Thursday's stocks in the news
From Standard & Poor's Equity ResearchGeneral Motors (GM) rises after the Wall Street Journal reports that the United Auto Workers are willing to create a union-controlled health-care trust fund that would allow the Big Three to shed $95 billion in retiree costs. Also, the Detroit News reports that GM is pursuing a two-tier wage system that would allow it to pay new hires less than veterans. Citigroup initiated coverage of the stock with a buy opinion.
McDonald's (MCD) raises its 2007 annual dividend by 50% to $1.50 per share from $1.00.
Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) sees 2007 revenue growth flat to slightly up, vs. its previous view that revenue would grow in mid-single digits. It cites change in capital spending with some wireless customers in North America.
Target (TGT) says it may sell its $7 billion in credit-card receivables.
Qualcomm (QCOM) announces that a Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit granted a stay, pending appeal, that will allow third parties to import handsets in U.S. originally banned by the International Trade Commission. Lehman views the ruling as positive for the company and keeps overweight.
Countrywide Financial (CFC) reports mortgage loan fundings for August fell 17%, average daily mortgage loan application activity fell 12%.
GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) says it will supply the U.S. market with a combined total of 30-35 million doses of seasonal influenza virus vaccines Fluarix and FluLaval, up from about 25 million doses in the 2006-2007 flu season.
Merck (MRK) moves up after the stock was upgraded to buy from neutral at Banc of America Securities, with the broker arguing that Gardasil and Januvia will become more significant contributors, which will help sales momentum continue.
Microsoft (MSFT) raised its quarterly dividend by a penny to 11 cents a share.
First Horizon National (FHN) says it plans to cut up to 50% of its mortgage sales force, reduce support staff, and close underperforming mortgage branches.
Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) sets two-for-one stock split.
Syntax-Brillian (BRLC) shares tumble on its revenue forecast. It posts $0.11 fourth quarter GAAP EPS, vs. $0.11 loss per share, on a sharp revenue rise. It sees first quarter sales of $170-$180 million (vs. fourth quarter's $205.3 million), gross margin of 15%-17%. For calendar year 2007, it anticipates revenue of $1.0-$1.1 billion, gross margins of 16%-18%. CFO Wayne Pratt to resign, effective Sept. 30.
Angiotech Pharmaceuticals (ANPI) receives favorable decision from the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand regarding an attempt by Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) subsidiary, Conor Medsystems Inc. to revoke ANPI's New Zealand Patent 523799, which pertains to compositions comprising a polymer and paclitaxel, as well as, generally, to paclitaxel-eluting stents.
Select Comfort (SCSS) says third quarter sales improvements are not likely to be sufficient to achieve current third quarter consensus estimate of $0.27. It says it is on track to meet low-end of its 2007 EPS guidance. Invests additional $37.6 million to repurchase 2.3 million shares of stock this quarter.