Sunday, September 13, 2009

U. S. Hot Stocks Of The Day

. Sunday, September 13, 2009

By stockOzone team

US stocks barely budged early Friday as investors remained cautious after a five-session rally that has sent the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq to nearly 1-year highs.

AIG (NYSE: AIG): Shares of AIG fell over 2.30% in early trade after Wells Fargo Securities analyst John Hall downgraded the shares of the insurer to "underperform," saying the company has virtually no tangible book value at the moment and that its shares are overvalued. "Absent government support the company would be out of business and at present, the market value of AIG's businesses is less than its obligations to the government," Hall said in a note to clients. Earlier this week, Credit Suisse also downgraded the company to "underperform" from "neutral", and halved its price target to $15 from $30. The company posted a $99 billion net loss last year and was saved from the brink of collapse by a $60 billion credit line, a Treasury Department investment of as much as $70 billion, and $52.5 billion to buy mortgage-linked assets owned or backed by the insurer. The insurer owes more than $38 billion on a Federal Reserve credit line and has so far announced asset sales of about $9.8 billion. Late in August, AIG's newly appointed AIG CEO Robert Benmosche that said that he expects that the insurer will be able to pay back the government. AIG shares more than doubled last month. However, shares of the company have lost over 5% this week.

FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX): The world's second largest package delivery company, hiked its first-quarter earnings guidance on Friday, citing better-than-expected international shipments and cost-cutting. The Memphis, Tenn.-based company said that it expects earnings of 58 cents per share for the first quarter ended Aug. 31. That's down 53 percent from a year ago, but well above the company's previous projection of 30 cents to 45 cents per share. Analysts, on average, had been looking for a quarterly profit of 44 cents per share. FedEx is set to report full results on Sept. 17. Still, FedEx expects to report second-quarter earnings in the range of 65 cents to 95 cents. Analysts are currently expecting earnings of 70 cents per share. The second-quarter forecast "reflects the current outlook for fuel prices and a continued modest recovery in the global economy," the company said in the statement. FedEx is seen by many as a bellwether of U.S. economic activity. The company's bottomline has been pressured during the recession as shipping volumes have fallen.

Shares of the company soared over 5% on Friday.

National Semiconductor Corp.(NYSE: NSM) reported that its fiscal first-quarter profit dropped to $29.8 million, or 13 cents a share, compared with a profit of $79.6 million, or 33 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue declined 32% to $314.4 million from $465.6 million. National has suffered five straight quarters of declining sales amid weak demand. However, the company said that the industrial demand for its chips is beginning to pick up. "Demand was better than we expected, especially for our power management products going into broad industrial applications," Chief Executive Officer Brian Halla said in the statement. Second-quarter revenue will grow as much as 8 percent from the current period to between $325 million and $340 million, the company said. The Santa Clara, California-based company said that it expects sales in the second quarter to increase 3 percent to 8 percent sequentially to between about $325 million and $340 million. Analysts on average had projected $317 million. Shares of the company plunged over 6% in midday trade.

Quidel Corp.(NASDAQ: QDEL): the company, which makes flu tests, announced Thursday that it would post record operating income and revenue in the third-quarter to beat analyst expectations, due to higher demand as fears of the flu spread. Analysts currently expect the company to report earnings of 8 cents per share, with $27.9 million in revenue. Quidel's QuickVue test is used to diagnose Influenza A+B.The company said it "currently anticipates its highest quarterly revenue and operating income in its history" for the third quarter. "Quidel has experienced an unprecedented volume of orders by hospital and physician office labs for the QuickVue tests in the third quarter of 2009, coinciding with the start of school," said Chief Executive Douglas Bryant. Shares rallied 2% on Friday.

American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. (NYSE: AXL) Shares of the auto parts supplier jumped to its 52-week high after a Barclays Capital analyst Brian Johnson raised his rating on the shares to "overweight/neutral" from "equal weight/neutral. "We expect AXL to beat the Street as early as this quarter, benefiting from a sharp rebound in pickups post clunkers and shutdowns. This could be a catalyst for the stock to rate towards a valuation more in line with its peers,' analyst Brian Johnson wrote in a note to clients. He said further "large pickups are likely to rebound to at least 11 percent share of the U.S. market, above their recent range during cash for clunkers of 9-10 percent," Johnson wrote in a separate note on Friday. American Axle, which relies on GM for about 70% of its revenue, said in August that it would receive up to $210 million in aid from GM as it tries to restructure its debt outside of bankruptcy. Johnson said that the recent deal with General Motors and the 'strong likelihood' of a bank deal would remove liquidity concerns. Shares were up 16% in midday trade.

Disclosure: Author does not own any of the stocks discussed here.

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