Stocks to Watch, Dec. 6: Sears Holding Corp., Kroger Co. and Altera Corp.

Among the companies whose shares are likely to see active trading on Tuesday are Sears Holding Corp., Kroger Co. and Altera Corp.

Brocade Communications Systems (BRCD) is expected to report fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of 5 cents a share, according to analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Casey's General Stores Inc. (CASY) is seen posting a per-share profit of 33 cents a share in its fiscal second quarter.

Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) annual analyst conference continues Tuesday in San Jose, Calif. Chief Executive John Chambers is scheduled to deliver a keynote presentation at 8 a.m. Pacific.

Comverse Technology (CMVT) is expected to post third-quarter earnings of 15 cents a share.

Kroger (KR) is expected to report per-share earnings of 25 cents in its third quarter.

Sanderson Farms (SAFM) fiscal fourth-quarter results are expected to show a profit of 68 cents a share.

Sears (SHLD) is seen posting a per-share profit of 28 cents.

Tweeter Home Entertainment (TWTR) fourth-quarter earnings are expected to show a profit of 18 cents a share.

After the bell Monday, Altera (ALTR) maintained its sales guidance for the fourth quarter, while slightly raising its gross margin target. In its mid-quarter update, the chipmaker forecast sales in the range of $286 million to $297 million. It pegged its gross margin at 66.5% of sales, up from prior guidance of 66%. In addition, Altera lifted its operating expenses estimate to $114 million, up from $111 million.

Watch list

Aaron Rents Inc. (RNT) said after the bell on Monday that it has purchased the contracts and merchandise of 19 rentals stores from Rent-A-Center Inc. (RCII) for $4.4 million, the company said. The Atlanta-based rental retailer said the deal will result in seven new company-owned stores and three franchised Aaron's Sales and Lease Ownership stores.

American Ecology Corp. (ECOL) said that it now expects full-year 2005 earnings of 85 cents to 90 cents a share, and operating income growth to exceed 40% compared with the year-ago period. The Boise, Idaho-based radioactive and hazardous waste services company also said it sees 2006 earnings of 72 cents to 82 cents a share. The 2005 earnings outlook includes a pre-tax gain of $5.3 million from the settlement of a longstanding lawsuit with Nebraska, an $860,000 gain on insurance proceeds, and a $542,000 expense and related increase in the company's reserve for a closed site in Texas, the company said.

Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (BRCD) said it signed an agreement to develop software for Nortel Networks Corp.'s (NT) wide area file services solutions. Financial terms of the agreement weren't disclosed.

ConAgra Foods Inc. (CAG) forecast fiscal second-quarter pro forma earnings of 38 cents a share, excluding 7 cents a share of expense from items. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call currently expect the Omaha, Neb.-based company to report earnings of 45 cents a share on revenue of $4.03 billion. ConAgra cited lower-than-expected shipment volume and revenue and increased input and operating costs, among other factors, for its expected quarterly shortfall.

CSK Auto Corp. (CAO) reported third-quarter net earnings of $10.5 million, or 24 cents a share, compared with $12.2 million, or 27 cents a share, in the same period last year. The Phoenix, Ariz.-based auto-parts store chain said quarterly revenue was $408.3 million, compared with $401.5 million last year.

FLYi Inc. (FLYIQ) said that a number of parties have expressed interest in its court-supervised auction process, ranging from proposals to acquire the company as a going concern, investment offers and proposals to purchase certain assets. The parent company of Independence Air said it's entering a period of negotiations with some interested parties, and is working with its financial advisers to consider the alternatives that will maximize value.

LaSalle Hotel Properties (LHO) said it plans to sell about 2.25 million common shares, plus an option to purchase additional shares. The Bethesda, Md.-based hotel operator said it plans to use the offering's proceeds to fund, in part, previously announced pending acquisitions. Inc. (MAMA) said that it has agreed with Copernic Technologies Inc. to extend the deadline to conclude the definitive agreement for the acquisition of Copernic to Dec. 31., a Montreal-based Internet search company, had previously agreed to an extension to Dec. 6 at the request of Copernic, a Web and desktop search technology company. In August, signed a letter of intent to acquire Copernic in a cash-and-stock deal.

Tribune Co.'s (TRB) Los Angeles Times said that it plans to close a publishing plant in Chatsworth, Calif., and cut 110 positions across its production facilities. Production at the plant will be transitioned to its most modern facilities in downtown Los Angeles, Costa Mesa and Irwindale, Calif., said the newspaper publisher. It said it has invested $500 million to modernize and expand color capacity at the Chatsworth plant since it opened in 1983. The L.A. Times plans to complete the facilities transition in the first quarter of 2006.

URS Corp. (URS) said that it has won a five-year contract from the Fish and Wildlife Service's division of engineering to provide dam safety services. The contract is valued at $10 million. URS said as it receives specific task orders, it will provide services that include safety evaluation of dams, rehabilitation and new construction design.

World Air Holdings Inc. (WLDAE) said that after further re-examining expenses at its North American Airlines Inc. unit it will be restating its fiscal second-quarter results. World Air said it currently expects the restatement will increase its consolidated operating and net income, after tax adjustments, for the 3- month period ended June 30.