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Nov. 17, 2011, 7:02 a.m. EST

Stocks to watch Thursday: Cigna, Lowe’s, NetApp

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By MarketWatch

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Among the stocks that could see active trade in Thursday’s session are Cigna Corp., Lowe’s Cos. and NetApp Inc.

Thursday’s quarterly results are concentrated largely in the technology and retails sectors. The former features Salesforce.com Inc. /zigman2/quotes/200515854/composite CRM +2.09%  as well as Intuit Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203136605/composite INTU -0.60% , Marvell Technology Group Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/200053236/composite MRVL -3.56% , Dolby Laboratories Inc. /zigman2/quotes/208078864/composite DLB -0.15% , Mentor Graphics Corp.  and Multimedia Games Holding Co. , while the latter includes Gap Inc. /zigman2/quotes/206554267/composite GPS -1.22% , Dollar Tree Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203712248/composite DLTR -0.92% , Foot Locker Inc. /zigman2/quotes/204092533/composite FL -1.54%  and Williams-Sonoma Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202067350/composite WSM -0.02% , among others. In addition, J.M. Smucker Co. /zigman2/quotes/203835894/composite SJM -0.35% , Perry Ellis International Inc.  and Helmerich & Payne Inc. /zigman2/quotes/209685666/composite HP -2.65%  are notables on deck to report financial results.

The board of HollyFrontier Corp. /zigman2/quotes/201783514/composite HFC -3.81%  declared the Dallas-based energy company’s second special dividend of the year. A cash dividend of 50 cents a share will be paid Dec. 8 to stockholders of record as of Nov. 29, the company said. In addition, HollyFrontier’s board approved an increase of about 14% in the quarterly dividend on common stock, to 10 cents a share; it’s payable Jan. 4 to holders of record of as of Dec. 12.

The board of FBL Financial Group Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203813833/composite FFG +0.68%  approved a 60% increase in the company’s dividend paid on Class A and Class B common stock. A quarterly cash dividend of 10 cents a share will be paid Dec. 30 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 15, the West Des Moines, Iowa-based provider of life insurance said.

The board of ModusLink Global Solutions Inc.  agreed that the Waltham, Mass.-based company should explore options to enhance shareholder value and hired Goldman Sachs & Co. to assist in this effort. Alternatives to be considered would include a sale of certain company assets, ModusLink said. A committee of independent directors will oversee the review process and make potential recommendations to the full board, the company said.

Cigna /zigman2/quotes/208431372/composite CI -1.44%  priced a public offering of 15.2 million common shares at $42.75 each, net proceeds from which will be used to pay a portion of the purchase price of the Bloomfield, Conn.-based insurer’s pending HealthSpring Inc.  acquisition. The funds would be earmarked for general corporate purposes if the deal isn’t completed, Cigna said. The company granted underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 2.28 million additional shares if investor demand warrants.

Lowe’s /zigman2/quotes/205563664/composite LOW -0.11%  agreed to sell $1 billion in debt — $500 million of 3.80% notes due 2021 and $500 million of 5.125% notes due 2041 — with net proceeds estimated at about $991 million. They will go toward general corporate purposes, which may include stock buybacks, capital expenditures, acquisitions and working capital, Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s said. The sale’s expected to close Nov. 23.

Plains Exploration & Production Co.  priced at par a public offering of $1 billion of 6.75% senior notes due 2022. Net proceeds are expected to be used to repay amounts outstanding under the Houston-based company’s senior revolving credit facility and for general corporate purposes. Interest on the notes will be paid twice a year, starting Feb. 1, Plains Exploration said.

Rockwell Collins Inc.  priced a public offering of $250 million of 3.1% notes due 2021; it’s due to close Nov. 21. Net proceeds will be applied toward buying back shares of the Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based company’s common stock, as approved by the Rockwell Collins board in September, and for other general corporate purposes.

Citing “unfavorable market conditions,” Viasystems Group Inc.  said it’s withdrawn plans to make a public offering of 2 million common shares as well as 2 million shares to have been put up by the St. Louis-based company’s largest stockholder. “The company’s management team and board of directors do not consider the current market price of the company’s common stock to be reflective of its inherent value,” said David Sindelar, chief executive of Viasystems, in a statement.

Shareholders approved the cash-and-stock acquisition of Tower Bancorp Inc. by Susquehanna Bancshares Inc.  in votes conducted Wednesday. The parties said they expect the deal to close Feb. 17, after which the combined company will have about $17.8 billion in assets and nearly 260 locations in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia.

Wednesday earnings recap

NetApp /zigman2/quotes/209297588/composite NTAP -1.48%  reported a net profit of $165.6 million, or 44 cents a share, for the second quarter ended Oct. 28, down from $175.4 million, or 45 cents, earned in the same period during fiscal 2011. On an adjusted basis, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company would have shown a profit of 63 cents a share, higher than the 59-cent consensus estimate as compiled in a poll by FactSet Research. Quarterly revenue of $1.51 billion, up from the prior year’s $1.25 billion, lagged analysts’ $1.55 billion consensus. NetApp also projected third-quarter adjusted earnings at 56 cents to 60 cents a share on revenue of $1.52 billion to $1.61 billion — both shy of analysts’ consensus forecasts.

Applied Materials Inc. /zigman2/quotes/209393259/composite AMAT -2.81%  reported net income of $456 million, or 34 cents a share, for the fourth quarter ended Oct. 30, off from $468 million, or 35 cents, earned in the final three months of fiscal 2010. Earnings on an adjusted basis would have been $271 million, or 21 cents a share, for the latest quarter, as revenue fell to $2.18 billion, down 25% from the prior year. The FactSet-compiled consensus had been for Applied Materials to earn 19 cents a share on revenue of $2.16 billion. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company also forecast first-quarter adjusted earnings of 8 cents to 16 cents a share, along with a sequential decline in sales of between 5% and 15%.

Limited Brands Inc.  reported net profit rose to $94.3 million, or 31 cents a share, for the third quarter ended Oct. 29, up from $61.3 million, or 18 cents, earned in the same period a year ago. On an adjusted basis, earnings for the latest quarter would have been $77.6 million, or 25 cents a share, as the Columbus, Ohio-based retailer generated revenue of $2.17 billion, up from the prior year’s $1.98 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet had, on average, been looking for a profit of 24 cents a share on $2.17 billion in sales. The company also revised higher its full-year earnings outlook to a range of $2.38 to $2.53 a share, up from $2.35 to $2.50 a share previously.

Along with reporting results for the third quarter ended Oct. 30, PetSmart Inc.  raised its full-year profit outlook late Wednesday. As revised, the Phoenix-based retailer sees 12-month profit coming in at $2.50 to $2.54 a share, up from a prior range of $2.46 to $2.52 a share.

/zigman2/quotes/200515854/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 206.88
+4.24 +2.09%
Volume: 2.26M
Aug. 6, 2020 12:36p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$182.26 billion
Rev. per Employee
$379,486
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/zigman2/quotes/203136605/composite
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Dividend Yield
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/zigman2/quotes/208431372/composite
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/zigman2/quotes/205563664/composite
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/zigman2/quotes/209393259/composite
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Market Cap
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Rev. per Employee
$800,095
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