By CBS MarketWatch
Earnings results slow to a trickle after Presidents Day, but big names are doing the reporting.
Applied Materials /zigman2/quotes/209393259/composite AMAT -0.48% , a leading chip-equipment maker, is on tap Wednesday. See Earnings Outlook. Thursday is the big one, with Dow components Hewlett-Packard /zigman2/quotes/203461582/composite HPQ +6.93% and Wal-Mart /zigman2/quotes/207374728/composite WMT +0.55% delivering results.
ABX Air's long-term contracts and potential for higher sales make the cargo airline a good investment prospect, Barron's said in its Sizing Up Small Caps column Saturday. See full story.
Advanced Micro Devices /zigman2/quotes/208144392/composite AMD +2.53% and the other 15 chip-related stocks on the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index /zigman2/quotes/210598361/realtime SOX +1.12% were flagged as overpriced Saturday in Alan Abelson's Barron's column. Citing data from Fred Hickey's High Tech Strategist newsletter, Abelson noted the average 36 price-to-earnings multiple of the index stocks, compared with a 10-year average of 20, plus a 5.5 price-to-sales ratio compared with a 10-year average of 2.6.
American Capital Strategies said late Friday that it invested $21.6 million in Nivel Parts & Manufacturing, a distributor of golf-cart parts. American Capital will hold an 11 percent stake in Nivel after the transaction closes.
Ameritrade , the online brokerage, said late Friday that it completed the purchase of about 11,000 online accounts from BrokerageAmerica. The accounts will switch to their new platform on Monday.
ArvinMeritor , a maker of vehicle parts for manufacturers and replacement parts such as the Purolator brand, had its debt rating cut late Friday by Moody's. The move, affecting about $2 billion in debt securities, cited ArvinMeritor's disappointing 2003 results and a tougher stance from automakers with their suppliers.
Bandag , a truck tire specialist, said late Friday it purchased an 87.5 percent interest in Speedco, which owns 26 highway truck-servicing sites and licenses six others. The $56.1 million price paid to Shell Oil Products and three Speedco founders includes retirement of $20.1 million of debt. Bandag said Speedco revenue totaled about $46 million in 2003. Earnings per share for Bandag are estimated to grow 10 to 15 cents a share in 2004 as a result of the purchase, the company said, citing the direction of oil prices as a crucial factor that could affect the trucking industry and its business.
C2 , which provides services such as refrigerated warehousing, said late Friday that its Total Logistic Control division is acquiring packing assets from Keebler, a unit of Kellogg /zigman2/quotes/209631250/composite K -0.53% . Terms were not disclosed for purchase of a 225,000 square foot operation in Statham, Ga.
Caremark Rx and AdvancePCS said their shareholders will meet March 22 to vote on Caremark's purchase of AdvancePCS. Approval of new Caremark shares is one of the voting items; AdvancePCS shareholders are to receive Caremark shares at a value equal to 2.15 Caremark shares as 90 percent of their compensation, plus the other 10 percent in cash. Assuming approval, Caremark holders will control 58 percent of the combined company.
Duke Energy /zigman2/quotes/201480230/composite DUK +0.75% , the Southeast energy marketer, said late Friday that its Duke Capital division remarketed $875 million of 5.87 percent notes due 2006, with a new rate of 4.302 percent. As part of the transaction, Duke will issue 22.5 million shares of common stock in May to settle forward purchase contracts.
Energizer Holdings /zigman2/quotes/209643437/composite ENR -0.11% said late Friday that it filed a patent infringement suit against Gillette /zigman2/quotes/205992714/composite G +0.02% , alleging the razor giant's Mach3, Mach3Turbo and Venus brands violate Schick patents held by Energizer.
Glenayre Technologies , a provider of phone message services, said late Friday that a company owned by former employees will take over obligations of discontinued paging services. That operation had $21.3 million in obligations as of Sept. 30, 2003, the company said, and the new accord will help relieve much of that obligation. The company also said its fourth-quarter results, formerly scheduled for release Tuesday, will be posted March 2 instead.
II-VI Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202572630/composite IIVI +0.80% , which makes infrared optical equipment, said late Friday that its board voted to end a shareholder rights defense against potential takeovers. Shareholders will receive 1 cent per share as the company redeems their rights under the plan.
Janus Capital , embarrassed in last year's mutual fund investigations, could see its stock move up 20 percent, Barron's suggested Saturday. Balance-sheet debt reduction impresses Barron's, as well as an 18.5 P/E multiple that's lower than competitors. Prudential Equity's John Hall tells Barron's he expects a price move upward after Janus settles regulatory issues. Separately, Colorado disclosed late Friday that it is in settlement talks with Denver-based Janus over "market-timing" transactions. The state's securities regulators said a $31.5 million offer by Janus to compensate its shareholders is being reviewed and might not be enough, according to a Saturday report in the Rocky Mountain News.
Lifeway Foods /zigman2/quotes/206374013/composite LWAY +1.26% , a maker of health foods, said late Friday that its board approved a 2-for-1 split in its common stock, effective March 8 for shareholders as of Feb. 27. Lifeway said it will have about 8.4 million total common shares outstanding after the split.