Airgas, Intuit, Patriot Coal, Xerox, PG&E: U.S. Equity Preview

Shares of the following companies may have unusual moves in U.S. trading tomorrow. Stock symbols are in parentheses.

Airgas Inc. (ARG US): The industrial-gases distributor said it may buy back $700 million of its stock and could overhaul its balance sheet to purchase more should Air Products & Chemicals Inc. (APD US) withdraw its $5.5 billion hostile takeover bid.

Casey’s General Stores Inc. (CASY US): Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (ATD/B CN) may raise its $38.50-a-share offer for the convenience-store chain following a bid of $40 per share from 7-Eleven Inc.

Comverse Technology Inc. (CMVT US): The maker of voice-mail software delayed filing results for the quarter ended July 31, saying it needs time to adjust past earnings following an internal investigation.

EResearchTechnology Inc. (ERES US): The maker of gear to test heart abnormalities said Chief Executive Officer Michael McKelvey will retire and the company is searching for a successor.

Intuit Inc. (INTU US): The developer of Quicken and TurboTax personal-finance software may rise as much as 25 percent during the next 12 months as it capitalizes on demand from the smallest businesses, Barron’s reported, citing Peter Goldmacher, managing director with Cowen & Co. in San Francisco.

Oshkosh Corp. (OSK US): The maker of all-terrain blast-proof trucks for the military was awarded a $260 million contract to produce 2,060 medium tactical vehicles, according to a U.S. Department of Defense release published on its website.

PG&E Corp. (PCG US): Authorities said as many as five people remained missing yesterday as investigators searched for clues to the cause of a PG&E natural-gas pipeline blast that destroyed 37 homes in a San Francisco suburb.

Patriot Coal Corp. (PCX US) declined 5.3 percent to $11.20. The fourth-largest eastern U.S. coal company reduced its third-quarter sales volume estimate by 10 percent to between 7.5 million tons and 7.7 million tons because of downtime at its Federal and Panther longwall operations.

VMWare Inc. (VMW US): The developer of software to help improve efficiency at corporate data centers may decline amid growing challenges from rivals, Barron’s reported, without citing anyone.

Williams-Sonoma Inc. (WSM US): The gourmet-cookware retailer said it plans to buy back as much as $65 million more shares after completing a $60 million repurchase program.

Xerox Corp. (XRX US): The copy-machine and document-management company may double as it pushes into data processing, analysis and storage, Barron’s reported, citing analysts.

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