Stocks to Watch, Nov. 8: Sirius, Novell and Merck

Among the companies whose shares are expected to see active trade in Wednesday's session are Sirius Satellite Radio Inc., Novell Inc. and Merck & Co.

Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc. (BRL) is expected to report earnings per share for the first quarter of 74 cents, according to analysts polled by Thomson First Call.

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BMC Software Inc. (BMC) is expected to report second-quarter per-share income of 32 cents.

Cablevision Systems Corp. (CVC) is expected to report a per-share loss of 15 cents for the third quarter.

Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) is expected to post first-quarter per-share income of 29 cents.

DirecTV Group Inc. (DTV) is expected to report income of 27 cents per share for the third quarter.

Federated Department Stores Inc. (FD) is expected to report per-share income for the third quarter of 25 cents.

Houston Exploration Co. (THX) is expected to report third-quarter earnings of 78 cents per share.

PG&E Corp. (PCG) is expected to post third-quarter per-share income of 67 cents.

Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. (RL) is expected to post second-quarter per-share income of $1.06.

Sirius Satellite Radio (SIRI) is expected to report a per-share loss of 14 cents for the third quarter.

After Tuesday's closing bell, Novell (NOVL) unveiled the finances of its new software partnership with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) . See full story.

Watch list

American Express Co. (AXP) said it has increased its return on equity target to 33% to 36% from a previous range of 28% to 30%. The company said the new target takes effect this quarter.

Bob Evans Farms Inc. (BOBE) said October same-store sales at its restaurants increased 3% from the same period a year ago. Same-store sales for the fiscal second quarter rose 1.3%, the company said.

Career Education Corp. (CECO) reported third-quarter net earnings of $20.7 million, or 22 cents a share, compared with $54.9 million, or 53 cents a share, in the same period last year, as sales fell and expenses rose. The provider of postsecondary education said revenue fell 7% to $462.4 million from $497.5 million.

Cosi Inc. (COSI) said its third-quarter net loss widened to $2.86 million, or 7 cents a share, from $2.43 million, or 6 cents a share, in the same period last year. Revenue rose to $33 million from $30.8 million.

Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. (HOV) said it expects to incur pretax inventory impairment charges and land option deposit write-off charges of about $300 million in the fourth quarter. Net of the charges, the home builder said it sees a net loss for the quarter.

Merck (MRK) disclosed four separate tax disputes in Canada and the United States with potential liabilities totaling $5.58 billion, according to a media report late Tuesday. Merck said it plans to dispute the liabilities.

OSI Systems Inc. (OSIS) reported a first-quarter net loss of $6.04 million, or 36 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $4.19 million, or 26 cents a share, during the year-ago period. The maker of security and inspection systems posted revenue of $115.5 million vs. $101.9 million.

Time Warner Telecom Inc. (TWTC) reported a third-quarter net loss of $11.4 million, or 9 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $23.4 million, or 20 cents a share, during the year-ago period. Excluding non-cash stock-based compensation expenses, the per-share loss was 6 cents vs. 20 cents a year ago.

The Los Angeles Times, a unit of Tribune Co. (TRB) , said it has named James O'Shea to succeed Dean Baquet as editor, effective Nov. 13. O'Shea is currently managing editor of the Chicago Tribune.

UTStarcom Inc. (UTSI) said it's delaying the release of its third-quarter results and the filing of its third-quarter Form 10-Q as it conducts a voluntary review of its historical stock option grant practices.

Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) swung to a third-quarter earnings gain of $715.7 million, or $6.43 a share boosted by a sale in Macau. A year ago, the company reported a loss of $9.2 million, or 9 cents a share.

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