Among the companies whose shares are expected to see active trading in Friday's session are General Electric Co., Apple Inc., and Merck & Co.
General Electric (GE) is expected to report first-quarter earnings of 44 cents a share, according to a survey of analysts by Thomson Financial.
Infosys Technologies Ltd. (INFY) is expected to post earnings of 40 cents a share for the fourth quarter.
After Thursday's closing bell, Apple (AAPL) said it would delay by four months the release of Leopard, the next upgrade to its Macintosh computer operating system, due to having to allocate software and engineering resources in order to ready its upcoming iPhone for its scheduled June debut.
Also, Merck (MRK) said it anticipates higher-than-expected first-quarter earnings due to strong revenue performance across its range of products. The Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based pharmaceutical company said it now sees first-quarter earnings of 84 cents a share, excluding restructuring charges related to site closures and position eliminations. On a reported basis, per-share earnings are expected to be 78 cents. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial are currently estimating first-quarter earnings of 64 cents a share. Additionally, the company raised its full-year 2007 outlook, saying it now expects earnings of $2.75 to $2.85 a share, excluding items, and reported per-share earnings of $2.60 to $2.75. Analysts are looking for per-share earnings of $2.66 for the year. The outlook doesn't reflect the establishment of any reserves for any potential liability relating to the Vioxx litigation, Merck noted
And, CBS Corp. (CBS) canceled Don Imus' morning radio show, reacting to the advertiser pullouts and widespread calls for his firing that followed his racially disparaging remarks about the Rutgers University women's basketball team.
Anika Therapeutics Inc. (ANIK) received European marketing approval for commercial sale of cosmetic dermatology product Elevess. The Woburn, Mass., company said Elevess is an injectable soft tissue filler used for facial wrinkles, scar remediation and lip augmentation. Anika said commercial launch of the product in the European Union and around the world is expected to start in the second half of the year. Anika said it filed a supplement to the premarket approval application for U.S. approval of Elevess.
Bally Total Fitness (BFT) obtained a forbearance agreement from the lenders under its $284 million senior secured credit facility. The Chicago fitness center operator said, under the agreement, the lenders will forbear from exercising any remedies under their credit ability as a result of defaults due to Bally's inability to provide its 2006 financial statements. Bally also said the scheduled interest payment of about $15 million due on the senior subordinated notes on April 16 will not be paid.
CMS Energy Corp. (CMS) agreed to sell CMS Energy Brazil SA to Brazilian utility CPFL Energia SA for $211.1 million. CMS, a Dearborn, Mich., energy holding company, and its CMS Electric and Gas unit said Thursday that the sale is slated to close by the end of the second quarter pending Brazilian regulatory approval. CMS Energy Brazil, a holding company for a group of Brazilian electric-distribution companies, provides service to about 172,000 customers, mostly in the state of Sao Paulo. CMS Energy said sale proceeds will be used to reduce debt and invest in its Michigan utility, Consumers Energy.
Dyax Corp. (DYAX) announced positive top-line results from a Phase III trial for its lead product candidate DX-88, a treatment for hereditary angioedema, a rare genetic disease characterized by episodes of acute swelling and inflammation. Statistically significant results were achieved for both the primary and secondary endpoints in the trial, Cambridge, Mass-based Dyax said. Shares of Dyax leapt as much as 50% in after-hours trade.
Ihop Corp.'s (IHP) first-quarter same-store sales rose 0.5% from a year ago. Same-store sales are sales at restaurants open at least one year. The Glendale, Calif., restaurant chain also reaffirmed its 2007 growth outlook of 2% to 4% in same-store sales.
JetBlue Airways Corp. (JBLU) said it has named Jim Hnat as executive vice president of corporate affairs, and has realigned its leadership reporting structure. The corporate affairs team will report to the Office of the Chief Executive Officer, David Neeleman, the airline's founder and CEO, and President Dave Barger, the company said.
