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Stocks to Watch: General Motors, Morgan Stanley, Nokia, Palm, Wal-Mart


Thursday's top stories and stocks with potential to move...


Stocks to watch for Thursday, September 20, 2007:

  • Apogee Enterprises (APOG) yesterday reported a 56% jump in second-quarter net earnings to $11.5 million, or 39 cents a share. Sales rose 20% to $217.7 million. The company raised its forecast for 2008 earnings from continuing operations to $1.43 to $1.53 a share due to stronger year-to-date performance of its architectural and picture framing businesses.
  • CKE Restaurants' (CKR) second-quarter net income fell to $9.43 million, or 15 cents a share, from $14.2 million, or 20 cents a share, a year earlier. The number of average outstanding shares decreased to 65.3 million from 72.8 million. Pro forma earnings were 18 cents a share. Sales fell to $363.1 million from $364.4 million. Estimates called for earnings of 20 cents a share on revenue of $364 million. Combined same-store sales rose 2.3% in August.
  • Comtech Telecommunications (CMTL: News, Quote) reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of $17.1 million, or 63 cents a share, up from $11.8 million, or 45 cents a share. Revenue rose to $117.8 million from $100.2 million. Analysts had expected a profit of 44 cents a share on $114 million in sales.
  • General Motors' (GM) talks with UAW President Ron Gettelfinger has come to a halt regarding a multi-billion dollar trust fund to manage retiree health care benefits. Citing a several billion-dollar funding dispute with GM, Mr. Gettelfinger on Tuesday told the company he wanted to begin discussions on a new four-year contract that didn't involve this fund, which has been an important goal for GM in these talks.
  • Morgan Stanley (MS) said net income for the quarter ended Aug. 31 fell 17%, but excluding results from its Discover credit-card unit, which was spun off to shareholders June 30, income from continuing operations declined 7% to $1.47 billion, or $1.38 a share. Morgan Stanley's latest results were off 38% from the second quarter, when the firm earned $2.36 billion, or $2.24 a share.
  • Nokia (NOK) introduced its new 6301 model phone, featuring unlicensed mobile access (UMA) technology and will beign shipping in Europe in the fourth quarter at 230 euros ($322) before subsidies and taxes. UMA handset users can make calls over the Internet when they are in range of an unlicensed wireless network, such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
  • Palm Inc. (PALM) said it expects to report first-quarter results in a range of breakeven to a loss of a penny a share on revenue of $359 million to $361 million. The company forecast earnings of 8 cents to 9 cents a share, excluding stock-based compensation expenses and other items. Analysts expected a profit of 8 cents a share on revenue of $360 million, excluding items.
  • Topps (TOPP) said its stockholders have approved an acquisition agreement for the trading cards company by the Tornante Co. and Madison Dearborn Partners, based on preliminary results of a vote at the company's special meeting. Under terms of the deal, which is expected to close in October, Topps stockholders will receive $9.75 a share in cash.
  • Wal-Mart (WMT) will introduce its own line of Great Value CFL (compact-flourescent) light bulbs, to priced at $7.58 for a pack of four, less than other name-brand bulbs. Wal-Mart has promoted CFLs for the past two years as a cornerstone of its green strategy to cut its waste and offer environmentally friendly products.

Market Update

  • Asian trading closed in the green with the Hang Seng +0.57%, Nikkei +0.20%, Sensex +0.15%, Taiwan +0.63% and Shanghai +1.39%.
  • A glance over at Europe has a reddish hue with the CAC -0.94%, DAX -0.43%, FTSE -0.90%, ATX -0.62%, Swiss Mkt. -0.71% and Stockholm -1.59%.
  • Crude oil is higher +0.20 to 82.13 and gold is also up +7.6 to 737.1 this morning.
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