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Stocks to Watch: GM, Starbucks and Symantec

Among the companies whose shares are expected to see active trading in Thursday's session are General Motors Corp., Starbucks Corp. and Symantec Corp.

CBS Corp. (CBS) is expected to report first-quarter earnings of 32 cents a share, according to a survey of analysts by Thomson Financial.

Celgene Corp. (CELG) is expected to post earnings of 20 cents a share for the first quarter.

Estée Lauder Cos. (EL) is expected to report third-quarter earnings of 46 cents a share.

General Motors (GM) is expected to post earnings of 87 cents a share for the first quarter.

IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI) is expected to report first-quarter earnings of 33 cents a share.

International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) is expected to report first-quarter earnings of 66 cents a share.

International Paper Co. (IP) is expected to post earnings of 40 cents a share for the first quarter.

OfficeMax Inc. (OMX) is expected to report first-quarter earnings of 93 cents a share.

PPL Corp. (PPL) is expected to post earnings of 70 cents a share for the first quarter.

Starbucks (SBUX) is expected to report second-quarter earnings of 19 cents a share.

Williams Cos. (WMB) is expected to post earnings of 34 cents a share for the first quarter.

After Wednesday's closing bell, Symantec (SYMC) said that while its fiscal fourth-quarter profit fell nearly 50 percent from the year-earlier period, it still managed to beat analysts' expectations.

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Airgas Inc. (ARG) reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $43.7 million, or 54 cents a share, up 31 percent from $33.5 million, or 42 cents a share, during the year-ago period. Revenue at the Radnor, Pa.-based distributor of industrial gasses company rose to $853.9 million from $746.9 million.

Applebee's International (APPB) delivered a first-quarter profit that was sharply lower than last year's, amid hefty charges to cover impairment costs tied to store closings and other like costs. Overland Park, Kan.-based Applebee's said it made $9.5 million, or 13 cents a share, compared with last year's income of $27.2 million, or 36 cents a share. Total revenue also was lower than last year's at $337.6 million.

Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd. (AHL) reported first-quarter net earnings of $121.9 million, or $1.27 a share, up 97 percent from $61.8 million, or 59 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The Bermuda-based insurer said net written premiums in the three months ended March 31 rose to $555.1 million from $451.9 million in the comparable period last year.

Assurant Inc. (AIZ) reported first-quarter net earnings rose 10 percent to $179.5 million, or $1.45 a share, from $162.5 million, or $1.23 a share, in the year-ago period. The New York-based insurance company said revenue in the three months ended March 31 rose to $2.06 billion from $1.93 billion in the comparable period last year.

Atmos Energy Corp.'s (ATO) fiscal second-quarter earnings rose 20 percent to $106.5 million, or $1.20 a share, from $88.8 million, or $1.10 a share, a year earlier. The Dallas natural gas distributor said Wednesday that operating revenue for the quarter ended March 31 climbed to $2.08 billion from $2.03 billion a year earlier.

Avis Budget Group Inc. (CAR) reported first-quarter net earnings of $13 million, or 12 cents a share, down from $70 million, or 70 cents a share, during the year-ago period. Revenue at the Parsippany, N.J.-based provider of vehicle rental services rose to $1.37 billion from $1.34 billion.

CACI International Inc.'s (CAI) fiscal third-quarter earnings fell 14 percent to $18.4 million, or 59 cents a share, from $21.4 million, or 69 cents a share, a year earlier as costs rose 10 percent. The Arlington, Va., information-technology company said Wednesday that revenue for the period ended March 31 rose 8.7 percent to $473.1 million from $435.4 million.

Concur Technologies Inc. (CNQR) reported fiscal second-quarter net earnings of $1.35 million, up 44 percent from $933,000 in the same quarter last year. The company said net income available to common stockholders rose to 3 cents a share from 2 cents a share a year ago. Revenue in the three months ended March 31 rose 31 percent to $30.9 million from $23.5 million a year ago.

Crown Castle International Corp.'s (CCI) first-quarter loss widened to $42.9 million, or 18 cents a share, from $6.72 million, or 6 cents as a share, a year earlier. The Houston wireless communications and broadcast-transmission company's revenue rose 73 percent to $315.7 million from $182.7 million.

DTE Energy Co. (DTE) reported first-quarter net earnings of $134 million, or 76 cents a share, down slightly from $136 million, or 76 cents a share, during the year-ago period. Operating revenue at the Detroit-based utility company rose to $2.73 billion from $2.64 billion.

