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Stocks to Watch: Novastar Financial, Toll Brothers, US Steel


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


Stocks to watch for Thursday, December 6, 2007:

  • Alcon's (ACL) board has approved a new share buyback program of up to $1.1 bln over the next year. ACL plans to purchase three shares from majority shareholder Nestle SA for every share bought by the company in the market.
  • Altera (ALTR) kept its guidance in line, saying it expects 4Q sales to range from flat to down 4% from 3Q. Weaker consumer sales and strong communications market sales are reasons given to this.
  • Bristol-Meyers Squibb (BMY) said it plans to cut 4,300 jobs, or 10% of its workforce by 2010 to save about $1.5 bln and boost productivity. Early in the next decade, the company's antiblood-clotting drug Plavix will lose US patent exclusivity.
  • Corning (GLW) said its board approved a 5-year $795 mln capital expenditure plan to be the primary TFT-grade Gen 10 substrate supplier to Sharp Corp by finding and acquiring a Japanese glass manufacturing plant. This ups the company's 2008 expenditures from $1.5 billion to $1.7 billion.
  • Novastar Financial (NFI) received an additional waiver from Wachovia (WB) until December 7. On November 30, WB agreed not to enforce a covenant requiring NovaStar to maintain a certain adjusted tangible net worth, which the company breached on September 30.
  • The Children's Place (PLCE) filed its delayed annual and quarterly reports with the SEC. The reports filed were the annual report for the fiscal year ended February 3, 2007, and quarterly reports for the second quarter ended July 29, 2006, the third quarter ended Oct. 28, 2006, the first quarter ended May 5, 2007, and the second quarter ended Aug. 4, 2007, reported Marketwatch.
  • Toll Brothers (TOL) reported a fiscal 4Q loss of $81.8 mln, or 52 cents a share, down sharply from a gain of $173.8 mln, or $1,07 a share a year ago. The figures included pretax write-downs of $314.9 million, or $1.22 a share. Revenue at the homebuilder fell 35% to $1.17 billion from $1.81 billion.
  • US Steel (X) priced $500 million of 7% senior notes due 2018 at 99.087% of the principal and will use this to repay a one-year term loan, valued at $400 mln, it financed when acquiring Stelco Inc.

Market Recap

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +0.73%, Nikkei +1.70%, Sensex +0.29%, Taiwan +0.20% and Shanghai -0.15%.
  • Looking towards European bourses, we find the CAC +0.57%, DAX +0.62%, FTSE +0.55%, ATX +0.60%, Swiss Mkt. +0.08% and Stockholm +1.10%.
  • Crude oil is trading down -1.55 to 85.93 and gold is dipping -12.5 to 791.2 this morning.

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