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Stocks To Watch: Dow Jones, Google, Microsoft, Orbitz Worldwide, Viacom

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

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Stocks to watch for Friday, July 20:

  • Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) reported it swung to a second-quarter loss, stung by lower prices for its computer chips and acquisition-related charges.
  • Capital One Financial (COF) reported second-quarter net income rose 36% to $750.4 million, or $1.89 a share, vs. $552.6 million, or $1.78 a share, during the year-ago period. The credit card company said it expects full-year 2007 earnings to be towards the lower end of a previously announced range of $7 to $7.40 a share.
  • Dell (DELL) signed a deal with a European retailer, just one month after entering retail stores in the U.S., as the computer maker expands beyond its direct-selling model.
  • Dow Jones (DJ) Director Dieter von Holtzbrinck resigned in protest over the board's decision to recommend acceptance of New Corp.'s (NWS) $5 bln takeover offer. In a letter to the board filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, von Holtzbrinck said "although I'm convinced that News Corp.'s offer is very generous in financial terms, I'm very worried that Dow Jones unique journalistic values will long-term strongly suffer after the proposed sale." He added that, "listening to our lawyers, one has to vote for a deal which is in the best (financial) interest for the shareholders, except if one can prove that such [a] deal bears risks for the company that overcompensate the financial profits."
  • Gilead Sciences (GILD) said its profit in the second quarter surged more than 53%, driven by a 60% rise in sales of its HIV treatments.
  • Google (GOOG) saw earnings jump more than 28% in the second quarter, though the bottom line came in slightly beneath Wall Street's expectations for the Internet search giant.
  • KB Home's (KBH) CEO says he does not expect overall US home market to bottom out until end of '08 and prices will not increase until well into '09.
  • Microsoft (MSFT) said its fiscal fourth-quarter profit rose only slightly compared to the same period a year earlier, due to a previously-announced $1 billion charge resulting from its Xbox video game business.
  • Monster Worldwide's (MNST) founder was personally involved in backdating stock-option grants, a shareholder complaint alleges.
  • Orbitz Worldwide (OWW) said it has priced its IPO of 34 mln shares of common stock at $15 a share, for an overall value of $510 mln. The online travel company also said it has granted underwriters a 30-day option to buy up to 5.1 mln additional shares at the public offering price.
  • Pfizer (PFE) said the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use of the European Medicines Agency has recommended marketing authorization for Celsentri for use in patients infected with CCR5-Tropic HIV-1. The positive opinion will be reviewed by the European Commission, and Pfizer said it expects a final decision in the coming months. Pfizer recently received an approvable letter for the drug from the Food and Drug Administration.
  • Potash (POT) said it will open a new mine in New Brunswick, and expand its milling operations there. The $1.6 bln project is expected to boost potash production by 2M tons a year by 2011. The company said expanding its operations in eastern Canada will make it easier to supply potash, used in fertilizers, to Brazil and other fast-growing markets.
  • SanDisk (SNDK) reported that second-quarter profit fell 71% from a year ago, but the NAND flash memory developer saw its shares rise 5% in after-hours trading Thursday as company officials said gross margins should improve through the rest of the year.
  • Seagate Technology (STX) reported a huge rise in fourth-quarter profit that was helped by increased disk-drive sales and a large tax break.
  • Southwest Airlines (LUV) said that founder Herb Kelleher, 76, would step down from his position as executive chairman at the airline carrier's 2008 annual meeting, leaving a post he has held since 1978. The discount airline also said president Colleen Barrett, 62, would continue in that role for another year. She's held that position since 2001. Southwest CEO Gary Kelly, 52, will remain in his current role, with his contract expiring 2011.
  • Viacom's (VIA) Chairman Summer Redstone decided he no longer wants his daughter as heir apparent, raising questions about the media empire's future.
  • Virgin Mobile USA filed with U.S. regulators on Friday to raise up to $506 million in an initial public offering of Class A common stock, up from its earlier filing to raise up to $100 million. The company has applied for a NYSE listing under the symbol "VM."
  • Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) is looking for acquisitions in China according to vice president Cullen, and is particularly interested in small local chains and very sophisticated operators.

Market Update:

  • Asian trading closed in the green with the Hang Seng +1.20%, Nikkei +0.23%, Sensex +0.10%, Taiwan +1.19% and Shanghai +3.73%.
  • A quick check across the pond finds the CAC -0.43%, DAX -0.19%, FTSE +0.15%, ATX -0.09%, Swiss Mkt. -0.03% and Stockholm -0.29%.
  • Crude oil is trading higher +0.08 to 76.00 and gold is lower -0.9 to 677.2 this morning.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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