Stocks to Watch, Dec. 8: Costco, Texas Instruments, National Semi

Among the companies whose shares are likely to see active trading on Wednesday are Veritas DGC Inc., WellPoint Inc. and Time Warner Inc.

Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. (HOV) is expected to report fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of $2.42 a share, according to analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Pall Corp. (PLL) is seen posting a per-share profit of 21 cents in its fiscal first quarter.

Veritas (VTS) fiscal first-quarter earnings are expected to show a profit of 20 cents a share.

Net2Phone Inc. (NTOP) is seen posting a fiscal first-quarter loss of 10 cents a share, according to two analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Watch List

Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP) after Tuesday's closing bell said it has acquired Kerridge Computer Co. Ltd. for $300 million in cash. Automatic Data, of Roseland, N.J., said the transaction won't impact per-share earnings in fiscal 2006, but will add 1 cent a share to fiscal 2007's earnings.

Casey's General Stores Inc. (CASY) reported second-quarter net earnings of $22.2 million, or 44 cents a share, compared with $11 million, or 22 cents a share, during the same period last year. The Ankeny, Iowa-based convenience store operator reported quarterly revenue of $967.8 million, compared with $705.9 million in the previous year's quarter.

Comverse Technology Inc. (CMVT) reported third-quarter net earnings of $38.3 million, or 18 cents a share, vs. $16 million, or 8 cents a share, during the same period a year ago. Pro forma earnings were 17 cents a share for the quarter. The New York-based communications technology company posted revenue of $299 million vs. $245.5 million.

Chordiant Software Inc. (CHRD) said it expects to post a fourth-quarter loss and that it plans to restate its consolidated interim statements for the quarters ended Dec. 31, 2004, March 31, 2005 and June 30, 2005. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company said it expects to post a fourth-quarter loss of $5 million to $6 million, or 7 cents to 8 cents a share, compared with a profit of 2 cents a share in the year-ago period. Total revenue for the quarter is expected to be in the range of $21 million to $22 million, compared with revenue of $24 million last year. For the fiscal 2005, Chordiant expects revenue of $83 million to $84 million, down from $81 million for the twelve months ended Sept. 30, 2004.

General Motors Corp. (GM) said that its board has elected Frederick Henderson chief financial officer, effective Jan. 1. Henderson currently serves as chairman of GM Europe and as a GM group vice president. He will succeed Vice Chairman and CFO John Devine, whose five-year contract was due to expire this month. Devine has agreed to remain with GM for up to one additional year in the vice chairman role.

Hutchinson Technology Inc. (HTCH) said that it has revised its fiscal fourth-quarter net earnings to $6.66 million, or 24 cents a share, vs. $4.95 million, or 18 cents a share, during the same period a year ago. The company had previously reported net earnings of $4.73 million, or 18 cents a share, for the fiscal fourth quarter of 2005.

InterVideo Inc. (IVII) said that its InterVideo Digital Technology Corp. subsidiary has filed a patent infringement complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission against Dell Inc. (DELL) , Winbook Computer Corp., Cyberlink Corp. of Taiwan and its U.S. subsidiary, Corp. InterVideo said it's seeking an investigation into the alleged infringement of its patent covering its InstantON technology, which integrates personal computer and electronic device functions.

Merrill Lynch & Co. (MER) expects to repatriate $1.9 billion in cash from its foreign subsidiaries, the financial services giant said in a regulatory filing. It plans to record a $115 million in additional income tax expense stemming from the repatriation in the fourth quarter. The company said it recorded a $16 million net tax benefit in the second quarter on a planned repatriation on $53 million because deferred taxes had previously been accrued on those earnings.

The New York Times Co. (NYT) said it expects 2005 advertising revenue growth in the low-single digits, and issued a limited outlook for 2006, citing the lack of visibility on advertising for the period. For the full-year 2005, the company said it expects to generate $194 million to $198 million in revenue from Internet-related businesses.

Photronics Inc. (PLAB) reported fourth-quarter earnings of $8.74 million, or 19 cents a share, up 10.6% from $7.9 million, or 21 cents a share, last year. Sales were $111.79 million compared with $104.16 million a year ago, said the Brookfield, Conn.-based maker of photomasks used in semiconductor manufacturing.

RealNetworks Inc. (RNWK) said it has approved a $100 million share buyback program, effective December 2005. The program replaces the company's previous $75 million authorization, of which about $45 million remained unspent, the Seattle-based software company said.

SimpleTech Inc. (STEC) cut its fourth-quarter revenue forecast and said it expects per-share earnings to be below its previous outlook. The Santa Ana, Calif.-based memory chip maker said it now sees revenue of $60 million to $63 million, compared with its previous outlook of $70 million.

Teekay Shipping Corp. (TK) has increased its share buyback program by $180 million, the company said. It said is now authorized to repurchase up to $229 million of its outstanding stock. Nassau, Bahamas-based Teekay said it has bought back 15.5%, or $555 million, of its shares since its first authorization in November 2004.

Time Warner (TWX) said it respects the decision by independent director Robert Clark to resign from the board of Lazard Ltd. (LAZ) . Clark, a Harvard University professor, stepped down from the board of Lazard, which is advising Carl Icahn in a bid to break up the company.

Verint Systems Inc. (VRNT) reported third-quarter net earnings of $7.31 million, or 22 cents a share, compared with $5.18 million, or 16 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue at the Melville, N.Y.-based software provider was $78.24 million, up from $64 million last year

WellPoint (WLP) expects to report earnings of $4.51 a share for 2006, about 15% above its 2005 forecast of $3.93 a share but below the average $4.76 per-share forecast of analysts polled by Thomson First Call. Operating revenue is seen coming at $49.5 billion, 11% higher than the healthcare insurance company's 2005 forecast. Analysts are currently looking for revenue of $49.76 billion for 2006. The outlook was issued by WellPoint senior management at its 2005 investor conference in New York City, where WellPoint also said it expects its merger transaction with WellChoice Inc. (WC) to close in the first quarter of 2006.

Whirlpool Corp. (WHR) has entered into $2.7 billion in credit facilities which will help finance the proposed acquisition of Maytag Corp. (MYG) , the appliance maker said. It said it signed an amended and restated $2.2 billion, five-year revolving credit agreement, with $1.2 billion immediately available and $1 billion available when the Maytag deal receives clearance by the Department of Justice's antitrust division.