Stocks to Watch, Oct. 13: Aetna, La-Z-Boy

Among the companies whose shares are expected to see active trade in Friday's session are Aetna Inc., La-Z-Boy Inc. and CalAmp Corp.'s Investing Center

After Thursday's closing bell, Aetna (AET) said it will lay off 650 staff, or about 2 percent of its total workforce, in a move to cut administrative costs.

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Acme Packet Inc.'s (APKT) initial public offering of 11.5 million shares priced at $9.50 each, raising more than $109 million, and coming in above the expected range of $8 to $9. Shares of the maker of gear for secure voice over Internet services are due to start trading Friday on the Nasdaq under the symbol "APKT."

Ametek Inc. (AME) said it expects third-quarter and full-year 2006 results to "substantially exceed" its prior outlook due to strong internal growth and contributions from acquired businesses.

AstraZeneca Plc (AZN) said the Food and Drug Administration has approved Nexium for the treatment of Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome. Nexium, a prescription proton pump inhibitor, is already indicated for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease in adults and children ages 12 to 17.

Baldor Electric Co. (BEZ) said third-quarter net income rose, as revenue gained, to $12.2 million, or 37 cents a share, from $11.2 million, or 33 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year. Analysts had expected per-share income of 40 cents.

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. said it has agreed with Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer Inc. (PFE) to buy the U.S. rights to the over-the-counter Zantac product line for $509.5 million in cash.

CalAmp (CAMP) reported second-quarter net earnings of $1.24 million, or 5 cents a share, compared with $3.68 million, or 16 cents a share, during the year-ago period. The wireless equipment provider posted revenue of $57.9 million vs. $57.7 million.

Centex Corp. (CTX) said it now sees second-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations of 65 cents to 75 cents, compared with its July view of $1.40. The company said net sales for the quarter fell 28 percent to 6,828 orders from the same period in the prior year.

ConAgra Inc. (CAG) said it has named Andre Hawaux chief financial officer, effective Nov. 13. He replaces John Gehring, who was appointed acting CFO last week.

DryShips Inc. (DRYS) said it sees third-quarter per-share income cut by 68 cents from the settlement and closing of freight forward agreements entered into in the previous quarters.

Endo Pharmaceuticals Holdings Inc. (ENDP) said a unit has acquired all of the outstanding stock of RxKinetix Inc. for an initial payment of up to $20 million, with the potential for an additional $95 million. Endo sees the deal cutting 2006 adjusted earnings by 2 cents per share, excluding certain expenses.

EZCorp Inc. (EZPW) said it now expects fourth-quarter per-share earnings of 61 cents to 64 cents, up from its previous forecast of 43 cents to 46 cents. Analysts are estimating fourth-quarter earnings of 45 cents a share.

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) said it has named Jon Hoak chief ethics and compliance officer. Hoak will be responsible for H-P's adherence to its business conduct standards, and report to Chairman and Chief Executive Mark Hurd until a general counsel is named.

Huntington Bancshares Inc. (HBAN) said two items will add 19 cents a share to its third-quarter earnings, which the company expects to be 65 cents a share.

IHOP Corp. (IHP) said third-quarter same-store sales rose 1.3 percent from the same period in the prior year. The restaurant operator said the growth "was entirely driven" by higher guest traffic.

Indevus Pharmaceuticals Inc. (IDEV) said it has submitted a new drug application to the Food and Drug Administration seeking approval for Sanctura XR to treat patients with overactive bladder.

La-Z-Boy (LZB) cut its fiscal second-quarter profit forecast on lower-than-expected sales.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) said it has acquired Colloquis Inc., a privately held provider of conversational online business solutions that feature natural language-processing technology. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

MSC Software Corp. (MSCS) said it expects third-quarter revenue of $58 million to $60 million. Software license revenue is estimated to be down about 15 percent in the quarter. Revenue in this range may result in a small net loss for period.

Noble International Ltd. (NOBL) said it has acquired Pullman Industries Inc. for around $120 million, including the assumption of debt and deferred consideration. Noble said Pullman is expected to have 2007 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $30 million.

RailAmerica Inc. (RRA) said September's freight carloads fell 6.7 percent to 100,385 from 107,570 during the same period in the prior year. The rail service provider said the sale of the San Luis and Rio Grande Railroad, the E&N Railway and the three Alberta properties accounted for a decrease in carloads.

RF Monolithics Inc. (RFMI) said it swung to net income in the fourth-quarter, as sales rose, of $77,000, or a penny a share. During the same period in the prior year, the quarterly net loss was $202,000, or 3 cents a share.

SAIC Inc.'s (SAI) initial public offering of 75 million shares priced at $15 each, raising $1.13 billion. Shares of the science and engineering firm are due to start trading Friday on the New York Stock exchange under symbol "SAI."'s Investing Center

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