Eclipsys Corp. (ECLP) swung to first-quarter net income of $2.4 million, or 4 cents a share, from a year-earlier restated loss of nearly $8 million, or 16 cents a share. The Boca Raton, Fla., health-care software company's revenue increased 12 percent to $113 million, from $100.9 million a year earlier.

Endurance Specialty Holdings (ENH) reported first-quarter net earnings of $101.8 million, down from $107 million last year. The company reported earnings available to common shareholders of $98 million, or $1.36 a share, down from $103.2 million, or $1.45 a share, in the year-ago period. The Bermuda-based insurer said revenue in the three months ended March 31 fell to $443.8 million from $481.9 million last year, while net premiums written fell to $533.7 million from $543 million.

Genesis Microchip Inc. (GNSS) said its fiscal fourth-quarter loss widened to $15.5 million, or 42 cents a share, from $317,000, or 1 cent a share, a year earlier. The Santa Clara, Calif., maker of microchips used in flat-panel television and monitors said revenue for the period ended March 31 fell 37 percent to $38.6 million from $60.9 million in the year-ago period.

JDS Uniphase Corp. (JDSU) , a maker of technology networking equipment, late Wednesday said it swung to a fiscal third-quarter net loss of $14.2 million, or 7 cents a share, compared with a net profit of $3.7 million, or 2 cents a share. For the three months ended March 31, sales rose to $361.7 million, up from $314.9 million a year ago, and better than Wall Street's expectations.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) said its first-quarter profit fell 25 percent, largely due to costs associated with the pending opening of new locations. The gaming company said it made $90.9 million, or 26 cents a share, in the quarter ended March 31, compared to $121.8 million, or 34 cents a share, the year before. Revenue rose to $628.2 million from $530.4 million.

Luminex Corp. (LMNX) reported first-quarter net earnings of $136,000, or breakeven a share, down 74 percent from $526,000, or 2 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue in the first quarter rose to $16.6 million from $13 million in the first quarter of 2006.

Millipore Corp.'s (MIL) first-quarter earnings fell 23 percent, due to higher operating expenses and larger interest expense. The Billerica, Mass., bioprocess and biosciences company had first-quarter earnings of $26.7 million, or 49 cents a share, compared with $34.5 million, or 64 cents a share, a year earlier. Millipore said net sales for the quarter rose 39 percent to $372 million from $268.4 million a year ago.

National Financial Partners Corp.'s (NFP) first-quarter profit fell 11 percent to $8.49 million, or 21 cents a share, from $9.46 million, or 24 cents a share, a year earlier. Cash earnings, which exclude amortization, depreciation and impairment of goodwill, rose to $20.8 million, or 53 cents a share, from $20.7 million, or 52 cents a share a year earlier, National Financial Partners said. The New York-based national network of financial advisers said revenue rose 2.5 percent to $244.2 million from $238.3 million in the year-earlier quarter.

Open Text Corp.'s (OTEX) (OTC) fiscal third-quarter net income fell to $3.85 million, or 8 cents a share, from $7.32 million, or 15 cents a share, a year earlier. The Waterloo, Ont., software provider's revenue for the quarter ended March 31 rose 55 percent to $156.1 million from $100.9 million.

Plains All American Pipeline LP's (PAA) first-quarter earnings rose 34 percent, boosted by its acquisition of Pacific Energy. The Houston oil gathering, transportation, marketing and storage company had first-quarter earnings of $84.7 million, or 61 cents a share, compared with $63.4 million, or 71 cents a share, a year earlier.

Prudential Financial Inc. (PRU) said that first-quarter net income came in at $1.025 billion, or $2.18 per common share, up 52 percent from a year earlier when the life insurance and annuity company made $675 million, or $1.38 per common share. After-tax adjusted operating income was $868 million, or $1.85 a share. The insurer stuck with its full-year forecast for after-tax adjusted operating income of $6.80 to $7 a share.

RealNetworks Inc. (RNWK) reported a 60 percent gain in first-quarter earnings Wednesday afternoon. The Seattle-based provider of digital music and gaming services reported earnings of $40 million, or 22 cents per share, compared to earnings of $24.9 million, or 14 cents per share, for the same period last year. Revenue grew 50 percent to $129.5 million.

Realty Income Corp.'s (O) first-quarter net income rose 46 percent to $36.3 million, or 30 cents a share, from $24.9 million, or 27 cents a share, a year earlier. The Escondido, Calif., real estate company said funds from operations rose to $46.5 million, or 46 cents a share, from $35.3 million, or 42 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 29 percent to $71.3 million from $55.1 million a year ago.

