Friday, April 8, 2011

Stocks In Focus: LVS, EXPE, STX, MUR

Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE: LVS) edged lower in Friday's pre-market trading after the Wall Street Journal reported that Singapore's casino regulator said Friday that it has begun investigations into allegations about illegal activities in the city-state's two casino resorts and has asked Las Vegas Sands Corp. for more information.

After Wednesday's closing bell, Expedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE) announced that its Board of Directors has preliminarily approved a plan to separate Expedia, Inc. into two publicly traded companies. TripAdvisor, which will include the domestic and international operations associated with the TripAdvisor Media Group, which includes its flagship brand as well as 18 other travel media and advertising brands, and Expedia, Inc., which will continue to include the domestic and international operations of the company's travel transaction brands including,, eLong, Hotwire, Egencia, Expedia Affiliate Network, CruiseShipCenters, Venere, Classic Vacations and The proposed spin-off is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2011. Expedia shares jumped more than 13% n pre-market trading. 

Seagate Technology plc (NYSE: STX) announced late Wednesday that its Board of Directors has approved a quarterly cash dividend of $0.18 per share. The first dividend will be payable on June 1, 2011 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on May 2, 2011. This dividend represents a quarterly payout of approximately $75 million in aggregate, or $300 million on an annualized basis. The company said that the payment of any future quarterly dividends will be at the discretion of the Board and will be dependent upon Seagate's financial position, results of operations, available cash, cash flow, capital requirements and other factors deemed relevant by the Board. For the fiscal third quarter which ended April 1, 2011, Seagate management expects to report revenue of approximately $2.7 billion, unit shipments of 49 million and gross margin as a percent of revenue near or slightly above the high-end of the original outlook range of 18-19%. Cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments at the end of the fiscal third quarter totaled approximately $2.5 billion. Inventory in the distribution channel of Seagate 3.5" SATA hard disk drives is below the targeted range of 4-6 weeks on hand. Seagate shares surged more than 8% in pre-market trading.

Murphy Oil Corp. (NYSE: MUR) on Thursday won approval to resume drilling a deepwater well in the Gulf of Mexico that was halted when the U.S. government banned such operations amid last year's oil spill, regulators said.

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