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Stocks to Watch: Amazon, Broadcom, Countrywide, Merrill Lynch, Wal-Mart


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


Stocks to watch for Wednesday, October 24, 2007:

  • Aflac (AFL) said its third-quarter profit rose to $420 mln, or 85 cents a share, from $367 mln, or 73 cents a share in the year-ago period. Revenue increased to $3.86 bln from $3.67 bln a year ago. Analysts had estimated quarterly profit of 82 cents a share on revenue of $3.84 bln. The company sees fourth-quarter operating earnings of 75 cents to 79 cents a share.
  • Altera's (ALTR) net income for the 3Q dropped 14% to $69 mln, or 20 cents a share, from $87.4 mln, or 24 cents a share, a year earlier. Net sales fell 7.5% to $315.8 mln from $341.2 mln. The company said that sales to communications and industrial markets fell below expectations.
  • (AMZN) beat expectations by reporting a jump in earnings of more than 300% for the third quarter. The company posted earnings of $80 mln, or 19 cents a share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30 compared to earnings of $19 mln, or 5 cents a share, for the same period last year. Revenue grew 41% to $3.26 bln from $2.31 bln last year. Revenue grew 41% to $3.26 bln from $2.31 bln last year.
  • Broadcom (BRCM) reported net income of $27.8 mln on revenue of $949.96 mln, compared to the year ago period with profit of $110.2 mln on revenue of $902.6 mln. The company reported earnings per share of 5 cents compared to 19 cents in the same quarter last year. Analysts were expecting earnings of 27 cents a share on revenue of $929.7 mln for the quarter.
  • Centex (CTX) reported a fiscal second-quarter loss of $643.8 mln, or $5.26 a share, from a profit of $137 mln, or $1.11 a share, in the year-ago period. The homebuilder's revenue fell to $2.22 bln from $2.82 bln a year ago. Analysts had estimated a quarterly loss of $3.26 a share on revenue of $2.08 billion.
  • Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) reported third-quarter net profit of $18.5 mln, or 26 cents a share, compared with $18.1 mln, or 23 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue was reported at $375.5 mln in the quarter, up from $325.3 mln a year ago. Analysts had forecast 27 cents a share on revenue of $383 mln.
  • Countrywide Financial (CFC) said it will aid some of its borrowers facing foreclosure to refinance and keep their homes. Many of these customers were given novel, untested loan products. The company will help refinance up to $16 bln in loans for those experiencing an ARM rest through 2008.
  • Juniper Networks (JNPR) reported its fiscal third-quarter profit jumped 46% from the year-ago period, citing strong sales of its high-performance networking equipment. The company said net income for the period ended Sept. 30 rose to $85.1 million, or 15 cents a share, from $58.3 million, or 10 cents a share in the period a year earlier. Net revenue rose to $735 million from $573.6 million. Excluding certain items, Juniper said earnings for the period were 22 cents a share.
  • Merrill Lynch (MER) said it would take write-downs of $7.9 bln. Earlier in October, the firm said it expected to write-down $5 bln for the quarter ended in September. MER's write-downs are the largest of any Wall Street firm, accredited to its collateralized debt obligations and domestic subprime mortgages.
  • Nabors Industries (NBR) reported third-quarter net income fell to $218 million, or 76 cents a share, from $292.8 million, or $1.02 a share, a year ago. Revenue fell to $1.23 billion from $1.26 billion a year ago. Analysts had expected the company to post earnings of 73 cents a share on $1.16 billion in sales.
  • Novellus Systems' (NVLS) third-quarter net income dropped to $49.7 million, or 41 cents a share, from $70 million, or 57 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. The company's revenue fell to $393.3 million from $444 million. Analysts had expected earnings of 38 cents on revenue of $390 million.
  • UAL Corp. (UAUA) is in the process of selling an airline maintenance and repair services unit, but warned the process could end abruptly due to future talks with unionized mechanics.
  • Wal-Mart (WMT) expects its capital spending for 2008 to decrease from $15.7 bln in 2007, to about $15 bln. After 2008, the company expects capital spending of between $14-15 bln.

Market Update

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng -0.15%, Nikkei -0.56%, Sensex +0.11%, Taiwan -0.63% and Shanghai +1.21%.
  • A spot check of Europe finds the CAC -0.18%, DAX -0.11%, FSTE +0.07%, ATX +0.70%, Swiss Mkt. -0.19% and Stockholm -0.04%.
  • Crude oil is trading lower -0.29 to 84.98 and gold is also down -5.0 to 758.1 this morning.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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