Oracle Posts Higher Third Quarter Earnings

U.K.'s Prudential rejects Aviva bid; St. Paul Travelers denies reports of merger talks; Michaels Stores explores possible sale; plus more stocks in the news Monday

Oracle (ORCL) the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based technology giant late Monday said its third quarter fiscal 2006 GAAP earnings per share were 14 cents, up 40% compared to the same quarter last year.

The St. Paul Travelers Companies (STA) says recent media reports of it being in discussions regarding a possible merger with Zurich Financial Services Group are not true.

Prudential (PUK) reiterates a rejection of Aviva's bid. Referring to the Aviva offer, Prudential says a combination with Aviva would dilute benefits of growth for shareholders. Brokers expect higher bid prices: MarketScope Europe.

Michaels Stores (MIK) is to explore alternatives to enhance shareholder value, including the potential sale of the company. It names Jeffrey Boyer and Gregory Sandfort as co-Presidents, replacing Michael Rouleau, who is retiring as President and CEO.

Global Crossing (GLBC) says it is in a new deal with Limelight Networks. Global Crossing will support Limelight's global distributed delivery of rich content, including video on demand, music downloads, and streaming media to audiences of any size.

Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI) says it is not able to file its 2005 10-K on time. It notes it has identified certain accounting issues, not directly related to the subject matter of previously-disclosed inquiry, that require further evaluation.

Williams-Sonoma (WSM) posts $1.02 vs. 95 cents fourth quarter earnings per share (EPS) (GAAP) on 5.8% higher same-store sales and 12% higher net revenue. It sees 14 cents to 16 cents first quarter EPS (including items) and $1.90 to $1.94 in fiscal year 2006. It initiates a 10 cents quarterly dividened.

Reliant Energy (RRI) sees $740 million 2006 earnings before interest taxes depreciation and amortization (EBITDA,) and $457 million adjusted EBITDA, as well as $89 million loss from continuing operations. It cites the impact of a significant decline in commodity prices and mild weather.

Western Silver (WTZ) agrees to be acquired by Glamis Gold (GLG), at 0.688 Glamis Gold share, and one share in the new exploration and development company called Western Copper for each Western Silver share held.

MTR Gaming Group (MNTG) reportedly didn't file a timely annual report with the Securities and Exchange Commission due to recent developments, including a proposed management buyout offer and preparation for some project financing.

Nature's Sunshine Products (NATRE) says a preliminary report by the Audit Committee indicated that the company had certain control weaknesses and outlined potential violations of the law with respect to some of its foreign operations.

Click Commerce (CKCM) While it expects no change in previously announced results, the company's assessment of internal control over financial reporting will delay its filing of its 10-K. It reiterates previously announced 2005 results.

Sun Bancorp (SNBC) sees lower-than-expected 20 cents to 21 cents first quarter EPS. It says competition for both loans and deposits in its markets continues to be intense.

Fording Canadian (FDG) says fourth quarter sales volumes will be lower than forecast because of high inventory levels at customers' plants and the substitution of hard coking coal with lower-priced coals. It sets a first quarter cash distribution of C$1.40 per unit.

Williams Industries (WMSI) posts 7 cents second quarter EPS vs. 37 cents loss despite an 11% revenue decline.

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