Stocks in the News: Potash Corp, National Semi, Pacific Sunwear

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The following is a round-up of news likely to affect stock prices today:

National Semiconductor (NSM) reported third-quarter profit more than doubled, beating estimates. The company also predicted a 4% to 8% sequential revenue rise that was also above Wall Street's expectations. Shares climbed 1.8% ahead of the bell.

After Terra Industries' (TRA) board chose to favor a higher bid from CF Industries (CF) of $4.7 billion. Norwegian Yara International said Friday it would not increase its offer to acquire its U.S. competitor for $4.1 billion. If Terra chooses the new bid from CF, Terra will owe Yara a $123 million break-up fee, according to Yara. Agrium (AGU), meanwhile, announced that it will no longer pursue an acquisition of CF Industries. TRA shares fell 1.9%, CF's dropped 6.6%, while AGU's jumped over 6% in premarket trading.

KKR, the parent of private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, is planning a $2.21 billion U.S. initial public offering, according to a regulatory filing Friday.

Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT) sharply raised its first-quarter forecast on Thursday, citing a sharp rebound in demand for potash -- a key crop nutrient. Shares jumped over 7% before the bell.

Aeropostale (ARO) on Thursday posted a sharply higher quarterly net profit that beat Wall Street estimates on strong holiday sales. Shares were 3.8% higher in premarket trade.

Pacific Sunwear of California (PSUN) reported a wider fourth-quarter loss. Excluding one-time items, the loss was less than analysts had estimated. It also topped their revenue projections. The outlook, though, was far worse than expected. Shares sank 13% before the bell.

Pall Corp. (PLL) reported that fiscal second-quarter 2009 net income rose, but results did not meet expectations. Pall also trimmed its 2010 forecast. Shares dropped 4% ahead of the bell.

Smith & Wesson
(SWHC) managed to beat quarterly earnings estimates by a penny, but sales were below consensus. Similarly, the guidance was below expectations. Shares fell over 8% in premarket trading.

Discover Financial Services
(DFS) announced it will record an increase in reserves of $305 million pre-tax in the first quarter 2010, which brings its reserve coverage to approximately twelve months of losses. Discover expects to report a loss of 22 cents to 23 cents per share for the first quarter 2010, much bigger than estimates. Shares were over 4% lower before the bell.

J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) and Citigroup (C) -- a court-appointed examiner said demands from J.P. Morgan and Citi for collateral helped to drive Lehman Brothers into bankruptcy.

Roche Holdings (RHHBY) said a late-stage prostate cancer trial of Avastin failed to meet end goals.

Pfizer (PFE) said two of its late-stage studies to treat advanced breast cancer failed to significantly benefit patients over current treatment. Also, a study of its experimental drug figitumumab as an advanced lung cancer treatment was discontinued after initial assessment showed it wasn't likely to succeed.

UBS AG (UBS) says the U.S. Internal Revenue Service has collected information on the cross-border activities of about 20 Swiss banks in the course of its amnesty program for American tax evaders.

Ann Taylor (ANN) on Friday swung to a fourth-quarter profit even as sales fell 3% after it controlled inventory and revamped merchandise to help sell more products at full price. Shares declined 1.8% even though the company forecast a strong quarter.
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