Among the companies whose shares are expected to see active trade in Wednesday's session are Hewlett-Packard Co., Applied Materials Inc., Biogen Idec Inc. and RealNetworks Inc.

Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT) is expected to report fiscal first-quarter earnings of 16 cents a share, according to analysts polled by Thomson First Call.

Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB) is seen posting a profit 47 cents a share in its fourth quarter

Caremark Rx Inc.'s (CMX) fourth-quarter earnings are expected to be 55 cents a share.

Expedia Inc. (EXPE) is expected to post a per-share profit of 25 cents in its fourth quarter.

Genzyme Corp. (GENZ) is seen reporting earnings of 60 cents a share in its fourth quarter.

Hewlett-Packard Co.'s (HPQ) fiscal first-quarter profit is expected to be 44 cents a share.

Jones Apparel Group Inc. (JNY) is expected to report a profit of 45 cents a share in its fourth quarter.

Network Appliance Inc. (NTAP) is seen posting a per-share profit of 21 cents in its fiscal third quarter.

Progress Energy Inc.'s (PGN) fourth-quarter results are expected to show earnings of 52 cents a share.

Synopsys Inc. (SNPS) is expected to post earnings of 14 cents a share in its fiscal first quarter.

After Tuesday's closing bell, RealNetworks Inc. (RNWK) said it swung to a profit in the fourth quarter, aided by a $434.4 million gain related to a legal settlement with Microsoft Corp. See full story. See After Hours column.

Watch List

Abercrombie & Fitch Co.'s (ANF) earnings rose 58% in the fourth quarter, sparked by sales of jeans and shirts and redemption of gift cards. But the casual-wear retailer warned investors that earnings expectations for this year were overblown. See full story.

Aflac Inc. (AFL) increased its quarterly dividend by 18.2%, to 13 cents from 11 cents a share. The dividend is payable March 1 to shareholders as of Feb. 17, the Columbus, Ga.-based insurance company said. Additionally, Aflac said it has approved the repurchase of 30 million shares of its common stock. The authorization is in addition to the 17 million shares that remain under its previous buyback program as of Dec. 31.

Ball Corp. (BLL) said it has agreed to acquire U.S. Can Corp.'s U.S. and Argentinean operations for 1.1 million shares of Ball stock and the repayment of $550 million of U.S. Can's debt. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the first quarter. Ball expects the acquisitions to add to its earnings during its first year of ownership.

Blue Coat Systems Inc.'s (BCSI) forecast results for the current quarter that are well below analysts' estimates. See full story.

Cephalon Inc. (CEPH) reported lowered fourth-quarter earnings while boosting its 2006 revenue outlook by $200 million. See full story.

Dade Behring Holdings Inc (DADE) said fourth-quarter net income was $34.3 million, or 38 cents a share, compared with $24 million, or 26 cents a share, during the same period last year. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had expected per-share income of 36 cents. The medical supplies company said quarterly revenue was $420.8 million, compared with $420 million last year. Analysts were looking for revenue of $440 million. Dade also said it is increasing the quarterly dividend 67% to 5 cents from 3 cents a share and that it has approved a 5 million-share buyback.

Delta Air Lines Inc. (DALRQ) reported a $1.24 billion net loss for the fourth quarter, narrower than the $2.21 billion in red ink in the year-prior period when the company was not bankrupt. See full story.

Ingram Micro Inc. (IM) said its quarterly profit rose 7% on the strength of broad-based gains in the technology products distributor's sales. See full story.

IRobot Corp. (IRBT) reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $15,000, or breakeven on a per-share basis, compared with $214,000, or a penny a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue at the Burlington, Mass.-based maker of behavior-based robots rose to $46.5 million from $37.5 million.

Itron Inc. (ITRI) said fourth-quarter net income was $16.9 million, or 65 cents a share. During the same period last year, the company reported a net loss of $7.01 million or 33 cents a share. Pro forma per-share income for the quarter was 59 cents, compared with 40 cents last year. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were looking for per-share income of 48 cents. The energy and water delivery technology company reported quarterly revenue of $160 million, compared with $131.4 million last year. Analysts were looking for revenue of $145 million.

JDS Uniphase Corp. (JDSU) agreed to sell its Ottawa manufacturing operations to Fabrinet for an undisclosed sum. The deal, which marks the final phase in JDSU's plan to move all optical communications assembly manufacturing to Asia, is expected to close in the third quarter. Fabrinet, an engineering and electromechanical manufacturing services company, is based in San Francisco.

Strong revenue growth at its casinos in both its hometown and Macao helped Las Vegas Sands (LVS) push its fourth-quarter profit sharply higher. See full story.

National Financial Partners (NFP) reported fourth-quarter profit late Tuesday that climbed above analyst expectations. Net income came in at $21.1 million, or 54 cents a share, up 76% from $12 million, or 32 cents a share, in the fourth quarter of 2004, the financial-services company said. Cash earnings, were $32.6 million, or 83 cents a share, during the period. National Financial was expected to make 81 cents a share, according to the average forecast of 12 analysts in a Thomson First Call poll.

Photronics Inc. (PLAB) said first-quarter net income was $9.69 million, or 21 cents a share, compared with $4.55 million, or 13 cents a share, during the year-earlier period. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had expected per-share income of 13 cents. The photomask maker said quarterly revenue was $111.9 million, compared with $101.2 million last year. Analysts were looking for revenue of $107 million.

Sigma-Aldrich Corp. (SIAL) , which makes chemicals and laboratory materials, posted a stronger fourth-quarter profit as well as 17% higher sales. See full story.

Smart & Final Inc. (SMF) said fourth-quarter net income was $9.26 million, or 29 cents a share, compared with $4.19 million, or 13 cents a share, during the same-period last year. The food and supplies retailer said quarterly revenue was $456.8 million, compared with $471.2 million last year. Two analysts polled by Thomson First Call had expected on average revenue of $465 million.