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Stocks to Watch: Google, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Tenet, Tribune

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

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Stocks to watch for Tuesday April 3:

  • Del Monte Foods (DLM) said it has lost an arbitration decision that will lower its fiscal 2007 earnings per share from continuing operations by $0.02 a share. Del Monte said in a prepared release that it was found to have overcharged logistics provider Pacer Global Logistics for services between May 2005 and April 2006. Del Monte said that in addition to impacting earnings, the award will result in also having a $6 mln negative impact on cash flow for its fiscal 2007 ended this month. Del Monte is expected to report fourth quarter 2007 earnings on June 14. Del Monte said in the statement that the impact on earnings and cash flow were not previously accounted for when it announced guidance in March of earnings of between $0.50 and $0.53 cents a share for the year, and between $150 mln and $170 mln in cash flow.
  • Google (GOOG) will sell television ads that will appear through EchoStar (DISH), expanding its push into the U.S. market for TV advertising.
  • GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) said its once-daily, extended-release ropinirole medication improves symptoms in patients with Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's disease is a chronic disease that impairs the body's ability to move and balance. The pharmaceutical company said the medicine, when added to patients' existing levodopa therapy, reduced 'off' time by more than two hours a day, allowing patients to continue daily activities for a longer period. GlaxoSmithKline said 'off time' is the return of Parkinson's symptoms as a patient's medication wears off. The study was a multi-center, double-blind, placebo controlled study in which 202 patients received ropinirole and 191 patients received a placebo.
  • Lawson Software (LWSN) said it needs more time to complete its third-quarter financial results, and delay reporting results to next Monday instead of Wednesday. The company said earnings would be lower than previously expected because of a restructuring charge of $11 mln to $13.5 mln. Excluding this charge, earnings are expected to exceed previous guidance ranging from a loss of a penny a share to breakeven, or per-share income of 2 cents to 3 cents before items. Lawson expects to report third-quarter revenue of $190 mln to $192 mln, excluding $1.8 mln of deferred maintenance and service revenue.
  • Merix Corp. (MERX) reported third-quarter net earnings of $2.09 mln, or $0.10 a share, up from $809,000, or $0.04 a share, during the year-ago period. The maker of printed circuit boards posted revenue of $100.3 mln vs. $92.8 mln. Additionally, Merix said it has completed the previously disclosed sale of two non-strategic single-sided facilities in China. The company also said its search for a new chief executive continues, and it's optimistic about having a new CEO by the first quarter of fiscal 2008. Merix also said it expects fourth-quarter net income to be about breakeven and revenue to range between $93 mln and $97 mln.
  • Pfizer (PFE) agreed to pay $34.7 mln in fines for inducements offered to a pharmacy-benefits manager and for the illegal promotion of a human-growth hormone.
  • Parker Hannifin Corp. (PH) acquired Rectus AG, a German maker of disconnect couplings for pneumatic, hydraulic, medical and chemical processing applications. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Rectus' 2006 revenue was $115 mln. Cleveland-based Parker Hannifin said the acquisition will boost earnings in the first full year.
  • Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group Inc. (SWRG) reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $3.46 million, or 40 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $397,000, or $0.04 a share, during the year-ago period. The New York-based restaurant chain posted revenue of $36.2 mln vs. $33.7 mln. Excluding impairment charges among other items, earnings were $2.3 mln, or $0.27 a share, compared with $667,000, or $0.07 a share, last year. Same-restaurant sales rose 3.9%, the company said.
  • Tenet Healthcare (THC) said it has agreed to pay a $10 mln civil penalty to the Securities and Exchange Commission, ending the agency's Medicare fraud investigation of the Dallas-based hospital operator. Tenet last spring agreed to pay the Justice Department $725 mln and waive $175 mln in Medicare payments to settle allegations Tenet purposefully inflated charges for inpatient and outpatient care to make them appear more costly than they actually were, subsequently obtaining outlier payments from Medicare it wasn't entitled to receive. Outlier payments are supplemental reimbursements made to hospitals and other healthcare providers for cases where the cost of care is unusually high. The settlement unveiled Monday also concludes a separate SEC probe into Tenet's accounting treatment of managed-care contractual reserves taken at three hospitals in California before 2003.
  • Zell's plan for Tribune (TRB) suggests he has some confidence in the beleaguered newspaper business. He's told people he sees promise in the company's Internet assets, but the deal leaves many questions about Tribune's future.
  • Warburg Pincus and Marshall & Ilsley (MI) are near a plan to separate M&I's payment-processing unit in what could be a $4 billion-plus deal. KKR's planned acquisition of First Data is an example of a deal that may have been leaked to investors.


Market Update

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +0.97%, Nikkei +1.27%, Shanghai +1.36%, Taiwan +0.61%, and Sensex +1.19%
  • Looking over at Europe, we find the CAC +0.54%, DAX +0.89%, FTSE +0.58%, ATX +0.15%, Swiss Mkt. +0.86% and Stockholm +0.79%.
  • Gold is trading -3.7 to 667.8 and crude oil is -1.06 to 64.88 this morning.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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