Stocks to Watch, Dec. 16: Oracle, Adobe, and KB Home

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Among the companies whose shares are expected to see active trade in Friday's session are Oracle Corp., Adobe Systems Inc., and KB Home.

Steelcase Inc. (SCS) is expected to report a per-share profit of 14 cents in its third quarter, according to analysts polled by Thomson First Call.

After Thursday's closing bell, Oracle Corp. (ORCL) said its quarterly net slipped 2% as the database software company posted an increase in sales but felt the effects of adverse currency-exchange rages and higher expenses following a spate of acquisitions.

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Ace Ltd. (ACE) said it expects property and casualty net earned premiums in 2006 to grow 6% to 8%.

Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE) said its quarterly net profit rose 38% as revenue increased on continued strong demand for both its document-management and design software product lines.

Federal banking regulators approved Bank of America's (BAC) $35 billion acquisition of credit-card giant MBNA Corp. (KRB) .

BellSouth Corp. (BLS) said it will cut 1,500 jobs. The reductions will take place in supervisory and non-supervisory management positions, including staff support functions, the Atlanta-based telecommunications company said. Most of the reductions are expected to occur through voluntary severance packages and are to be completed by April 30. BellSouth said it will take a related after-tax charge of $95 million, $50 million of which will be recognized in the fourth quarter.

Cal Dive International Inc. (CDIS) said it expects 2006 earnings of $2.30 to $3.30 a share. Additionally, the Houston-based energy services company said it expects capital expenditures in 2006 of $110 million for marine contracting, $230 million for oil and gas production and $35 million for production facilities.

California Micro Devices Corp. (CAMD) raised the bottom end of its third-quarter earnings forecast while lowering its revenue outlook. The Milpitas, Calif.-based semiconductor products supplier now expects earnings of 9 cents to 10 cents a share on revenue of $18.8 million to $19.7 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First call are estimating earnings of 10 cents a share on revenue of $20 million.

CSG Systems International Inc. (CSGS) lowered its fourth-quarter earnings forecast to a range of 9 cents to 11 cents a share on revenue of $92 million to $95 million. The Englewood, Colo.-based customer care and billing services company had previously forecast fourth-quarter earnings of 21 cents to 23 cents a share on revenue of $96 million to $99 million.

Danaher Corp. (DHR) raised its 2005 earnings forecast to a range of $2.76 to $2.79 a share from $2.74 to $2.79 a share. The Washington-based instrument and tool maker also forecast 2006 earnings of $3.13 to $3.23 a share, before the impact of expensing stock options. The company forecast first-quarter earnings of 61 cents to 66 cents a share before stock-option expense.

Darden Restaurants Inc. (DRI) reported net earnings for the second quarter of $55.1 million, or 35 cents a share, compared with $43 million, or 26 cents a share, in the same period last year. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had expected per-share earnings of 31 cents. The restaurant operator reported quarterly revenue of $1.325 billion, compared with $1.23 billion last year. Analysts had expected revenue of $1.33 billion. Orlando, Fla.-based Darden said it expects per-share earnings growth for fiscal 2006 to be in the 15% to 20% range, with U.S. same-restaurant sales growth of 4% to 5%.

Private education company eCollege (ECLG) said it expects to earn $8.3 million to $9.2 million in 2006, equal to earnings of 37 to 41 cents a share. Excluding special charges, the company expects to earn 73 to 77 cents a share. Revenue is projected at $121 to $124 million. The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson First Call is for earnings of 64 cents a share.

KB Home (KBH) reported fiscal fourth-quarter net earnings of $310.6 million, or $3.51 a share, up 66% from $186.7 million, or $2.21 a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue rose to $3.15 billion from $2.38 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had estimated earnings of $3.34 a share on revenue of $3.27 billion. The Los Angeles-based homebuilder generated 9,747 net orders in the fourth quarter, up from 8,516 net orders last year. KB Home also reaffirmed its 2006 earnings forecast of $11.25 a share.

RF Monolithics Inc. (RFMI) reported a net loss for the first quarter of $49,000, or a penny a share. During the same period last year the company reported net earnings of $407,000, or 5 cents a share. The Dallas-based supplier of radio frequency wireless solutions reported quarterly revenue of $12.3 million, compared with $12.16 million last year.

Chip equipment company SMSC Corp. (SMSC) said it earned $5.4 million, or 24 cents a share, in the third quarter, up from $600,000, or 3 cents a share, the year earlier. Excluding special charges, the company said it would have earned 38 cents a share against 4 cents a year ago. Revenue climbed to $86.6 million from $50.8 million. The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson First Call was for earnings of 33 cents a share on revenue of $83 million.

Tektronix Inc. (TEK) reported second-quarter net earnings of $19.9 million, or 24 cents a share. In the same period last year, the company reported a net loss of $2.83 million, or 3 cents a share. Excluding acquisition-related costs and other items, earnings from continuing operations were 31 cents a share compared with 39 cents a share a year ago. Revenue fell to $253.4 million from $266.8 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had estimated revenue of $249 million.

Weyerhaeuser Co. (WY) said it would permanently close two paper machines, resulting in a pre-tax charge of $380 million to 385 million in the fourth quarter.