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Stocks to Watch, Sept. 21: Hospira and Nike

Among the companies whose shares are expected to see active trade in Thursday's session are Hospira Inc., Nike Inc. and Bed, Bath & Beyond Inc.

3Com Corp. (COMS) is expected to report a per-share loss of a penny for the first quarter, according to analysts polled by Thomson First Call.

A.G. Edwards (AGE) is expected to post per-share income of 87 cents for the second quarter.

Cognos Inc. (COGN) is expected to report earnings of 27 cents per share for the second quarter.

ConAgra Food Inc. (CAG) is expected to post per-share income of 23 cents for the first quarter.

FedEx Corp. (FDX) is expected to report earnings of $1.52 per share for the first quarter.

Finish Line Inc. (FINL) is expected to post income of 20 cents per share for the second quarter.

General Mills Inc. (GIS) is expected to report first-quarter per-share income of 67 cents.

Nike (NKE) is expected to post income of $1.41 for the first quarter.

Palm Inc. (PALM) is expected to post first-quarter earnings of 18 cents for the first quarter.

Rite Aid Corp. (RAD) is expected to report a per-share loss of 2 cents for the second quarter.

After Wednesday's closing bell, Hospira (HSP) said it has agreed to buy Australian generic pharmaceuticals maker Mayne Pharma Ltd. (MYP) for $2 billion.

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Agilent Technologies Inc. (A) said it has approved the buyback of $2 billion of its common shares over the next two years.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ALXN) said it has submitted a biologics license application, and requested Priority Review designation, with the Food and Drug Administration for its lead product candidate Soliris. Soliris is a candidate treatment for a rare genetic blood disorder.

AMR Corp.'s (AMR) American Airlines said it signed a 5-year service agreement with the U.S. Postal Service potentially worth $500 million in revenue to American.

Axcan Pharma Inc. (AXCA) said it will no longer pursue the clinical development of Itopride for the treatment of Functional Dyspepsia after the product didn't meet its co-primary endpoints in a North American Phase III clinical study.

Housewares retailer Bed, Bath & Beyond (BBBY) reported its second-quarter earnings rose on slightly higher revenue, and added it was conducting a review of its stock-option grants and procedures.

BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc. (BCRX) said Charles Bugg, chairman, chief executive and co-founder, told the board that he intends to retire in 2007. Bugg will retain his duties as CEO until a replacement has taken office, when he will become non-executive chairman.

Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB) and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ALNY) plan to collaborate to develop RNAi therapeutics for the potential treatment of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, or PML.CCF Holding Co. (CCFH) said its board declared a 6.5 cent dividend for the current quarter, up 8.3 percent from the previous quarter.

Cintas Corp. (CTAS) earned $85 million, or 53 cents a share in its fiscal first quarter, an 8 percent gain over the $78.4 million, or 46 cents, it earned in the year-ago period. Revenue stood at $914.2 million, up 11 percent.

Comtech Telecommunications Corp. (CMTL) said fourth-quarter net income rose, as revenue gained, to $11.8 million, or 45 cents a share, from $11 million, or 42 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year.

Diamond Foods Inc. (DMND) reported a fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $3.36 million compared with net deficiency of $3.01 million a year ago when the company was a cooperative association and hadn't yet had its initial public offering.

Dynamex Inc. (DDMX) reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $3.31 million, or 31 cents a share, compared to $2.72 million, or 23 cents a share, in the same period last year on the back of stronger sales.

Electronic Arts Inc. (ERTS) said it has received an informal inquiry from the Securities and Exchange Commission requesting documents and information relating to its stock-option grant practices since Jan. 1, 1997.

Energy Transfer Partners L.P. (ETP) plans to build a natural-gas processing facility in Johnson County, Texas, and a 36-inch-diameter pipeline expansion, also in Texas. The expansion project is expected to cost about $300 million.

Herman Miller Inc. (MLHR) said fiscal first-quarter profit jumped 20.3 percent as increased orders helped drive a 4 percent sales jump.

Hilton Hotels Corp. (HLT) said it has sold five hotel properties in Canada for C$243 million ($215.4 million) to Westmont Hospitality Group.

InfoSpace Inc. (INSP) said one of its carrier partners plans to develop direct licensing relationships with the major record labels starting early next year, a move that the company said will negatively impact its revenues and operating results.

Intervoice Inc. (INTV) said second-quarter net income fell, as cost of goods sold rose, to $2.02 million, or 5 cents a share, from $4.6 million, or 12 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year.

Newpark Resources Inc. (NR) said it named James Braun chief financial officer, effective Oct. 11. Braun joins Newpark from Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI) , where he was most recently vice president, finance, of the company's Baker Oil Tools unit.

Novell Inc. (NOVL) received a potential delisting notice from Nasdaq because the company delayed filing its quarterly report for the period ended July 31.

Nucryst Pharmaceuticals Corp. (NCST) (NCS) said results from the Phase II study of its drug candidate NPI 32101 in a topical cream formulation did not meet the primary efficacy endpoint.

Silicon Laboratories Inc. (SLAB) cut its quarterly financial targets, adding to the list of chip merchants lowering their expectations.

Spectrum Control Inc. (SPEC) said third-quarter earnings rose to $1.85 million, or 14 cents a share, from $1.56 million, or 12 cents a share, a year ago, on higher sales of the company's microwave products.

West Pharmaceutical Services Inc. (WST) said it has increased its fourth-quarter cash dividend 8.3% to 13 cents a share. The dividend is payable Nov. 1 to shareholders as of Oct. 18.

Xyratex Ltd. (XRTX) reported third-quarter net earnings of $17.8 million, or 60 cents a share, compared with $7.86 million, or 27 cents a share, during the year-ago period. The maker of data storage equipment posted revenue of $263.1 million vs. $163.9 million.

Zebra Technologies Corp. (ZBRA) said Edward Kaplan, its co-founder, plans to retire as chairman and chief executive once his successor is chosen.

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