Regency Centers Corp. (REG) reported first-quarter net earnings available to common shareholders of $52.1 million, or 75 cents a share, down 21 percent from $65.9 million, or 97 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Funds from operations for the first quarter came in at $79.1 million, or $1.13 a share, up 35 percent from $58.8 million, or 85 cents a share, last year.

SRA International Inc.'s (SRX) fiscal third-quarter net income rose 1.3 percent to $15 million from $14.8 million a year ago. On a per-share basis, earnings remained flat at 26 cents a share. The Fairfax, Va., provider of technology and strategic consulting services said revenue for the quarter ended March 31 increased 7.3 percent to $317.6 million from $296.1 million a year ago.

Sunoco Inc. (SUN) reported first-quarter net income of $175 million, or $1.44 a share, up from $79 million, or 59 cents a share, a year ago. Profits include $90 million from the sale of stock in its Sunoco Logistics limited partnership, in which Sunoco holds a 43 percent stake. There were no special items in the year-ago quarter. Revenue at the Philadelphia-based oil refiner rose 8 percent to $9.31 billion from $8.59 billion.

Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. (SHO) reported first-quarter net earnings of $4.83 million, down from $17.8 million last year. The company posted a loss available to common stockholders of $359,000, or a penny a share, compared with a profit of $13.7 million, or 25 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue in the three months ended March 31 rose to $239.8 million from $197.6 million in the first quarter of 2006.

Superior Energy Services Inc.'s (SPN) first-quarter net income climbed to $64 million, or 78 cents a share, from $32.2 million, or 40 cents a share, a year earlier, on 63 percent higher revenue. The Louisiana provider of specialized oil field services' sales rose to $362.9 million from $222.5 million, boosted by an increase in well intervention revenue.

Tetra Tech Inc.'s (TTEK) second-quarter net income rose to $10.4 million, or 18 cents a share, from $8.96 million, or 16 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue for the quarter ended April 1 rose 8.5 percent to $346 million from $318.9 million a year ago.

Standard & Poor's will add Texas Roadhouse Inc. (TXRH) to the SmallCap 600 after the close of trading on May 8, replacing Global Imagine Systems Inc. (GISX).

S&P will add Res-Care Inc. (RSCR) to the SmallCap 600 on a date to be determined, replacing Dendrite International Inc. (DRTE) . Dendrite is being acquired by Cegedim SA in a deal still pending final approvals.

Thomas Weisel Partners Group Inc.'s (TWPG) first-quarter profit fell 75 percent to $5.4 million, or 20 cents a share, from $21.3 million, or 96 cents a share, a year earlier, when results were boosted by a $10.8 million tax benefit. The San Francisco investment bank said net revenue fell to $76.7 million from $78 million in the year-earlier quarter.

Time Warner Telecom Inc. (TWTC) said its first-quarter loss narrowed to $13.8 million, or 10 cents a share, from $22.3 million, or 19 cents a share, a year earlier. The Littleton, Colo., provider of communication services said revenue rose 40 percent to $261.4 million from $186.2 million.

Unum Group (UNM) said that first-quarter net income came in at $178.3 million, or 51 cents a share, more than double a year earlier when the disability insurer made $73.4 million, or 23 cents a share. Income from continuing operations was $174.6 million, or 50 cents a share, the company added. Income from continuing operations was $174.6 million, or 50 cents a share, the company added.

Valero Energy Corp. (VLO) said it has agreed to sell its 165,000 barrel-per-day refinery in Lima, Ohio, to Husky Energy Inc. (HSE) for $1.9 billion, plus net working capital estimated at $200 million. The sale is expected to close during the second quarter. San Antonio-based Valero announced in February it was exploring alternatives for the Lima refinery, which it acquired through its 2005 purchase of Premcor Inc.

Internet marketing specialist ValueClick Inc. (VCLK) said that its first-quarter profit nearly doubled on a 34 percent surge in sales. For the quarter ended March 31, the Westlake Village, Calif.-based company reported net income rose 90 percent to $18.6 million, or 18 cents a share, compared to $9.8 million or 9 cents a share a year ago. Sales rose 34 percent to $156.9 million, from $117 million a year ago.

VeriSign Inc.'s (VRSN) first-quarter revenue increased 1.6 percent to $378.6 million, from $372.8 million a year earlier. The Mountain View, Calif., Internet payment security provider didn't provide complete first-quarter results, citing a pending restatement that hasn't been completed.

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