Stocks in the News: Honeywell, Adobe, Playboy, Microsoft, Intel

Adobe Systems (ADBE) swung to a fourth-quarter loss, but forecast first-quarter sales above Street expectations as demand for its products picked up during November. Adobe reported a fourth-quarter loss of $32 million, or 6 cents a share. Excluding special items, Adobe earned 39 cents a share, topping estimate of 37 cents a share. Shares climbed 1.3% in preamarket trading.

Honeywell International (HON) said Wednesday it expects profit growth in 2010. On an adjusted basis, the company said it projected a profit of $3 to $3.20 a share, much higher than the average analyst expectation of about $2.50 per share. For 2009, Honeywell reaffirmed its guidance. Shares fell 1.5% ahead of the bell.

Playboy Enterprises (PLA) shares fell 21% in pre-market trading following a report that Iconix Brand Group (ICON) had broken off talks with the company.

The Federal Trade Commission has charged Intel (INTC) with monopoly practices. Shares were down about 1.5% ahead of the bell.

Joy Global (JOYG) on Wednesday said its fourth-quarter net income rose to $124 million, or $1.20 a share, even as sales fell 7% to $964 million. Wall Street analysts expected earnings of $1.03 a share and sales of $934.3 million, according to FactSet Research. Joy Global expects 2010 earnings above Wall Street's estimates. Shares were 2.2% higher in premarket trading.

Paychex (PAYX) and Hovnanian Enterprises (HOV) are due to report results.

The European Union is dropping antitrust charges against software giant Microsoft (MSFT) after it agreed to give Windows users a choice of up to 12 other Web browsers.

Total SA (TOT) said Wednesday it struck oil in the southern portion of its license in deep ocean waters off the coast of Nigeria. Total said the well yielded several oil-bearing reservoirs with a fluid that qualified as light oil. Total operates the area and holds an 18% interest. Among other companies with shares in the field, Chevron (CVX) and Exxon Mobil (XOM) each own 27% interests.

Unilever (UL) has named Jean-Marc Huet of Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) as finance chief, filling a gap announced last week. UL shares were 1.6% higher before the bell.

Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) said it will buy Prudential Financial's minority stake in retail brokerage joint venture Wells Fargo Advisors for $4.5 billion.

Broadcom Corp (BRCD) raised its fourth-quarter revenue guidance for the current quarter on Tuesday, citing better than expected demand in the broadband and enterprise networking segment. It now expects sales of roughly $1.32 billion, up about 5% from the third quarter, and higher than the previous forecast of $1.25 billion.

IBM Corp. (IBM) said Wednesday that it will acquire privately held software company Lombardi for an undisclosed amount. Lombardi provides business process management software and services.

E-Trade Financial Corp. (ETFC) Wednesday said it intends to restructure its cross-border trading business and exit from local market trading. Shares traded 1.2% higher in premarket action.

Citigroup Inc. (C) -- The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority is trying to abort an agreement to buy $7.5 billion of Citi stock at eight times today's price, saying the bank misled it about the investment.

Analyst calls:
  • J.P. Morgan upgraded Carnival Corp. (CCL) and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) to overweight from neutral.
  • Charles Schwab Corp. (SCHW) was upgraded at Deutsche Bank to buy from hold, and its price target was raised to $25 from $18.
  • Societe Generale cut its rating on Best Buy Co. (BBY) to sell from buy following what it called a "low quality" third-quarter earnings report.
  • Diageo (DEO) was downgraded to hold from buy at Deutsche Bank on valuation.
  • United States Steel Corp (X) was raised at Keybanc to buy from hold.
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