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. (KKD) reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $24.4 million, or 39 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $37.7 million, or 61 cents a share, during the year-ago period. The Winston-Salem, N.C.-based company posted revenue of $112.2 million vs. $122.2 million. The results include a $16 million charge related to the previously announced settlement of the class-action litigation and partial settlement of the shareholder derivative action. Also during the quarter, Krispy Kreme recorded a $2.1 million provision for doubtful accounts and a $1.3 million charge related to the proposed settlement of certain wage and hour complaints lodged against the company. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had forecast fourth-quarter earnings of a penny. System-wide sales for the quarter fell 6.4% compared with a year ago, the company said.
Lam Research Corp. (LRCX) reported fiscal third-quarter net earnings of $164.7 million, or $1.15 a share, up 91% from $86.3 million, or 60 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The Fremont, Calif.-based chip-equipment maker said revenue in the three months ended March 25 rose to $650.3 million from $437.4 million in the comparable period last year. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were expecting, on average, a per-share profit of $1.06 on revenue of $644 million.
Lear Corp. (LEA) said it has scheduled its annual meeting for June 27, where shareholders are expected to vote on the company's merger agreement with Carl Icahn affiliate American Real Estate Partners. The deal, which values the Southfield, Mich.-based Lear at about $5.3 billion, or $36 a share, faces strong opposition from several shareholders. Lear said shareholders will also vote on a management proposal to declassify the company's board.
Merck (MRK) expressed disappointment after the Food and Drug Administration's Arthritis Advisory Committee voted against recommending approval of Arcoxia, the company's osteoarthritis treatment. Arcoxia has been under review by the FDA since December 2003 and Merck said the drug is currently available in 63 countries. "We are committed to continuing to work with the FDA to discuss the application in an effort to gain U.S. regulatory approval for Arcoxia," said Peter Kim, president of Merck Research Laboratories, in a statement. The panel voted 20-to-1 against approval of the drug amid concerns it raises the risks of heart attacks and strokes. The FDA usually follows the advice of its panels but is not required to. The FDA is expected to make a final decision on Arcoxia by the end of April.
National Fuel Gas Co. (NFG) said its exploration and production unit, Seneca Resource Corp., is exploring the sale of its Canadian unit, Seneca Energy Canada. The Williamsville, N.Y., energy company said Seneca hired Scotia Waterous to serve as financial adviser for the process.
Physicians Formula Holdings Inc. (FACE) said that certain selling stockholders will offer of 4.39 million shares. Physicians Formula, an Azusa, Calif.-based cosmetics company, said it will not receive any proceeds from the sale of the shares but will pay the expenses of the offering. The selling stockholders, which include entities affiliated with Summit Partners and Cosmetics International Investments S.A., will grant the underwriters an option to acquire an additional 658,650 shares to cover any over-allotments.
Planar Systems Inc. (PLNR) cut its second-quarter forecast to a loss of 20 cents to 22 cents a share, down from a previous estimate of a loss of 6 cents to 9 cents a share, citing lower than anticipated sales of Control Room rear projection cubes and other home theater products. Excluding share-based compensation and other charges, the company expects a loss of 7 cents to 9 cents a share, down from net income of 4 cents to 7 cents a share. The Beaverton, Ore., embedded display systems developer also lowered revenue estimates to $53 million to $54 million, down from $57 million to $61 million.
Urologix Inc. (ULGX) said it expects to post a third-quarter loss on revenue of about $5.1 million. During the second quarter of fiscal 2007, the Minneapolis-based medical device company reported revenue of $6 million
Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW) said it has agreed to acquire SavaJe Technologies' intellectual property assets. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Sun said the transaction is not material to its earnings per share. Chelmsford, Mass.-based SavaJe makes an operating system for mobile devices. Sun Micro is based in Santa Clara, Calif.
Varian Medical Systems Inc. (VAR) said expects its second-quarter earnings to be slightly higher than its previous forecast of 46 cents a share, while orders in the recent period grew 12%, to about $480 million. The Palo Alto, Calif., medical-equipment maker expects revenue growth of 7% for the period ended March 31, at the lower end of its expectation forecast of 7% to 9%. Excluding its recently acquired Accel instrument business, second-quarter revenue was slightly weaker than the company expected because of slowness in its oncology systems business, where orders grew 2%.