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Thursday, October 7, 2010

hot stocks to watch with earning reporting today .....

Marriott ($35.20, -$2.67, -7.04%) swung to a fiscal third-quarter profit on improved revenue following a prior-year $502 million write-down at its timeshare business as room rates continued to rise. Revenue was slightly short of what Wall Street expected and the hotelier gave a weak fourth-quarter forecast.



PepsiCo's ($65.56, -$2.55, -3.74%) fiscal third-quarter earnings rose 12% as the beverage and food giant got a boost from the acquisition of its two largest independent bottlers earlier this year and reported broad growth across its beverage and snack businesses. But the company also trimmed the top end of its 2010 earnings-growth forecast.



Immucor's ($16.62, -$3.82, -18.69%) fiscal first-quarter profit rose 0.4% on a slight increase in sales, but volume and margins fell, and orders for instruments were below expectations. Revenue for the maker of blood-transfusion-testing systems fell short of Wall Street's expectations and the company cut its fiscal-year forecast after raising it twice earlier this year.



InterMune Inc. (ITMN, $14.28, +$0.83, +6.17%) said it has sold worldwide development and commercialization rights to danoprevir, a potential treatment for hepatitis C, to Hoffman-La Roche Inc. for $175 million in cash.



Back-to-school buying finally arrived, aided by plenty of promotions, with most retailers' posting September sales that were ahead of expectations and raising hopes for the holidays. Teen retailers, most vulnerable to the fall season, were producing strong numbers, suggesting that some pent-up buying demand was released. Among the retailers rising were American Eagle Outfitters Inc. (AEO, $16.02, +$1.01, +6.73%), Buckle Inc. (BKE, $28.90, +$2.20, +8.24%), Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF, $42.25, +$3.66, +9.48%) and Zumiez Inc. (ZUMZ, $24.32, +$1.52, +6.67%). Also rising were Limited Brands Inc. (LTD, $28.39, +$0.80, +2.90%) and Ross Stores Inc. (ROST, $55.17, +$0.85, +1.56%).



Bebe Stores Inc. (BEBE, $6.31, -$0.68, -9.73%) disclosed fiscal first-quarter same-store sales fell 4.7% after a 26% plunge a year earlier. And in a worrisome sign, per-square-foot inventories jumped 12.5% from a year earlier for the women's retailer. That could mean that deep discounts could be necessary to clear merchandise if the holidays aren't as strong as some anticipate.



BMC Software Inc. (BMC, $42.43, +$2.78, +7.01%) was getting a boost from speculation the company may be exploring a sale. If true, it wouldn't surprise Stifel Nicolaus' Tim Klasell, who said that in last several years most software companies have probably been in sale discussions on and off. "It wouldn't surprise me that BMC would entertain a fair offer," Klasell said, adding that maturing companies in this environment often find it better to be part of a larger organization. BMC couldn't be immediately reached for comment.





Other Stocks In Focus:

AAR Corp. (AIR, $21.10, +$1.50, +7.65%) was raised to outperform from neutral by Wedbush, which said the aircraft parts maker has seen increased contract awards and a recent acquisition of an aircraft modifications firm.



Affymax Inc. (AFFY, $5.91, -$0.57, -8.80%) said an arbitration panel decided that it and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ, $63.02, -$0.19, -0.30%) are co-owners of some patents related to erythropoietin receptor agonists, which are used to treat anemia. Affymax, a drug-development company, has argued that the patent claims aren't valid and that they don't cover Hematide, which it has been developing in as a longer-lasting alternative to Amgen Inc.'s (AMGN, $55.91, +$0.08, +0.14%) Epogen and Aranesp.



Alvarion Ltd (ALVR, $2.23, +$0.34, +17.99%) soared after the broadband wireless provider signed a contract with Barrett Xplore Inc., a Canadian rural broadband internet company, to build the first national 4G network in Canada.



Cowen and Co. upgraded its stock-investment rating on AnnTaylor Stores Corp. (ANN, $21.19, +$0.61, +2.96%) to neutral from underperform based on a fair valuation. The firm cited the retailer's real estate optimization efforts, lean expense structure, improved inventory flow and evolving assortment as long-term margin recovery opportunities.



