Among the companies whose shares are expected to see active trade in Thursday's session are General Motors Corp., Microsoft and Affymetrix Inc.

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Aetna Inc. (AET) is expected to report earnings per share for the third quarter of 72 cents, according to analysts polled by Thomson First Call.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMY) is expected to post per-share income of 20 cents for the third quarter.

Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) is expected to report third-quarter per-share income of 19 cents.

Eastman Chemical Co. (EMN) is expected to post income of $1.13 per share for the third quarter.

Kellogg Co. (K) is expected to post earnings of 65 cents per share for the third quarter.

Microsoft (MSFT) is expected to post third-quarter income of 65 cents per share.

Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) is expected to report income of 33 cents per share for the third quarter.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts (HOT) is expected to post per-share income of 50 cents for the third quarter.

Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW) is expected to report a third-quarter per-share loss of 4 cents

Wendy's International Inc. (WEN) is expected to report income of 64 cents per share for the third quarter.

After Wednesday's closing bell, General Motors (GM) handed in a narrower third-quarter loss, benefiting from its massive turnaround efforts and improving global automotive operations, especially in its key North America business.

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Abbott Laboratories (ABT) said a subset analysis in the Spirit II clinical trial of the Xience V everolimus-eluting stent system showed positive results in tough-to-treat diabetic patients.

Affymetrix (AFFX) shares surged after the genomics toolmaker swung to a third-quarter loss on higher costs but posted revenue that outpaced Wall Street's average forecast.

Airgas Inc. (ARG) said net earnings in its second quarter rose 33% to $40 million, or 49 cents a share, up from $30 million or 38 cents a share in the year ago period. Analysts had expected earnings of 47 cents a share.

Applebee's International Inc. (APPB) said third-quarter net income dipped, but sales rose and the company came in ahead of forecasts. Applebee's net income was $14.8 million, or 20 cents a share, compared with $22.1 million, or 28 cents a share, in the same period in the prior year.

Ariba Inc. (ARBA) reported its fourth-quarter loss widened slightly, as sales of its software licenses slipped 36%, to $8.4 million, or 13 cents a share, from a loss of $7.3 million or 11 cents a share a year ago.

Business Objects SA (BOBJ) reported third-quarter net earnings of $19.6 million, or 21 cents per American Depositary Share, compared with $19.6 million, or 21 cents per ADS, during the year-ago period. Pro forma earnings were 41 cents a share.

Clear Channel Communications Inc. (CCU) said it is considering strategic alternatives to boost shareholder value, as the radio industry struggles with lackluster stock performance amid uncertainty about changing consumer habits.

DaimlerChrysler AG (DCX) said it has no plans to sell Chrysler Group, aiming to bat down speculation that the unit could be on the block.

Embarq Corp. (EQ) said third-quarter profit fell, but the carrier matched a record for high-speed Internet additions and raised its financial forecast.

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) said it was once again extending its tender offer for the shares of software-maker Mercury Interactive Corp. (MERQ) , which H-P agreed to acquire for $4.5 billion in July. H-P is extending the offer, which had already been extended until Oct. 27, to Nov. 1.

Komag Inc. (KOMG) reported third-quarter profit rose nearly 8% as sales surged by a third. The maker of disks for computer disk drives said net income for the three months ended Oct. 1 rose to $34.5 million, or $1.04 a share, from $32 million, or 97 cents a share, a year earlier.

LSI Logic Corp. (LSI) said it swung to a quarterly profit from last year's same period and set plans to buy a privately-held provider of data storage protection software.

OSI Restaurant Partners Inc. (OSI) said it will delay its third-quarter earnings report after it found that its liability for unearned revenue for unredeemed gift cards and certificates for the quarter was understated.

Medical products maker Owens & Minor Inc. (OMI) said net income fell during the third quarter, due largely to doubtful account provisions and other charges, to $14.5 million, or 36 cents a share, compared with $16.8 million, or 42 cents a share, for the same period a year ago.

Meritage Homes Corp. (MTH) said third-quarter net income fell, as gross margins declined, to $59.5 million, or $2.25 a share, from $70.3 million, or $2.40 a share, during the same period in the prior year. Analysts had expected per-share income of $2.02.

Montpelier Re Holdings Ltd. (MRH) said third-quarter net income came in at $83.3 million, or 86 cents a share. In last year's period, the net loss was $875.1 million, or $12.16 a share.

Oracle Corp. (ORCL) Chief Executive Larry Ellison said his company would begin offering full technological support for Red Hat Inc.'s (RHAT) Linux operating system, effectively quelling speculation that the world's No. 2 software company would unveil its own version of the open-source operating systems.

Pulte Homes Inc. (PHM) reported third-quarter net earnings of $190.2 million, or 74 cents a share, compared with $395.4 million, or $1.50 a share, during the year-ago period. The home builder posted revenue $3.56 billion vs. $3.79 billion.

Swift Transportation Co. (SWFT) said third-quarter net earnings rose to $33.5 million, or 44 cents a share, compared with $12.6 million, or 17 cents a share, in the same period last year, as the company benefited from operational improvements and cost control.

Symantec Corp. (SYMC) said quarterly revenue jumped 20% on strong demand from consumers for its software, though shares of the security- and storage-software giant tumbled more than 7% as results came up shy of Wall Street's hopes amid a disappointing performance in Europe.

Zimmer Holdings Inc. (ZMH) said it made $183.3 million, or 76 cents a share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with $168.6 million, or 67 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier. Adjusted earnings came in at 82 cents a share.

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