Among the companies whose shares are actively trading in the session are FedEx Corp. (FDX), Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE) and Royal Philips Electronics NV (PHG, PHIA.AE).
The head of FedEx ($92.17, +$3.04, +3.41%) said Wednesday that near-term economic weakness was “temporary”, with anticipated expansion in the industrial sector helping the world’s largest air cargo carrier guide to fiscal 2012 earnings above analysts’ expectations.
Adobe Systems’ ($30.37, -$1.64, -5.12%) fiscal second-quarter profit rose 54% as the software company benefited from strong demand for its Web analytics products, but a tepid growth forecast disappointed Wall Street.
Philips ($23.49, -$2.56, -9.83%) Wednesday warned of a significant drop in second-quarter operating profit at its lighting and consumer lifestyle divisions, which have been hit by weak consumer demand and stalling construction activity across Western Europe.
CarMax Inc.’s (KMX, $32.85, +$2.33, +7.62%) fiscal first-quarter earnings rose 25% as the used-car retailer reported that increased customer traffic helped fuel sales growth. Results beat analysts’ expectations.
Jabil Circuit Inc.’s (JBL, $19.65, +$0.80, +4.24%) fiscal third-quarter earnings doubled as the electronics contractor’s top line bested its upbeat guidance. Separately, the company a contract manufacturer of circuit boards for computers and telecom equipment, said the board approved the repurchase of up to $200 million worth of shares during the next year, which represents roughly 5% of current market value.
Achillion Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s (ACHN, $6.96, +$0.95, +15.72%) bigger-sized stock sale of 9.6 million shares priced at $5.90, a mere 1.8% discount to its Tuesday close, as the drug developer looks to raise funds to help bring its drug candidates to market.
AeroVironment Inc.’s (AVAV, $34.47, +$5.86, +20.48%) fiscal fourth-quarter earnings rose 13% on a jump in contract-services revenue for a change, but the unmanned-aircraft manufacturer’s results didn’t stray from its pattern of trumping analysts’ expectations. It also predicted a stronger fiscal 2012 than Wall Street anticipated.
Apogee Enterprises Inc.’s (APOG, $13.03, +$0.48, +3.82%) fiscal first-quarter loss narrowed more-than-expected on a surprisingly strong gain in revenue, the industrial-glass products maker’s first top-line increase in more than two years.
Asia Entertainment & Resources Ltd.’s (AERL, $6.50, +$0.89, +15.86%) board authorized a regular semi-annual dividend and established a repurchase program of up to 2 million ordinary shares.
Stifel Nicolaus upgraded Boston Scientific Corp. (BSX, $7.15, +$0.23, +3.32%) to buy from hold, expecting a margin increase from the launch of its Promus Element stent in the U.S., reduced costs and a healthier balance sheet.
Stifel says Boston Scientific will also benefit from J&J’s (JNJ, $66.40, -$0.09, -0.14%) decision to exit the drug eluting stent business, though it is not expecting much organic revenue growth from Boston Scientific.
Cardtronics Inc. (CATM, $21.99, +$0.60, +2.81%) agreed to acquire a privately held ATM deployer for about $145 million, in a deal that expands its automated teller footprint in the Midwest, and that it expects to boost earnings starting this year.
Oppenheimer initiated coverage of Ceva Inc. (CEVA, $30.32, +$2.39, +8.54%) with a stock-investment rating of outperform, saying the silicon intellectual-property licensor is likely to continue to steadily grow its leading market share in digital signal processors in an already growing cellular market and has additional markets that complement its current position, such as Internet-enabled televisions and smart meters.
Shares of Cree Inc. (CREE, $33.08, -$0.92, -2.71%) slid after the light-emitting diode company got a bearish mention in the lightning round of Jim Cramer’s CNBC show “Mad Money.”
U.K.-based AstraZeneca PLC (AZN.LN) Wednesday said it agreed to sell its dental implants and medical devices unit Astra Tech to U.S.-based Dentsply International Inc. (XRAY, $38.73, +$1.12, +2.98%) for $1.8 billion, after a sale process that attracted strong interest from private-equity firms and strategic buyers looking to tap into growth in the dental implants market.
Wells Fargo raised its stock-investment rating on Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. (DO, $69.67, +$1.65, +2.43%) to outperform from market perform, citing its now-attractive valuation and the potential for the company to increase its dividend.
Barclays upgraded its stock-investment rating on F5 Networks Inc. (FFIV, $106.38, +$3.38, +3.28%) to overweight from equalweight, citing healthy demand and improving visibility. The firm added that benign competition in its core market allows for share gains.