Taiwan flat-panel maker AU Optronics Corp. (AUO, $9.86, -$0.57, -5.42%) launched an $800 million five-year convertible bond offer to fund overseas equipment purchases, according to a term sheet.



Avis Budget Group Inc. (CAR, $10.84, -$0.44, -3.86%), the third-largest U.S. car-rental company, said it expects to report third-quarter revenue and adjusted earnings that fall just barely short of analysts' average estimates though "vehicle rental demand has begun to strengthen."



Comtech Telecommunications Corp. (CMTL, $29.39, +$1.07, +3.78%) got a more than $2.5 million order for its power amplifiers that are used in supporting satellite systems, the company said, another order in a string of wins for the company, whose recent fourth-quarter revenue more than doubled.





Shares of Crocs Inc. (CROX, $14.41, +$0.87, +6.42%) jumped as Sterne Agee started the company at buy, saying the shoe maker has finally embraced fashion-forward footwear. "We are confident the company has turned the corner and has broadened its assortment well beyond the original Beach and Cayman clogs," the firm said. "There were 9 styles when the company went public in '05, now there are over 250, with many styles directed to specific markets."



Daqo New Energy Corp.'s (DQ, $10.36, +$0.86, +9.05%) initial public offering of at least 8 million American depositary shares priced at $9.50 each, below the expected range of $10.50 to $12.50. The Chinese seller of polysilicon material to solar energy companies registered for an IPO in January but postponed its plans later that month after cutting its expected price range to $10 to $11 per ADS.



Golden Minerals Co. (AUMN, $19.40, -$2.16, -10.02%) announced terms for its planned $75 million equity sale as the mineral explorer and mining-services company said the deal priced at a sharp 14% discount to Wednesday's close.



Himax Technologies Inc. (HIMX, $2.30, -$0.10, -4.17%), which makes semiconductors for flat-panel displays, narrowed its forecast for third-quarter earnings and lowered its already downbeat view for revenue because of a sudden cutback in orders.



GMX Resources Inc. (GMXR, $4.09, -$0.30, -6.83%) slumped for the second-straight session since the oil and gas exploration company announced it would reduce its capital expenditure budget by 14% because it needs to catch up on some completion work. Shares had lost 10% Wednesday. Morgan Keegan reduced its estimates and production guidance Thursday and said financing remains a concern.



Inspire Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ISPH, $6.23, -$0.15, -2.35%) said it could sell a mix of securities, which could include common stock, worth about 30% of its market capitalization, according to a shelf registration from the developer of treatments for opthamalic and pulmonary diseases.



Racetrack operator International Speedway Corp.'s (ISCA, $23.84, -$1.52, -5.99%) third-quarter profit dropped a greater-than-expected 18% as revenue slid and interest costs soared.



Invesco Mortgage Capital Inc. (IVR, $21.01, -$0.79, -3.62%) said the minimum size of its stock offering has been raised 41% as the real-estate investment trust priced at a 4.8% discount to Wednesday's close.



Kirkland's Inc. (KIRK, $13.61, -$0.35, -2.51%) was cut to neutral from buy by Suntrust Robinson Humphrey, which said the home-decor store has seen its comparables decline more sharply than competitors, suggesting less compelling merchandise or weakening of demand.



M&T Bank Corp. (MTB, $76.79, -$2.12, -2.69%) shares continue a slide that began when talks about a deal between Banco Santander S.A.'s (STD, $13.09, -$0.11, -0.83%) U.S. retail bank and M&T broke down two weeks ago. And Allied Irish Banks PLC (AIB) said Thursday it will raise about $2 billion from the sale of its 22.4% stake in M&T.



American depositary shares in Man Group PLC (MNGPF, $3.99, +$0.54, +15.65%) rose Thursday, as investors took heart in recent performance gains at the hedge-fund operator's flagship investment strategy, AHL. Man Group on its website Thursday said AHL gained 2.8% on Tuesday, as stocks and bonds rallied, putting the strategy up 15.9% this year and near the point where Man can collect performance fees on gains.



