Ford to Slash North American Production

Dell reports weak earnings; Judge rules that Altria Group cigarette makers broke the law; plus more stocks in the news Friday

From Standard & Poor's Equity Research

Ford Motor (F)said it is reducing North American fourth-quarter production by 21 percent -- or 168,000 units -- compared with the fourth quarter a year ago.

Microsoft (MSFT) says it hiked its share-buyback plan by $16.2 billion to a total of $36.2 billion. The software giant also says it plans to spend about $3.8 billion buying shares in a recent Dutch auction, according to news reports.

Dell (DELL) posts 22 cents vs. 41 cents second quarter earnings per share (EPS) despite a 5% revenue rise. The audit committee begins investigation into revenue recognition and accounting matters related to a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation.

Altria Group (MO) cigarette makers violated racketeering laws by lying about tobacco's dangers, a judge ruled, but said she didn't have authority to levy major penalties, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon(STAR) agrees to be acquired by affiliates of the Dallas-based private equity firm Lone Star Funds for more than $600 million, at $27.10 cash per Lone Star share.

TiVo (TIVO) says US District Court Judge David Folsom granted the company's motion for a permanent injunction to prevent EchoStar (DISH) from making, using, and offering for sale or selling in the US their DVR products... S&P keeps strong buy... See Pg. 4

Bebe Stores (BEBE) posts 24 cents vs. 21 cents fourth quarter EPS on a 3.5% same-store sales rise and 11% total sales rise. It sees 17 cents to 21 cents first quarter EPS on low double digit same-store sales growth.

Time Warner (TWX) is to restate its financial statements to reflect changes in accounting for certain 2000 and 2001 transactions, following completion of review by an independent examiner as part of Time Warner's prior settlement with the SEC.

Autodesk (ADSK) posts a 21% revenue rise to $450 million and sees $450 million to $460 million in third quarter revenue. Because a voluntary review of stock option practices is ongoing, the company has not yet determined if it needs to make adjustments related to prior stock option grants.

Nordstrom (JWN) posts 67 cents vs. 53 cents second quarter EPS on 5.7% higher same-store sales and 7.8% higher total sales. It sees 40 cents to 45 cents third quarter EPS on low-single-digit same-store sales growth.

Gap (GPS) posts 15 cents vs. 30 cents second quarter EPS on 5% lower same-store sales and flat net sales. It cuts fiscal year 2007 EPS guidance to between $1.08 and $1.12 from $1.23 to $1.27.

Marvell Technology Group (MRVL) posts preliminary second quarter revenue of $574 million, a 47% year over year increase. It says revenue growth is limited due to some near term challenges in end markets. It also says its internal review of options practice is ongoing.

Cost Plus (CPWM) posts 51 cents second quarter loss vs. 7 cents EPS on 3.2% lower same-store sales and 6.2% higher total revenue. It sees 38 cents to 47 cents third quarter loss on a same store sales range of -3% to +1%.

Petco Animal Supplies (PETC) posts 25 cents vs. 31 cents second quarter EPS from operations as lower operating expense offset 3.4% higher same-store sales and 10% higher total sales.

Ann Taylor Stores (ANN) posts 59 cents vs. 10 cents second quarter EPS (GAAP) on 10% higher same-store sales and 20% higher net sales. It raises fiscal year 2007 EPS guidance to between $2.05 and $2.10, including an estimated 6 cents charge for stock options expense. It sets a $125 million stock buyback.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.