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 US HOT STOCKS: Allstate, AvalonBay Shares Active In Late Trading

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PostSubject: US HOT STOCKS: Allstate, AvalonBay Shares Active In Late Trading    Tue Nov 01, 2011 3:19 am

U.S. stocks closed lower Monday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 2.3% to 11955, the Standard & Poor's 500 slid 2.5% to 1253 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 1.9% to 2684. Among the companies whose shares are actively trading in the after-hours session are Allstate Corp. (ALL), AvalonBay Communities Inc. (AVB) and Leap Wireless International Inc. (LEAP).

Allstate's third-quarter earnings fell 55% in another quarter with significant catastrophe losses, as the insurer's operating profit also declined but stayed out of the red. Shares in the country's largest publicly traded home and auto insurer were up 6.2% at $27.97 after hours Monday as the core profit drop was less than expected.

AvalonBay's third-quarter earnings rose 82% on higher rents, though the multifamily housing real estate investment trust's occupancy slipped. Shares fell 5% to $127 after hours as the company also lowered its full-year funds from operations estimate.

Leap Wireless's third-quarter loss narrowed from a year-earlier period that included a big impairment charge, as the prepaid mobile phone company grew its subscriber base and improved its churn. Shares rose 1.6% to $6.96 after hours.

Regular-Session Movers:

Honda Motor Co.'s (HMC, $29.90, -$2.65, -8.14%) (7267.TO) net profit sank by more than a half in the July-September quarter as the yen's surge and sluggish sales in the U.S. and Japan squeezed its bottom line. And in a sign of further problems ahead, Japan's third-biggest car maker by volume said recent disruptions to its Asian production network from the flooding in Thailand meant it couldn't provide an earnings forecast for the 12 months ending March 2012. Honda was in the process of restocking its depleted U.S. inventory when the floods hit and now will be forced to slow factories, with U.S. and Canada production being cut by 50% from Nov. 2-10 at least as a result of parts shortages.

Humana Inc.'s (HUM, $84.89, +$4.54, +5.65%) third-quarter earnings rose 13% as revenue climbed and as the managed-care company continued to benefit from using a smaller portion of its premiums to cover medical costs.

The seductive cat burglar of "Puss in Boots" stole the box office's top spot this weekend, but the opening weekend domestic box office of the latest DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. (DWA, $18.55, -$1.57, -7.80%) release was the least attended non-Aardman movie since its 2004 public offering, likely due to the Northeast snowstorm and the seventh game of the World Series. Lazard Capital notes tracking for "Puss" didn't improve as much as expected in the days leading up to the release, suggesting the marketing didn't click with consumers, the decision to open Halloween weekend didn't work and/or that DreamWorks is suffering from more competition than before. Regardless, "the movie will need an exceptional international run to deliver meaningful profits" following its estimated $34 million opening take.

Momenta Pharmaceuticals Inc. (MNTA, $14.80, +$2.56, +20.92%) said it won a court order that temporarily prevents competitors from marketing generic versions of the blood thinner Lovenox in the U.S. late Friday. The preliminary injunction from the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts keeps Amphastar Pharmaceuticals Inc., Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. (WPI, $67.16, -$2.19, -3.16%) and International Medical Systems Ltd. from offering to sell Lovenox before the court renders a decision on ongoing patent litigation.

Ahead of a raft of quarterly reports this week from U.S. oil-and-gas producers, Sterne Agee highlights five names where investors may want downside protection who "have hurdle rates where a miss in either production and/costs might cause extreme negative price action." The companies are Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (PXD, $83.90, -$4.59, -5.19%), EOG Resources Inc. (EOG, $89.43, -$5.75, -6.04%), Whiting Petroleum Corp. (WLL, $46.55, -$3.84, -7.62%), Denbury Resources Inc. (DNR, $15.70, -$1.15, -6.82%) and Approach Resources Inc. (AREX, $24.41, -$1.72, -6.58%). Sterne Agee says some oil-and-gas companies have been "priced for perfection" of late, so "any wobbles in production and/or costs can be magnified or amplified." It adds the more diversified geographically, the smaller the worry.

CLSA cut its stock-investment rating on Arch Coal Inc. (ACI, $18.22, -$2.00, -9.89%) to underperform from buy saying while it believes that fundamentals are strong in coal, there are better alternatives. The firm said its concerns include that global economics will deteriorate even further, leading to a further increase in coal supply, and that there may be lower-than-expected price realization due to increased supply and mine outages.

B&G Foods Inc. (BGS, $21.22, +$1.62, +8.27%) has agreed to buy Culver Specialty Brands from Unilever PLC (UL, $33.65, -$0.51, -1.49%) (ULVR.LN) for $325 million in cash, in a deal that expands the food maker's offerings.