Stifel Nicolaus says recent weakness in Forest Oil Corp. (FST, $26.90, +$0.60, +2.26%) provides a good entry point into the shares, which it upgraded to buy. Stifel says Forest is trading at a discount to peers and should outperform over the next 6-12 months. The firm added its valuation will be better understood once Forest provides updated guidance after the spinoff of its Lone Pine unit.
Ladenburg Thalmann initiated coverage of FriendFinder Networks Inc. (FFN, $3.99, +$0.35, +9.62%) with a stock-investment rating of buy, saying that with ongoing growth in the online social networking segment and FriendFinder’s large presence in the space, the company is poised for a significant period of revenue and bottom-line growth.
FSI International Inc.’s (FSII, $2.91, -$0.77, -20.92%) fiscal third-quarter profit slid 30% as sales and gross margins declined, although the bottom line managed to exceed Wall Street’s expectations. But FSI also offered a weak outlook for the current quarter.
Susquehanna raised its stock-investment rating on managed-care company HealthSpring Inc. (HS, $47.65, +$1.84, +4.02%) to positive from neutral, saying the company is well positioned to benefit from strong enrollment growth, low utilization and reimbursement visibility. Shares of homebuilders gained after government data showed U.S home prices rose unexpectedly in April, increasing for the first time in nearly a year, and providing a glimmer of good news in an otherwise battered sector.
KB Home (KBH, $12.00, +$0.30, +2.59%), D.R. Horton Inc. (DHI, $11.71, +$0.33, +2.90%), PulteGroup Inc. (PHM, $7.61, +$0.15, +2.01%) and Beazer Homes USA Inc. (BZH, $3.45, +$0.11, +3.29%) were all trading higher.
La-Z-Boy Inc.’s (LZB, $9.98, -$0.92, -8.44%) fiscal fourth-quarter profit slid 26% as write-downs masked better-than expected sales driven by growth in the company’s retail segment. The latest quarter’s results also benefited from an additional selling week. Wall Street Strategies cut its stock-investment rating on the furniture company to hold from buy. Activist investment firm Relational Investors LLC reported Wednesday that it has become the largest shareholder in defense firm
L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. (LLL, $86.15, +$3.77, +4.58%), and is pushing for a breakup of the firm.
PostRock Energy Corp. (PSTR, $5.94, +$0.52, +9.59%) agreed to purchase all of Constellation Energy Group Inc.’s (CEG, $36.88, -$0.15, -0.41%) interests in a coalbed methane exploration and production company for about $22.5 million in cash and stock.
Quanta Services Inc. (PWR, $19.56, +$0.33, +1.72%) added $50 million to its stock repurchase program, raising the total plan authorization to $150 million.
Regions Financial Corp. (RF, $6.37, +$0.07, +1.11%) is putting its Morgan Keegan & Co. brokerage up for sale in a bid to raise more capital and repay the bank’s crisis-era government aid. The decision comes the same day federal and state regulators announced a settlement totaling roughly $200 million with the brokerage that resolves civil-fraud charges the Securities and Exchange Commission brought last year.
Robbins & Myers Inc.’s (RBN, $48.50, +$3.80, +8.50%) fiscal third-quarter profit soared, as strong demand from its oil and gas customers and a recent acquisition boosted the top line.
BB&T Capital Markets initiated coverage of heavy-duty custom-vehicle maker Spartan Motors Inc. (SPAR, $5.04, +$0.64, +14.55%) with a stock-investment rating of buy and a $9 price target, citing new products and opportunities this cycle.
Eastman Chemical Co. (EMN, $100.57, +$0.47, +0.47%) agreed to acquire Sterling Chemicals Inc. (SCHI, $2.48, +$0.95, +62.09%) for $7.08 million in cash in order to boost its plasticizer product line.
Wunderlich Securities cut its stock-investment rating on Synovus Financial Corp. (SNV, $2.27, -$0.05, -2.11%) to hold from buy, saying it believes Synovus’ earnings power beyond this credit cycle will be greatly constrained by the potential need to raise significant amounts of common equity in order to exit the TARP program.
Barrington Research initiated coverage of pet healthcare-provider VCA Antech Inc. (WOOF, $20.29, +$0.60, +3.05%) with a stock-investment rating of outperform, noting pet owners are spending more on their pets on a per visit basis as well as becoming increasingly aware of the importance of routine visits with veterinarians. The firm added that VCA Antech grows largely through acquisitions and current animal hospital industry conditions appear very advantageous.
Western Liberty Bancorp Inc. (WLBC, $3.13, +$0.20, +6.83%) said it is exploring strategic options, as the parent of Service1st Bank of Nevada also said it will boost its loan-loss provisions significantly.
Smartphone-accessory maker ZAGG Inc. (ZAGG, $14.05, +$1.45, +11.50%) said it will acquire privately held iFrogz Inc. for about $105 million in a deal aimed at broadening its product portfolio.