Among the companies whose shares are expected to see active trade in Thursday's session are Merck & Co., Research In Motion Ltd., Constellation Brands Inc. and Rite Aid Corp.

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American Greetings Corp. (AM) is expected to report fourth-quarter earnings of 47 cents a share, according to analysts polled by Thomson First Call.

Constellation Brands Inc. (STZ) is seen posting a per-share profit of 36 cents a share in its fourth quarter.

Lawson Software (LWSN) is seen posting fiscal third-quarter earnings of 7 cents a share.

Pier 1 Imports Inc. (PIR) is expected to post a per-share profit of a penny in its fourth quarter.

Research In Motion Ltd.'s (RIMM) fourth-quarter profit is expected to be 67 cents a share.

Rite Aid Corp. (RAD) is seen posting fourth-quarter earnings of 2 cents a share.

After Wednesday's closing bell, a jury ordered Merck & Co. (MRK) to pay $4.5 million to a New Jersey man and his wife, finding that the drug company's painkiller Vioxx caused his heart attack. See After Hours column.

Watch List

American Eagle Outfitters (AEOS) turned in a 3% increase in same-store sales. That was short of the average 3.8% rise analysts reporting to Thomson First Call were expecting. Total sales jumped 10% to $344.7 million.

Aeropostale (ARO) disappointed investors with a 9.3% drop in sales at stores open longer than a year. Analysts reporting to Thomson First Call were looking for a decrease of 3.2%, on average. Total sales rose 9% to $94.9 million.

Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) reported a sharply higher profit in its fiscal fourth quarter. See full story.

Bombay Co. (BBA) said March same-store sales fell 1.7% compared to the same period last year. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were looking for an increase of 1.3% for the period.

Boston Scientific Corp. (BSX) said it has entered into an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission, essentially resolving all antitrust issues over its planned acquisition of Guidant Corp. The agreement is subject to review by FTC commissioners. The company added that it expects the European Commission to conclude its review of the deal by April 18. Boston Scientific agreed to buy Guidant in January for $80 a share, or $27 billion total.

Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corp. (BCF) said third-quarter net income was $58.3 million, or $1.30 a share, down from $66.7 million, or $1.49 a share, during the same period last year. The retailer said quarterly revenue was $1.03 billion, up from $975.6 million last year.

Brookfield Homes Corp. (BHS) said first-quarter net new orders totaled 227, down 56% from 517 during the same period last year. The decline was primarily in the San Diego/Riverside, Calif. and Washington markets.

Christopher & Banks Corp. (CBK) reported fourth-quarter net income of $6.68 million, or 18 cents a share, compared with $3.85 million, or 11 cents a share, for the same period a year ago. The Minneapolis-based women's clothier said sales were $126.6 million vs. last year's $119.3 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected the company to report earnings of 17 cents a share.

Guidant Corp. (GDT) said first-quarter preliminary sales figures show the company likely will beat revenue forecasts, but it will take three charges during the period. See full story.

Hot Topic Inc. (HOTT) said its March sales at stores open at least one year fell 12.7%. Analysts, on average, had expected it to post a same-store sales drop of 8.7%, according to Thomson First Call. The clothing retailer also lowered its first-quarter forecast to a range of a loss of 1 cent to 4 cents a share, and a same-store sales decline in the mid to high single-digit range.

Men's Wearhouse Inc. (MW) said its March sales at U.S. stores open at least one year fell 0.9%. Analysts, on average, had expected it to post a same-store sales drop of 1.3%, according to Thomson First Call. Total U.S. sales for the four weeks ended April 1, rose 1.1% to $148 million, while total company sales rose 2.1% to $162.9 million.

Network Appliance Inc. (NTAP) said it would take a fiscal fourth-quarter tax expense of between $17 million and $20 million, or between 4.5 cents and 5 cents a share. The storage-technology company said it would take the charge after its foreign subsidiary, Network Appliance Global Ltd., paid a $550 million cash dividend as part of a one-time repatriation of cash under the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004. The subsidiary borrowed $300 million to fund a portion of the repatriation.

Phelps Dodge (PD) , cashing in on a record surge in copper prices, said it will pay out a special dividend of $2 per share, or about $400 million, as part of its multibillion-dollar plan to reward shareholders. See full story.

WD-40 Co. (WDFC) reported fiscal second-quarter net earnings of $7.23 million, or 43 cents a share, up 37% from $5.28 million, or 31 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue at the San Diego-based maker of lubricants and household products rose 17% to $71.5 million from $ $61.1 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had forecast earnings of 31 cents a share on revenue of $69 million.

Websense Inc. (WBSN) said it expects first-quarter earnings of 16 cents to 17 cents a share on revenue of $42.3 million to $42.5 million. On a pro forma basis, per-share earnings are expected to be between 23 cents and 24 cents. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call are currently estimating per-share earnings of 23 cents on revenue of $43 million for the quarter.

West Marine Inc. (WMAR) said its first-quarter same-store sales increased 4.8% compared with the same period a year ago. The Watsonville, Calif.-based boating supplies and accessories retailer said net sales for the 13 weeks ended April 1 were $132.7 million, an increase of 5.8% from net sales of $125.3 million a year ago.

William Lyon Homes Inc. (WLS) said its preliminary results showed 647 new home orders in the first quarter, down 26% from 873 in the same period last year. The number of home closings rose 27% to 581 from 459, while the Newport Beach, Calif.-based company's backlog as of March 31 was 1,357, down 14% from 1,580 on the same date last year.