Home Depot Posts Higher Profit

Novartis announces acquisitions; May and Federated reportedly continue merger negotiations; plus more of Tuesday's stocks in the news

Home Depot (HD ) posted fourth-quarter earnings per share of 47 cents, vs. 42 cents one year earlier, on 4.6% higher same-store sales and 11% higher total sales. The company reiterated its fiscal 2006 guidance for sales growth of 9% to 12% and EPS growth of 10% to 14%.

Novartis (NVS ) agreed to acquire Eon Labs (ELAB ) for $31 per share in cash. In conjunction with the purchase of Eon, Novartis inked a deal to acquire Hexal AG, one of Germany's largest generic pharmaceutical companies, for an estimated 4.35 billion euros in cash.

May Department Stores (MAY ) has suspended its search for a new CEO as merger talks with Federated Department Stores (FD ) advanced over the weekend, according to the New York Times.

Kohl's (KSS ) says it will restate results for fiscal 1998 through the first 3 quarters of fiscal 2005, as a result of a clarification issued by the SEC on Feb. 7 relating to lease acounting practices.

Hormel Foods (HRL ) posted first-quarter EPS of 46 cents, vs. 37 cents one year earlier, on an 11% sales rise. The company sees 38 cents to 44 cents second-quarter EPS.

Perot Systems (PER ) says its client Harvard Pilgrim Health Care selected an alternate company to provide its future transaction processing platform. Keybanc downgraded its opinion on the shares to hold from buy.

Sina Corp. (SINA ) adopted a shareholder rights plan after Shanda Interactive (SNDA ) and certain related persons and entities indicated they beneficially own a 19.5% stake in Sina. Piper Jaffray raised its target price on Sina.

Coventry Health (CVH ) posted fourth-quarter EPS of $1.01, vs. 76 cents one year earlier, on a 13% revenue rise. The company sees $1.05 to $1.07 first-quarter EPS on revenue of $1.56 billion to $1.59 billion and $4.43 to $4.53 2005 earnings per share. S&P reiterated its strong buy recommendation.

Rambus (RMBS ) recently obtained a potentially significant discovery ruling in its favor, ordering, among other things, that it be provided with a joint defense agreement purportedly entered into in August, 2000, by several semiconductor companies.

Jakks Pacific (JAKK ) posted fourth-quarter EPS (preliminary) of 75 cents, vs. 37 cents one year earlier, on a sharp sales rise. The company sees 2005 sales of $660 million and EPS of $2.28. Jakks' guidance gives effect to the conversion of convertible notes, includes non-cash charges of $4.7 million for stock-based compensation.

Kerr-McGee (KMG ) received letters from Carl Icahn and Icahn Partners Master Fund LP that each has filed a notice under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act regarding the intention of each to acquire between $100 million to $500 million of Kerr-McGee stock.

Swift Energy (SFY ) sees $200 million to $220 million in total capital expenditures for 2005 net of dispositions and excluding any acquisitions. The company targets about 80% of its budget for domestic activities and the remaining 20% of its budget for activities in New Zealand.

Dendreon (DNDN ) says results from a Phase 2 study of Provenge, in combination with Avastin, increased PSA doubling time in patients with prostate cancer that had relapsed after prior surgical and radiation therapy. Atherogenics (AGIX ) says the FDA approved its proposed amendment to its Arise Phase III clinical trial protocol. The trial is testing the company's lead compound, AGI-1067, for oral treatment of atherosclerosis.

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