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US STOCK FUTURES: HOT STOCKS TO WATCH

Date : 01/24/2012 @ 9:17AM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Harley-Davidson (HOG)
Quote : 64.79  0.36 (0.56%) @ 3:59PM
Harley-Davidson share price Chart

US STOCK FUTURES: HOT STOCKS TO WATCH

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ)
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Among the companies whose shares are expected to actively trade in Tuesday's session are Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) and McDonald's Corp. (MCD).

Johnson & Johnson's fourth-quarter results show continued weakness in the orthopedics market. The company said Tuesday that U.S. sales at its DePuy unit fell 4%. The market for hip and knee implants has been hurt by factors such as consumers putting off surgeries in a weak economy and concerns over the safety of metal-on-metal hips. Shares slid 0.7% premarket at $65.25.

Verizon swung to a fourth-quarter loss on a large pension-related charge, though more contract wireless subscribers helped the telecommunications giant post better-than-expected revenue. Shares were down 2.1% to $37.65 in recent premarket trading.

As McDonald's fourth-quarter earnings per share grew more than analysts expected amid a 7.5% surge in global same-store sales, despite tough comparisons to strong prior-year results, the restaurant chain yet again shows its apparent immunity to macro-economic pressures. The performance also came amid few new-product launches in the U.S. Meanwhile, analysts say McDonald's will need to raise prices, if they haven't already, to continue to offset high inflation, and are waiting to hear the company's plan for additional price increases. Shares were up 0.5% to $101.40 in recent premarket trading.

EMC Corp. (EMC) on Tuesday eased fears of slowing business spending on technology by reporting its best-ever fourth quarter and issuing an optimistic view for 2012, saying demand for its storage products remain high. Shares climbed 3.7% to $24.30 in recent premarket trading.

Kimberly-Clark Corp.'s (KMB) fourth-quarter earnings fell 19% as higher costs again put a damper on the company's improved sales, particularly in its crucial personal care business. The company, whose products include Huggies diapers, Scott paper towels and Kleenex tissues, also offered a conservative outlook for its new fiscal year. Shares declined 2.6% to $71.60 in recent premarket trading.

CSX Corp.'s (CSX) fourth-quarter earnings rose 6.3% as the railroad company posted higher revenue, though volume slid. The U.S. transportation sector is broadly expected to post improved results for the fourth quarter, coming off a better-than-expected, though subdued, peak shipping season. Shares fell 3.7% to $21.85 in premarket trading.

Nokia Corp. (NOK) shares fell sharply 8.2% to $5.26 premarket after comments by Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN) and STMicroelectronics N.V. (STM, STM.MI), says FIM analyst Michael Schroder. The chipmakers have said their weakened business with Nokia indicates that Symbian-based feature phones are "probably losing a lot of momentum right now," says Schroder. "With Nokia's Windows Phones only coming up gradually, not compensating all the losses in Symbian handsets, it looks quite bad."

Baker Hughes Inc.'s (BHI) fourth-quarter earnings fell 6.3% as higher costs and weakness in pressure pumping masked the oilfield-services company's revenue growth. Shares declined 3.8% to $45.93 premarket as the results missed expectations.

Quest Diagnostics Inc.'s (DGX) fourth-quarter earnings rose 14% as the company saw higher testing revenue and improved margins, while unveiling a $1 billion increase to its stock buyback program. Results easily beat expectations, but the company predicted downbeat adjusted per-share earnings on revenue growth for the new year. Shares were up 4.3% to $58.92 in recent premarket trading.

Higher average selling prices helped boost Western Digital Corp.'s (WDC) second-quarter results, Morgan Stanley says. The firm notes pricing for hard-disk drives was up about 72% since the Thailand flooding, which lifted the company's gross margin despite higher manufacturing and component costs, and it also offset weaker units. But Morgan Stanley adds average selling prices will normalize earlier than expected. Shares gained 4.5% to $36.28 in recent premarket trading.

International Game Technology's (IGT) fiscal first-quarter earnings fell 33% as a lack of new casinos in North America hurt the slot-machine maker's revenue and margins, leading to a surprise drop in both top- and bottom-line results. Shares slumped 8% to $14.75 in recent premarket trading.

Polycom Inc.'s (PLCM) fourth-quarter earnings rose a greater-than-expected 50% as the videoconferencing company's emerging-market sales continued to outperform its American business. Shares jumped 16% to $21.28 in recent premarket trading as revenue also topped expectations.

Brinker International Inc.'s (EAT) fiscal second-quarter earnings fell 4.8% as charges masked the casual-dining company's improved revenue and margins. While the parent company of Chili's Grill & Bar and Maggiano's Little Italy reported a rise in fiscal first-quarter revenue--its strongest rate in years--some questioned whether the momentum would continue through the remainder of the fiscal year, as it comes up against stronger prior-year performance and increased competitive pressure. Shares dropped 8.2% to $25.36 in recent premarket trading.

