Among the companies whose shares are expected to see active trade in Friday's session are Central Garden & Pet Co., Credence Systems Corp. and National Semiconductor Corp.

After Thursday's closing bell, Central Garden (CENT) posted a drop in fourth-quarter earnings and forecast a 2007 profit below Wall Street's average expectation.

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American Ecology Corp. (ECOL) said it sees 2007 earnings of 92 cents to $1.02 per share. The waste-services company also backed its view for 2006 earnings of 85 cents to 90 cents per share.

American Software Inc. (AMSWA) reported second-quarter net earnings of $1.82 million, or 7 cents a share, compared with $819,000, or 3 cents a share, in the same period last year, as sales rose. Excluding stock option compensation, among other items, the Atlanta-based company posted per-share earnings of 8 cents a share.

Applebee's International Inc. (APPB) increased its annual dividend 10 percent to 22 cents from 20 cents a share. The dividend is payable on Jan. 22 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 22.

Atwood Oceanics Inc. (ATW) reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $23.2 million, or 74 cents a share, compared with $6.66 million, or 21 cents a share, in the same period last year, as revenue jumped.

Cascade Corp. (CAE) said third-quarter net income rose, as revenue gained, to $12.3 million, or 94 cents a share, from $10.8 million, or 84 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year. Also, the company is increasing its revolver to $125 million from $25 million to fund potential acquisitions and to provide short-term funding for the share repurchase program.

Central Garden (CENT) said fourth-quarter net earnings fell to $6.02 million, or 25 cents a share, from $6.72 million, or 31 cents a share, in the same period last year, as expenses and income taxes rose. Excluding $9 million in increased brand building and strategic work, the Walnut Creek, Calif.-based producer and marketer of garden and pet supplies posted per-share earnings of 49 cents.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK) is launching a public offering of 30 million shares of its common stock. The Oklahoma City-based natural gas producer said it has granted the underwriter, Deutsche Bank Securities, a 30-day option to buy up to 4.5 million additional shares to cover any over-allotments.

Credence Systems (CMOS) said the fourth-quarter net loss narrowed, as operating expenses fell, to $1.94 million, or 2 cents a share, from a net loss of $22.5 million, or 23 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year.

Diamond Foods Inc. (DMND) reported first-quarter net earnings of $9.64 million, or 61 cents a share, up from $4.07 million, or 26 cents a share, during the year-ago period. The branded-food company posted revenue of $169.5 million vs. $178.1 million.

DTE Energy Co. (DTE) increased its quarterly dividend 2.9 percent to 53 cents from 51.5 cents a share. Additionally, the company said it now expects 2006 per-share operating earnings, excluding synthetic fuels, of $2.52 to $2.63, up from its previous forecast of $2.42 to $2.53 a share.

Duke Realty Corp. (DRE) increased its 2007 outlook for funds from operations to $2.62 to $2.76 a share from $2.58 to $2.72 a share. "We have increased our initial guidance for 2007 based upon the accretive effect of our recent convertible debt offering," said Denny Oklak, chairman and chief executive of the Indianapolis-based real estate investment trust, in a statement

Esterline Technologies Corp. (ESL) reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $18.4 million, or 71 cents a share, up 19% from $15.4 million, or 60 cents a share, during the year-ago period. The company also said it now expects fiscal 2007 per-earnings of $2.45 to $2.60, up from its previous outlook of $2.40 to $2.60, boosted by record backlogs and new products coming to market.

Furniture Brands International Inc. (FBN) said it now sees fourth-quarter sales declining at a rate in the mid-single digits from results during the same period last year. Also, the company now sees a quarterly net loss of 2 cents to 6 cents per share.

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) agreed to pay $14.5 million to settle civil allegations brought by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer over the company's spying on board members, employees and journalists.

IDT Corp. (IDT) said it swung to first-quarter net income, as the company recorded a $240 million gain on the sale of IDT Entertainment and Toucan, of $213.9 million, or $2.43 a share. During the same period in the prior year, the company reported a net loss of $27.9 million, or 28 cents a share.

Ingersoll-Rand Co. (IR) said it has authorized the buyback of up to $2 billion of its Class A shares.

Journal Register Co. (JRC) said advertising revenue for the four weeks ended Nov. 26 fell 5 percent to $33.8 million from $35.6 million during the comparable period in the prior year.

Nanometrics Inc. (NANO) said it has received a favorable Markman decision in the patent infringement case brought by Nova Measuring Instruments Ltd. (NVMI) .

National Semiconductor (NSM) said second-quarter net income fell, as revenue declined, to $91.4 million, or 27 cents a share, from $114.7 million, or 32 cents a share, during the same period in the prior year. The company sees sequential revenue in the third quarter decreasing 8 percent to 11 percent.

NYSE Group Inc. (NYX) said November trading in New York Stock Exchange-listed securities rose 25.5 percent to 58.5 million from 46.6 million units during the same period in the prior year. Monthly NYSE Group-matched volume rose 11 percent, while NYSE Group-handled volume rose 12 percent.

Online Resources Corp. (ORCC) said it sees a first-quarter 2007 per-share net loss of 33 cents to 35 cents on revenue of $30 million to $31.5 million. Pro forma, or "core net income," for the quarter is expected to range from a loss of a penny to a profit of a penny.

Papa John's International Inc. (PZZA) said it sees 2007 earnings per share of $1.48 to $1.56, with domestic comparable sales rising 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent.

Prudential Financial Inc. (PRU) said it is offering of $2 billion of convertible senior notes due 2036. In connection with the offering, the financial services giant said it expects to purchase, under its existing stock buyback authorization, up to $205 million of its common stock.

Reckson Associates Realty Corp. (RA) said its shareholders have approved the company's acquisition by SL Green Realty Corp. (SLG) . The transaction is valued at about $6 billion.

Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. (SWHC) reported second-quarter net earnings of $2.85 million, or 7 cents a share, compared with $692,377, or 2 cents a share, in the same period last year, on the back of strong firearms sales.

TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (AMTD) reported 248,000 average client trades per day in November. Qualified accounts totaled 3.26 million, the Omaha, Neb.-based financial services firm said.

Unifi Inc. (UFI) said it now expects its second-quarter earnings before income, taxes, depreciation and amortization to be less than half of its previous forecast of $10 million to $12 million. The company said a September drop in volume has continued.

Verifone Holdings Inc. (PAY) reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $13.9 million, or 20 cents a share, compared with $12.1 million, or 18 cents a share, in the same period last year, on the back of strong revenue from international business.

Witness Systems Inc. (WITS) said a special committee review found mistakes in the measurement dates of stock-option grants, although it did not find evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation.

Xilinx Inc. (XLNX) said it now sees third-quarter sequential sales falling 2 percent to 5 percent due to weaker than anticipated turns business in November, particularly from communications customers. The company had expected a sequential increase of 2 percent to 5 percent.

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