Stocks to Watch: MRK, QCOM & More

Take a look at some of Tuesday morning's early movers:


Merck - The drug maker sees first quarter non-GAAP earnings at $0.95 vs. $0.98 per share, versus Street estimates of $1.01, though it's reaffirming prior full year guidance of $3.75 - $3.85. The Dow component says currency will have a 1-2% unfavorable impact during the first quarter.

Qualcomm - The telecom equipment maker has raised its quarterly dividend to 25 cents per share from 21.5 cents, an increase of 16%, and announced a $4 billion stock buyback program.

Chesapeake Energy , KKR - The two will form a joint energy partnership, putting in $250 million as an initial investment to invest in U.S.-based oil and gas interests.

Applied Materials - The maker of semiconductor manufacturing equipment is increasing its quarterly dividend by 13% to 9 cents per share, and announcing a $3 billion stock buyback.

AMR – The company’s American Airlines unit – currently operating under bankruptcy protection - announced that February passenger traffic rose 6% in February compared to a year earlier.

Skullcandy – The maker of lifestyle audio equipment says Chief Financial Officer Mitch Edwards is resigning to pursue other interests, though he’ll stay on the job until April 1 and plans to remain available for consulting.

Monster Worldwide – The online jobs site operator says it’s hired advisers to review strategic alternatives, following last week’s announcement by its CEO that Monster was exploring various options.

Madison Square Garden – The operator of the “World’s Most Famous Arena” has announced it’s raising season ticket prices: 4.9% for the NBA’s New York Knicks and 9.5% for the NHL’s New York Rangers. The rise follows the renovation of the Garden that the company says has resulted in better amenities and improved sight lines for its customers.

AIG – The insurance company has completed its $6 billion sale of shares in Hong Kong’s AIA Group, though its sale priced at the low end of the expected range.

Nutrisystem – The weight loss plan purveyor reported a worse than expected fourth quarter loss and also gave a current quarter outlook that was well short of Street estimates. The company says new promotions to attract customers may cut into near term profitability.

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