Barclays PLC (BCS, $12.51, -$0.61, -4.65%) Chief Executive Bob Diamond said Monday he is "absolutely committed" to a goal to hit a 13% return-on-equity target by 2013, despite a decline in investment-banking revenue this year that analysts fear could stall the plan's timeline.

CSC Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corp. (CVC, $14.47, -$0.67, -4.43%), unveiled plans to refinance up to $750 million worth of its debt, saying it plans to initiate a new $500 million debt offering to help cover a tender offer it launched Monday.

Sterne Agee lowered its stock-investment rating on Carter's Inc. (CRI, $38.09, -$1.77, -4.44%) to neutral from buy, raised its 2013 price target to $3.05 from $2.95 and increased its price target to $43 after the shares' 19% run-up over the last three months. The children's clothes maker and retailer's focus on a number of high margin lines, combined with easing pressures from cotton prices, will allow it to improve margins, Sterne said, but this is not enough to merit a buy rating.

Clearwire Corp. (CLWR, $1.92, -$0.08, -4.00%) said former Chief Executive Benjamin G. Wolff resigned from his post as director Monday,discount nfl jerseys leaving the board of the telecommunications company he once led.

Raymond James raised its stock-investment rating on Computer Programs & Systems Inc. (CPSI, $51.07, +$0.06, +0.12%) to strong buy from outperform on the heels of Friday's 30% share price drop after its third-quarter results fell short of expectations on lagging system sales. The hospital-IT company's competitive position in the small hospital market place has held firm, Raymond James said, and the market remains underpenetrated.

Haemonetics Corp.'s (HAE, $60.95, -$2.90, -4.54%) fiscal second-quarter revenue rose 8%, topping analysts' estimates, though its earnings-per-share fell 36%, short of the consensus estimate. The medical-device company also projected full-year earnings-per-share below what analysts were expecting.

Integra LifeSciences Holdings Corp.'s (IART, $32.06, -$6.29, -16.40%) third-quarter revenue slightly missed analysts' estimates, and the company lowered its projection for full-year earnings per share.

Auriga cut its stock-investment rating on MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (WFR, $5.99, -$0.65, -9.79%) to hold from buy, citing selling price pressures, which largely offset the silicon wafer maker's cost advantage over its peers. Auriga also expects MEMC to trim its guidance for the year when it reports its third-quarter results Nov. 2 given weak operating conditions and near-term business model limitations.

Janney lowered its stock-investment rating on National Penn Bancshares Inc. (NPBC, $7.80, -$0.54, -6.47%) to neutral from buy, noting flattening yields and the sluggish Pennsylvania economy.

Jefferies Group Inc. (JEF, $13.26, -$1.46, -9.92%) says its exposure to MF Global's (MF, $1.20, +$0.00, +0.00%) debt securities is less than $9 million in marked-to-market positions, which it says "resulted from facilitating client orders as part of normalcheap nfl jerseys free shipping-course market making." Investors are keeping a watchful eye on such disclosures from banks as MF Global was brought down in part by the fallout of bad bets on European sovereign debt. MF Global shares were halted for news.

After a one-third surge this month and surging two-thirds since hitting a 17-month low in August, Sterne Agee makes a valuation call on SanDisk Corp. (SNDK, $50.67, -$2.71, -5.08%) and downgrades the memory company to neutral. It says the stock, near a five-year high, "is baking in most of the upside from near-term positive" trends on NAND memory used in consumer electronics like smartphones and hard-disk-drive shortages. Sterne Agee also notes NAND output generally peaks around Thanksgiving and prices slide early in the year, "which is a headwind for NAND stocks."

Shaw Group Inc.'s (SHAW, $23.26, +$1.08, +4.87%) fiscal fourth-quarter loss widened sharply on a deeper-than-expected slump in revenue and cost increases that weighed on margins.

Trex Co. (TREX, $18.48, +$1.54, +9.09%) sharply narrowed its third-quarter loss and posted sales in line with its own downbeat expectations as new products aided top-line growth.

Shares of Valero Energy Corp. (VLO, $24.60, -$2.10, -7.87%) fell after Reliance Industries Ltd. (500325.BY) said Monday it's not making a bid for the independent U.S. refiner. Reliance, an industrial giant based in India, said in a statement that it generally doesn't comment on market rumors. But "in light of the materiality of the rumored transaction," it decided to say it isn't in discussions with Valero, nor "otherwise considering an acquisition of Valero."

Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO, $15.64, -$0.92, -5.56%) is considering selling its Asian assets and redistributing the proceeds to shareholders, rather than selling itself to a groupCheap NFL Jerseys of buyers, Bloomberg News reported Friday citing five people familiar with the situation. Separately, The Wall Street Journal reported that a new plan has emerged for the fate of Yahoo's overseas investments, which are a critical part of any deal to sell the company. The Internet pioneer has been exploring a potentially tax-free way to dispose of its roughly 40% stake in the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
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