Stocks to Watch: GIS, ORCL, MRK & More

Take a look at some of Wednesday morning’s early movers:


General Mills - The food producer earned 55 cents a share for its third quarter, matching Street estimates, while revenues came in above consensus. The company says input cost inflation pressured its margins during the quarter.

Oracle - The software maker reported fiscal third-quarter profit of 62 cents per share, six cents above analyst estimates, as sales of new software licenses accelerated. Oracle also provided fourth-quarter earnings per share guidance of 76 cents to 81 cents per share, compared to estimates of 76 cents.

Merck & Co. - A U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel has rejected Merck’s proposed cancer drug for sarcoma patients. The panel says the drug didn’t work well enough to offset potentially serious side effects. We’ll also watch shares of Merck’s partner in this drug, Ariad Pharmaceuticals.

Wal-Mart Stores - The world’s largest retailer will carry exclusive “Angry Birds”-themed merchandise, as the latest version of the wildly popular video game is released this week by Rovio.

Cintas - The uniform maker reported fiscal third-quarter profit of 58 cents per share, six cents above estimates, and also raised its guidance for the current quarter. Cintas is crediting lower tax rates and better profit margins in its uniform renting business.

Jabil Circuit - The company matched estimates by reporting fiscal second-quarter profit of 58 cents a share, with revenues above estimates. However, the electronics maker’s third-quarter revenue guidance range is largely below consensus.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts - The doughnut chain matched estimates by reporting fourth-quarter profit of six cents per share, excluding certain items. It was the second-consecutive profitable year for the doughnut chain, which had struggled in the years prior to 2011. The company says it’s hoping to continue that momentum by boosting coffee sales and expanding its beverage offerings.

Walt Disney - Nomura has added the shares to its “Conviction Buy” list, saying the focus will shift to the strength of Disney’s core assets, now that it’s issued guidance for losses related to its “John Carter” movie.

LinkedIn- The stock has been upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” at Goldman Sachs Group, which also increased its price target to $135 from $80. Goldman says growth in hiring solutions and marketing services is likely to be higher than most investors are anticipating.

Hartford FinancialServices - The insurance company is planning to sell most of its life insurance-related operations following pressure to do so from its largest shareholder, hedge fund manager John Paulson.

Fossil - Jefferies has raised its earnings estimates for the maker of consumer fashion accessories, and upped its price target for the stock to $160 from $125. The firm says Fossil will benefit from its upcoming acquisition of Skagen, and that the market for watches is very strong right now.

OpenTable - Benchmark has upgraded the stock to “buy” from “hold,” saying the operator of online restaurant reservation systems has a superior growth and competitive position.

Baker Hughes - The oilfield-services company has cut its fourth-quarter operating profit outlook, due to rapidly changing market conditions in its pressure pumping product line.

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