Stocks to Watch: DRI, MU, ZNGA & More

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


Darden Restaurants - The parent of Red Lobster and Olive Garden earned $1.25 per share for its fiscal third quarter, one cent above estimates. Revenues were also slightly above consensus. Darden said the key factor was the underlying strength of its businesses, although it adds that mild winter weather helped boost its results.

Micron Technology - The chipmaker reported a fiscal second-quarter loss of 23 cents per share, wider than the 19 cent loss analysts were anticipating. The company’s bottom line was impacted by weaker selling prices for memory chips.

Accenture - The consulting firm reported fiscal second-quarter profit of 97 cents per share, 11 cents above estimates, with revenues also well above consensus forecasts. It also raised its full year outlook to $3.82 to $3.90 per share, compared to prior guidance of $3.76 to $3.84. Accenture’s results were driven by revenue increases in all its consulting divisions.

Nike - The athletic footwear and apparel maker earned $1.20 per share for its fiscal third quarter, three cents above estimates. Sales slightly exceeded forecasts as well, with future orders heading into spring up 15 percent. Nike reported particular strength in North America and emerging markets during the quarter. Higher costs, however, did impact Nike’s gross margins.

Zynga - CEO Mark Pincus and private-equity firms Kleiner Perkins and Union Square will sell 43 million Zynga shares in a secondary stock offering.

BATS Global Markets - The exchange operator’s stock makes its Wall Street debut today, after pricing its IPO at $16 per share, at the low end of the expected range of $16 to 18 per share.

Hot Topic - The teen retailer says it’s getting a sales bump from the release of “The Hunger Games” movie, having sold out of some of its related merchandise. Hot Topic has a broad assortment of such products, including T-shirts, jewelry, and nail polish.

Ohio Art - The usually thinly traded pink sheet stock is getting more than its usual amount of attention, as sales of its classic Etch A Sketch toy soar following a comment this week by a Mitt Romney aide that the general election campaign was like “shaking an Etch A Sketch and starting over.”

Layne Christensen - The water infrastructure company says it will report a loss for its fiscal fourth quarter due to weak municipal spending.

Discover Financial Services - Goldman Sachs has upgraded Discover shares to “conviction buy” from “neutral,” and boosted its price target to $39 from $36. Improved merchant acceptance and lower than normal credit losses are among the factors cited by Goldman.

Coventry Health Care - Coventry’s shares have been upgraded by Goldman to “buy” from “neutral,” with the price target raised to $42 from $35. Goldman says Coventry’s move to enlarge its public sector health-care footprint gives it further upside potential.

Michael Kors Holdings - The luxury goods maker priced a secondary stock offering of 25 million shares at $47 each, compared to Thursday’s closing price of $48.72. The selling shareholders have also granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 3.75 million additional ordinary shares.

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