Material Sciences Corp. (MASC, $4.96, +$0.22, +4.64%) swung to a fiscal second-quarter profit as sales grew and the margin surged. The maker of components used in a variety of products including automotive parts, computer disk drives and appliances has seen results improve on higher sales in recent quarters.



MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (WFR, $12.76, +$0.43, +3.49%) rose after Wunderlich Securities raised the semiconductor component producer to hold from sell, citing some certainty over solar farm sales and the emergence of J.P. Morgan as a financing partner for future solar farm financing.



Oncothyreon Inc. (ONTY, $3.57, -$0.05, -1.38%) released data on its experimental Stimuvax cancer vaccine as a treatment for nonsmall cell lung cancer, showing a two-year survival rate of 64%.



Warehouse giant ProLogis (PLD, $12.96, +$0.54, +4.35%) is close to a deal to sell 180 properties to Blackstone Group L.P. for $1 billion, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal. The deal involves more than 20 million square feet of warehouse property across the U.S., these people said.





RAM Energy Resources Inc. (RAME, $1.46, -$0.16, -9.88%) said that, after conducting a previously announced review of its strategic alternatives, it has determined that it plans to deleverage its debt by selling strategic assets and refinancing debts. When the independent energy company announced in June it was looking for alternatives, including a possible sale, its shares had leapt 24%.



Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (REGN, $27.95, -$1.23, -4.22%) said it plans to sell 4.5 million shares next week, which would boost its number of shares outstanding by about 5.5%. Regeneron's platform, VelocImmune, develops monoclonal antibodies that are the basis for some of the world's biggest-selling therapies. As drugs, they usually have high price tags because of their complexity.



Macquarie started coverage on Chinese solar wafer manufacturer ReneSola Ltd. (SOL, $12.95, +$0.72, +5.89%) at outperform, saying its position as the low-cost producer gives it an advantage and that its an underfollowed and underappreciated stock that's poised for upside.



KeyBanc Capital Markets raised its stock-investment rating on Robbins & Myers Inc. (RBN, $26.32, +$1.03, +4.07%), which makes equipment for energy, chemical and industrial producers, to buy from hold. The firm cited the company's acquisition of T-3 Energy Services Inc. (TTES, $30.97, +$0.99, +3.30%), improving base business fundamentals and share price weakness.



Ruby Tuesday Inc.'s (RT, $11.95, -$0.74, -5.82%) fiscal first-quarter earnings doubled as the casual-dining chain spent less on what it termed "merchandise expenses" and increased sales slightly. The company also affirmed its generally downbeat full-year earnings outlook.



Spherix Inc.'s (SPEX, $1.68, +$0.33, +24.37%) lead drug candidate showed a statistically significant reduction in the occurrence of indicators of diabetes in a Phase III trial of relatively healthy people who had the disease. The biotechnology company said the improvement was more pronounced among U.S. patients than in India, and that the effectiveness generally increased over the 10 months of treatment.



Drug development firm Targacept Inc. (TRGT, $21.76, -$1.22, -5.31%) said it will drop the development of its drug candidate to treat adults with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder as it showed little improvement in a mid-stage study. The clinical trial was conducted by partner AstraZeneca PLC (AZN, $51.87, +$0.38, +0.74%) for two weeks and results showed it "did not improve core symptoms of ADHD as compared to placebo," according to the Conners' Adult ADHD Rating Scale.



Robert W. Baird & Co. raised its stock-investment rating on Texas Roadhouse Inc. (TXRH, $15.01, +$0.55, +3.80%) to outperform from neutral, saying it is more confident the casual dining chain "can deliver healthy near-term comp trends while managing potential cost inflation effectively."



Tri-Tech Holding Inc. (TRIT, $12.07, +$0.92, +8.23%) said it expects a $32 million boost to the top line after winning an engineering and construction services bid for a drinking water treatment plan in China.



Vanguard Natural Resources LLC (VNR, $25.39, -$1.06, -4.02%) said its planned equity sale was priced at $25.40, a 4% discount to Wednesday's close, as the oil-and-gas company seeks to repay debt and repurchase equity from one of its major holders.
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