MGIC Investment Corp.'s (MTG) fourth-quarter loss narrowed as the private-mortgage insurer posted bigger gains and increased revenue. The period marked the sixth straight quarterly loss for MGIC, the largest mortgage insurer for both Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC). Shares were down 3% to $3.94 in recent premarket trading.

 
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Acura Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ACUR) said the new formulation of Pfizer Inc.'s (PFE) pain drug Oxecta that uses its tamper-resistant technology is now available for sale.

Air Products & Chemicals Inc.'s (APD) fiscal first-quarter earnings fell 7.6% as the industrial-gas company saw continued weakness in its equipment and energy segment and slower growth in its three other major segments. The company forecast second-quarter earnings below analysts' estimates, and said it expects slow economic activity in the period but predicted Asia and North America growth would accelerate in the second half of the year.

Ashland Inc.'s (ASH) fiscal first-quarter profit slumped 38% due to a pair of heavy charges, although the chemical company's core earnings gained with help from a key acquisition.

Coach Inc.'s (COH) fiscal second-quarter earnings rose 15% as strong North America sales helped offset flat indirect sales. The luxury handbag, accessories and leather-goods maker has seen its profit grow for over two years on the strength of its North American direct-to-consumer businesses and global expansion.

Crane Co. (CR) swung to a loss in the fourth quarter as the diversified manufacturer extended its provision for asbestos and environment liabilities, but its adjusted profit rose.

Depomed Inc. (DEPO) said it received notice from the U.S. unit of Actavis Group that the generic drug maker has filed for Food and Drug Administration approval to market its version of Gralise.

DuPont Co.'s (DD) fourth-quarter profit fell 0.8% as the chemicals giant posted weaker volume but was aided by higher pricing, which it used to offset higher raw material costs. DuPont, a diversified U.S. manufacturer, repeatedly warned of a weaker fourth quarter and recently lowered its profit guidance for 2011.

Harley-Davidson Inc. (HOG) swung to fourth-quarter profit from a year-earlier period that included a hefty debt-retirement charge as the motorcycle maker also posted stronger sales.

InterDigital Inc. (IDCC) said it will abandon a strategic review it began in July and instead continue as a standalone company. InterDigital issued slightly better-than-expected preliminary fourth-quarter results.

Kansas City Southern's (KSU) fourth-quarter earnings rose 75% as the regional railroad operator reported double-digit revenue growth in its automotive, intermodal and coal businesses. However, revenue missed analysts' expectations. For the broader U.S. transportation industry, many companies were expected to post higher earnings for the fourth quarter.

Monro Muffler Brake Inc.'s (MNRO) fiscal third-quarter earnings jumped 23% as the automotive services company said recent acquisitions and labor productivity helped outweigh increases in oil and tire costs.

Murphy Oil Corp. (MUR) said it would book a $370 million write-down in the fourth quarter of last year because output rates and ultimate oil recovery at a field off the shore of the Republic of the Congo were lower than expected.

Packaging Corp. of America's (PKG) fourth-quarter earnings fell 28% as higher costs offset improved revenue.

Regions Financial Corp. (RF) swung to a fourth-quarter loss, with the regional lender booking a hefty write-down following a long-planned deal to sell its brokerage unit. The operator of banks in 16 states across the southern and midwestern U.S., this month agreed to sell its regional brokerage Morgan Keegan & Co. to wealth manager Raymond James Financial Inc. (RJF) for $930 million, putting to rest a six-month auction process. The lender, which has faced a long road to recovery after taking heavy losses from soured real-estate loans during the financial crisis, still must repay $3.5 billion in government aid, and has cautioned it will have to raise more capital to make the repayment despite the Morgan Keegan sale.

Semtech Corp. (SMTC) agreed to acquire Canada's Gennum Corp. (GND.T) for about C$500 million ($494 million) in cash, the latest bid by a chip maker to expand its portfolio of network-focused products.

SPX Corp. (SPW) struck a deal to sell its service solutions business to German auto parts maker and engineering firm Robert Bosch GmbH for $1.15 billion in cash, part of continued reshaping of the diversified-industrial company. SPX's service solutions business manufactures and sells diagnostic and service tools, workshop equipment and software for the global automotive aftermarket.

Georgia lender Synovus Financial Corp. (SNV) swung to a profit in the fourth quarter after sharply reduced funds held for risky loans helped the regional lender report its second straight quarter in the black.

VMware Inc.'s (VMW) fourth-quarter earnings rose 67% as the software maker posted double-digit-percentage increases in services and license revenues as well as stronger margins. Adjusted earnings topped analysts' expectations.

Waters Corp.'s (WAT) fourth-quarter earnings rose 8.3% as the laboratory-equipment maker continued its sales growth streak, but margins edged lower.

Zions Bancorp (ZION) swung to a fourth-quarter profit as the Utah regional bank's continually improving credit quality erased any negative effects from loan-loss provision. The latest period marks a full year of profitability for the company after two and a half years of losses, but shares were down 6% at $17.43 premarket as the bottom line fell short of expectations.

-Edited by Maya Pope-Chappell and Ian Thomson; write to maya.pope-chappell@dowjones.com and ian.thomson@dowjones.com



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