Date : 01/27/2012 @ 9:09AM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Altria Grp., Inc. (MO)
Quote : 71.28  0.16 (0.22%) @ 4:00PM


Ford Motor (NYSE:F)
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Among the companies whose shares are expected to actively trade in Friday's session are Ford Motor Co. (F), Transocean Ltd. (RIG, RIGN.VX) and Juniper Networks Inc. (JNPR).

Ford reported a record fourth-quarter profit on a one-time tax allowance, although slower sales in the European markets and production losses caused by the recent flooding in Thailand chipped away at the auto maker's profitability. Shares declined 3.5% to $12.30 in recent premarket trading.

Shares of Transocean rose 6.4% to $50.28 premarket after a U.S. federal judge ruled Thursday that BP PLC (BP, BP.LN) must indemnify the oilfield-services firm against compensatory damages linked to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill. However, the judge also said BP wouldn't have to protect Transocean from punitive damages or civil penalties under the Clean Water act. Shares of BP fell 2% to $43.89 in recent premarket trading.

Juniper's fourth-quarter profit fell 49% as the network-gear maker's router sales continued to weaken. Shares dropped 9.4% to $20.25 in recent premarket trading as the company forecast a grim first-quarter adjusted profit that missed analysts' expectations. Moreover, Stifel Nicolaus downgrades Juniper to hold from buy disappointed by the company's first-quarter guidance on earnings and margins. Miller Tabak says "it will be difficult for Juniper to build back to flat for the year much less to get to double digit growth."

Chubb Corp.'s (CB) fourth-quarter earnings fell 27% on higher losses and loss expenses, as the property-and-casualty insurer's core profit also dropped despite more written premium growth. Separately Thursday, Chubb said its board authorized a new share buyback program of up to $1.2 billion in shares. Shares loss 3.3% to $68.00 in recent premarket trading.

Eastman Chemical Co.'s (EMN) fourth-quarter earnings soared as the company reported broad revenue growth, led by its performance chemicals and intermediates segment, and as charges weighed on year-ago results. Further, Eastman agreed to acquire peer specialty-chemicals maker Solutia Inc. (SOA) in a cash and stock deal worth about $3.38 billion, a purchase it said will extend its global presence and stabilize margins. For each Solutia shares, stockholders will receive $22.00 in cash and 0.12 of an Eastman common share. Shares of Eastman jumped 10% to $51.95 and Solutia shares surged 43% to $27.90 in recent premarket trading.

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (CLF) predicted 2011 per-ton revenue in its biggest segment would be at the low end of its target range, with volumes and average revenue coming in below or at the low ends of outlooks in other segments as well. Shares were down 3.4% to $72.65 premarket.

KLA-Tencor Corp.'s (KLAC) fiscal second-quarter earnings fell 40% amid lower-than-expected revenue and weaker margins. However, the company, which makes systems that monitor semiconductor wafer production, was in line with its projected earnings and revenue figures. Service revenue in particular saw an increase. Shares were up 4.4% to $52.46 in recent premarket trading.

Seagate Technology PLC (STX) added $1 billion to its stock buyback plan and raised its quarterly dividend by 39%, joining a long list of companies putting their cash holdings to work and returning value to shareholders. Shares were up 3.6% to $20.51 in recent premarket trading.

Riverbed Technology Inc.'s (RVBD) fourth-quarter earnings rose 60% as revenue jumped across each of its regions, though margins slipped. Shares declined 14% to $25.64 in recent premarket trading.

Informatica Corp.'s (INFA) fourth-quarter earnings rose 22% on higher sales, but the company predicted full-year profit below expectations because of an expected loss of a tax benefit. Shares gained 6.6% to $40.80 in recent premarket trading.

Cepheid (CPHD) swung to a fourth-quarter loss as a one-time patent-expiration charge masked a higher core profit lifted by rising clinical sales. However, the maker of biological testing systems reported stronger-than-expected results and upbeat guidance. Shares climbed 22% to $41.75 in recent premarket trading.

Emulex Corp. (ELX) swung to a fiscal second-quarter profit following a year-earlier write-down, while sales of its data-storage products surged. Shares rose 6.8% to $9.90 premarket as the company also predicted an optimistic adjusted third-quarter profit.

Watch List: 

Altria Group Inc.'s (MO) fourth-quarter earnings fell 9% as several charges masked its revenue growth, while the tobacco giant named Vice Chairman Martin J. Barrington chairman and chief executive to succeed the retiring Michael E. Szymanczyk, effective May 17. Altria also named Vice Chairman David R. Beran, president and chief operating officer, effective May 17.

American Electric Power Inc.'s (AEP) fourth-quarter earnings rose 75% on stronger wholesale volume, though retail volume shrank. American Electric Power, one of the largest U.S. electric utilities, has benefited recently from a manufacturing and mining rebound. In the latest quarter, industrial volume was up 1%.

Amgen Inc.'s (AMGN) fourth-quarter earnings fell 8.6% on tax impacts and charges as the biopharmaceutical company reported stronger revenue and margins. The company gave full-year guidance mostly in line with expectations.

A.O. Smith Corp.'s (AOS) fourth-quarter earnings edged down 0.3% from a year-earlier quarter aided by discontinued operations, but the company reported stronger water-heater sales in China, which boosted overall revenue. The maker of water heaters continues to see its bottom line buoyed by sales and market growth in China. U.S. revenue also has improved on sales of energy-efficient products, though the housing market remains weak.

Oil refiner and retailer, Delek US Holdings Inc. (DK), predicted it would report a loss in the fourth quarter because of high oil costs and a decline in asphalt prices.

DeVry Inc. (DV) fiscal second-quarter earnings plunged 90% on a write-down at its health-care college and another revenue decline. Earnings and revenue both fell more than expected.

D.R. Horton Inc. (DHI) swung to the black in its fiscal first quarter as the home builder booked a double-digit jump in home-building revenue and signaled cautious optimism for the upcoming spring selling season.

Freescale Semiconductor Holdings I Ltd.'s (FSL) fourth-quarter loss narrowed sharply even as its top line shrank on weaker sales. Core earnings, meanwhile, notched a slightly weaker-than-expected improvement driven by stronger margins.

Honeywell International Inc. (HON) swung to a fourth-quarter loss amid substantial pension-related costs, though its aerospace and automation and control-systems segments posted healthy growth. The maker of aerospace, building control and safety products has steadily benefited from a broad-based increase in demand.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc.'s (JBHT) fourth-quarter earnings rose 25% as the trucking company again reported revenue gains across its segments, led by its intermodal unit.

Hancock Holding Co.'s (HBHC) fourth-quarter earnings rose 11%, and the regional lender's core earnings jumped on takeover-boosted interest income.

-Edited by Maya Pope-Chappell and Ian Thomson; write to and

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