Investor Alert

Stocks to Watch

May 31, 2012, 6:42 a.m. EDT

Stocks to watch Thursday: Alkermes, Tilly’s

By MarketWatch

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Among the stocks that could see active trade in Thursday’s session are Alkermes PLC , Tilly’s Inc. and Carrols Restaurant Group Inc.

Companies scheduled to report results on Thursday include OmniVision Technologies Inc. , Ciena Corp. (NYS:CIEN) , Descartes Systems Group Inc. (NAS:DSGX) , SAIC Inc. , Esterline Technologies Corp. , Joy Global Inc. , Vera Bradley Inc. (NAS:VRA)  and Movado Group Inc. (NYS:MOV) , among others.

/zigman2/quotes/205084517/composite ALKS 22.19, +0.72, +3.35%

Alkermes (NAS:ALKS)  said it would narrow the scope of its drug-development program as one candidate didn’t meet criteria for it to enter Phase III clinical trials. A study of ALKS 37 in the treatment of opioid-induced constipation yielded insufficient results to merit further development, and Alkermes said out-licensing opportunities will now be considered for it. “Based on the results of this study, we will focus our future clinical development efforts on our other development programs, including ALKS 9070 for schizophrenia and ALKS 5461 for major depressive disorder,” said Dr. Elliot Ehrich, chief medical officer of the Dublin-based company, in a statement.

/zigman2/quotes/203876500/composite TLYS 10.16, +0.10, +0.99%

Tilly’s (NYS:TLYS)  reported late Wednesday financial results for the first quarter ended April 28, its first as a publicly traded company following its initial public offering completed May 3. On a pro-forma basis, net income reached $3.6 million, or 18 cents a share, from $3 million, or 14 cents, earned in the year-earlier period. Quarterly sales of $96.5 million rose 16.1% from the prior year and included increased e-commerce sales of $10.9 million. Gross margin came in flat at 31.5%. “Although the first quarter is a relatively small proportion of our full year earnings, the earnings growth rate in the quarter exceeded our long-term plan and reflects a continued high-quality expansion of our business,” said Daniel Griesemer, president and chief executive of the Irvine, Calif.-based retailer, in a statement.

Also on the earnings front, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.  reported results showing the movie studio swinging to fourth-quarter loss, reflecting $38 million in transaction costs arising from the company’s January acquisition of Summit Entertainment. Lions Gate generated revenue of $645.2 million in the fourth quarter ended March 31, up sharply from $376.9 million in the year-earlier period as a result of contributions from “The Hunger Games” and the first part of “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn,” but the consensus of analysts polled by FactSet Research had been for revenue of $672.5 million.

/zigman2/quotes/203451737/composite TAST 6.90, -0.06, -0.86%

Burger King Corp. has closed on the acquisition of a 28.9% equity interest in Carrols Restaurant Group (NAS:TAST)  as a result of Syracuse, N.Y.-based Carrols acquiring 278 Burger King restaurants located in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the Carolinas. The deal makes Carrols the Burger King brand’s largest franchisee, with 574 restaurants. Along with the equity interest, Carrols made cash payments of about $16.2 million as consideration paid in the deal. Separately, Carrols said it completed a refinancing, including the sale of $150 million in 11.25% senior secured second-lien notes due 2018, through which it raised money to refinance debt, fund the cash consideration for the acquisition and pay for remodeling more than 450 restaurants over the next 3 1/2 years. Miami-based Burger King Holdings Inc. announced plans to go public in early April, less than two years after being taken private in a $3.3 billion buyout.

A wholly owned subsidiary of National Oilwell Varco Inc. (NYS:NOV)  agreed to acquire all common shares of Calgary-based CE Franklin Ltd.  for C$240 million in cash, the companies said. The buyout price works out to C$12.75 a share, or about 30% higher than the closing price for CE Franklin shares Wednesday in Toronto. The deal comes about six weeks after CE Franklin directors met to consider options and alternatives deemed in the best interest of the company and its stockholders. Schlumberger Ltd. (NYS:SLB) , CE Franklin’s largest stockholder, as well as all CE Franklin directors and executives have agreed to vote their shares in favor of the deal. It must still be approved by two-thirds of the votes cast during a special meeting, which is expected to be held in mid-July. A stockholder-rights plan adopted by CE Franklin’s board in April has been terminated. Adding CE Franklin to the company’s Canadian distribution operations “will broaden our product offering and customer base, while strengthening our combined abilities to serve all of our customers,” said Pete Miller, chairman, president and CEO of Houston-based National Oilwell Varco, in a statement.

Also late Wednesday, Noble Energy Inc.  said that it struck a deal to sell certain North Sea assets and that it’s considering the disposal of its other assets in the area as part of the Houston-based company’s program to divest “non-core” properties. Maersk Oil North Sea Ltd. is buying from Noble Energy certain assets located in the North Sea of the U.K., including a 30% working interest in the oil-producing Dumbarton and Lochranza properties, for $127 million. Completion of the deal is expected by the end of the third quarter. Noble Energy’s also looking to sell off U.S. onshore properties deemed “non-strategic.”

Link to MarketWatch's Slice.