Among the companies whose shares are expected to see active trade in Thursday's session are Johnson & Johnson, Guidant Corp. and Marshall & Ilsley Corp.

Marshall & Ilsley Corp. (MI) is expected to report fourth-quarter earnings of 78 cents a share, according to analysts polled by Thomson First Call.

MGIC Investment Corp. (MTG) is seen posting a fourth-quarter profit of $1.52 a share.

After Wednesday's closing bell, Guidant Corp. (GDT) said it has agreed to be acquired by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) in a deal worth $23.2 billion. Under the new agreement, Johnson & Johnson will pay $37.25 in cash and 0.493 shares of Johnson & Johnson common stock for each outstanding share of Guidant common stock. As of the market close on Jan. 11, the transaction has a per-share value of $68.06 to Guidant shareholders. Guidant shareholders will vote on the revised merger agreement on Jan. 31. In acquiring Guidant, Johnson & Johnson would beat out Boston Scientific Corp. (BSX) , which had offered $25 billion for the medical device maker. Boston Scientific later said it still is in talks with Guidant.

Watch List

Best Buy Co. (BBY) promoted Brian Dunn to president and chief operating officer.

Borders Group Inc. (BGP) said sales from Oct. 23 to Jan. 8 at domestic superstores were up 2.2% from a year ago. Total domestic sales were $800.5 million, up 4.1% from last year, the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based book retailer said. Same-store sales at Waldenbooks declined 2.6%, while same-store sales at international Borders increased 0.8%. The company now expects consolidated per-share earnings for the fourth quarter to range from $1.70 to $1.80, compared with its earlier outlook of $1.60 to $1.80. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call are looking for quarterly per-share earnings of $1.70. Borders has also approved a $250 million share buyback.

Hollinger International Inc. (HLR) and its Canadian affiliate, Hollinger Canadian Publishing Holdings Co., said late Wednesday they have agreed to sell substantially all of their remaining Canadian assets for C121.7 million ($104.4 million) to an affiliate of Glacier Ventures International Corp (GVC) . The agreement covers, among other things, about 87% of the outstanding units of Hollinger Canadian Newspapers Ltd. Partnership and all of the shares of Hollinger Canadian Newspapers GP Inc., Eco Log Environmental Risk Information Services Ltd. and KCN Capital News Co., the Canadian newspaper publisher said. The deal is expected to close by the end of February.

Hooker Furniture Corp. (HOFT) said fourth-quarter net income was $3.35 million, or 28 cents a share, compared with $5.45 million, or 46 cents a share, during the year-earlier quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had expected per-share earnings of 38 cents. The furniture company reported quarterly revenue of $89.4 million, compared with $91.9 million last year. Analysts had expected revenue of $88 million.

Mentor Graphics Corp. (MENT) said it expects fourth-quarter revenue to be in excess of $220 million. The Wilsonville, Ore.-based maker of semiconductor design products also said it expects to be profitable in the fourth quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call are forecasting fourth-quarter earnings of 44 cents a share on revenue of $218 million. Mentor reaffirmed its 2006 revenue outlook of $755 million and said it continues to evaluate the impact of stock options expensing on its earnings.

United Auto Group Inc. (UAG) said it has acquired the Cush Automotive Group and its seven car dealership franchises. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based United Auto expects the dealerships to generate $300 million in annual revenue.