revenue in the three months ended March 31 fell 18% to $13.5 million from $16.4 million.
  • Sears Holdings (SHLD) Chairman Edward Lampert told shareholders that after spending a lot of years "in the weeds," the parent of Sears Roebuck and Kmart stores is now in a cash-flush position to put more meaningful investments in stores and operations, as well as to target acquisitions.
  • Safeway (SWY) Steven Burd, chief executive officer, said Friday in an interview with the Chicago Tribune that the company's Dominick's chain of grocery stores is not for sale. He said the company has no major expansion plans for it, nor is he interested in divesting it. Burd said Safeway plans to open two stores in the next two years and renovate existing ones.
  • Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (SSPI) said it has agreed to issue 5.13 million shares of common stock at a price of $6.25 each, raising $32 million. The company said it plans to use the proceeds from the offering to fund clinical trials and for general corporate purposes.
  • Tenaris S.A. (TS) reported first-quarter net earnings of $509.4 million, or 41 cents a share, up 15% from $441.7 million, or 36 cents a share, during the year-ago period. The Luxembourg-based maker of steel pipe products posted revenue of $2.43 billion vs. $1.62 billion.
  • Usec (USU) reported first-quarter net earnings of $39.3 million, or 45 cents a share, up 14% from $34.6 million, or 40 cents a share, during the year-ago period. The global energy company posted revenue of $465 million vs. $361.3 million. Additionally, Usec said it has updated its 2007 earnings outlook to reflect the impact of about $16.9 million of non-cash reversals of prior income tax-related accruals. The company said it now expects net income to be about breakeven for the full year, based on the reversals. Usec also reiterated its previous forecast for 2007 cash flow from operations of negative $65 million to $75 million. The company confirmed its previous outlook for revenue, cost of sales, gross profit margin, and American Centrifuge spending.

Market Update

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +0.27%, Taiwan +0.61%, Nikkei +1.58% and Sensex -0.39%.
  • A quick look across the pond finds the CAC +0.02%, DAX +0.12%, FTSE +1.01%, ATX -0.14%, Swiss Mkt. -0.07% and Stockholm +0.23%.
  • Crude oil is -0.16 to 61.77 and gold is +1.7 to 691.3 this morning.
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