Among the companies whose shares are expected to see active trade in Friday's session are Adobe Systems Inc., Oracle Corp. and KB Home.

After Thursday's closing bell, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) said Bill Gates was immediately handing over his role as chief software architect to Chief Technology Officer Ray Ozzie, and will transition out of his day-to-day role at the world's largest software company over the next two years.

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Oracle (ORCL) raised its fiscal fourth-quarter revenue and profit forecast as the software giant saw better-than-expected sales of new software licenses. The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based firm said it sees reporting sales for the quarter of $4.85 billion, or 25% higher than the same period a year earlier. Oracle had previously forecast a rise of 13% to 17%. Oracle said it sees reporting per-share income of 24 cents, higher than its prior forecast of 21 cents to 23 cents a share.

KB Home (KBH) said second-quarter earnings rose from the year-ago period, but the residential builder lowered its profit forecast for the year. Net income for the quarter ended May totaled $206.6 million, compared with $181.5 million in the year-earlier quarter. KB lowered its per-share profit forecast for fiscal 2006 to $10 from $11.25.

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Adobe (ADBE) said Stephen Elop resigned as president of its worldwide field operations and will leave the design-software firm at the end of its fiscal year. Also, the company said its quarterly profit fell 18% as charges stemming from the design-software powerhouse's acquisition of Macromedia Inc. weighed on its bottom line and revenue fell short of its own projections. See full story.

Autobytel Inc. (ABTL) said PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP has resigned as its independent accounting firm. The resignation was not related to any disagreement, Autobytel added.

Baxter International Inc. (BAX) said it has received tentative approvals from the Food and Drug Administration for a generic version of GlaxoSmithKline Plc's Zofran, used to prevent nausea and vomiting.

Boston Scientific Corp. (BSX) said the U.S. District Court in Delaware has upheld a July 2005 jury verdict in a patent case against Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) . The ruling denies J&J's motion to overturn the verdict, in which the jury had found that J&J's Cypher stent product infringed a Boston Scientific drug coating patent.

California Micro Devices Inc. (CAMD) cut its first-quarter revenue forecast by $2 million, to a range of $15 million to $16 million. The company estimates it will lose between 12 cents and 13 cents a share, compared to a profit of 2 cents a share in the year-ago period.

H.J. Heinz Co. (HNZ) advised shareholders to reject a bid by certain investors to elect up to five of their representatives as directors. The investors have acquired a 5.4% position in Heinz, and are Trian Partners Master Fund L.P., and principals Nelson Peltz and Peter May, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Journal Register Co. (JRC) said total advertising revenue for the four weeks ended May 28 fell 1.6% to $35.4 million compared with $36 million during the comparable period in the prior year.

Linear Technology Corp. (LLTC) said it has received an informal inquiry from the Securities and Exchange Commission on its past stock options grants. The Milpitas, Calif.-based manufacturer of linear integrated circuits also said it doesn't expect the previously disclosed derivative lawsuits against the company to have a "material effect on its results of operation or financial condition."

Medarex Inc. (MEDX) has received a grand jury subpoena requesting information and documentation related to the antibody developer's past stock option grants and practices, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Neurocrine Biosciences Inc. (NBIX) after Thursday's closing bell said it has completed its review of the Food and Drug Administration's action letters on its new sleep aid, indiplon, and has requested a meeting with the agency.

Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC) said it has been awarded a $20 million contract modification from the Navy for further work on the LHA 6 amphibious assault ship.

Omnivision Technologies Inc. (OVTI) reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $22.5 million, or 39 cents a share, up 28% from $17.7 million, or 30 cents a share, during the year-ago period. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company, which designs and markets high-performance semiconductor image sensors, posted revenue of $131.8 million vs. $103 million.

Progressive Gaming International Corp. (PGIC) named Heather Rollo chief financial officer. Rollo joined the company in February 2005 as chief accounting officer.

RF Monolithics Inc. (RFMI) said higher revenue boosted third-quarter net income to $413,000, or 5 cents a share, from $58,000, or a penny a share, during the same period in the prior year.

Sangamo BioSciences Inc. (SGMO) priced an offering of 3.1 million shares of common stock.

Smithfield Foods Inc. (SFD) said Joseph Luter III will give up the title of chief executive officer after 31 years in the job, but remain non-executive chairman of the board. C. Larry Pope, the current president and chief operating officer, will take over as CEO.

Steel Partners II LP, an activist hedge fund, offered to acquire Bairnco Corp. (BZ) for $12 a share, valuing the maker of blades and other metal components at $88.7 million.

Stratos International Inc. (STLW) said lower operating expenses helped narrow the fourth-quarter net loss to $418,000, or 9 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $2.35 million, or 18 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year.

Weyerhaeuser Co. (WY) increased its quarterly dividend 20% to 60 cents from 50 cents a share. The dividend is payable Aug. 28 to shareholders of record as of Aug. 4, the Federal Way, Wash.-based forest products company said.

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