The following is a round-up of news likely to affect stock prices today:

Ciena (CIEN) shares skidded over 8% in premarket trading after reporting a first-quarter loss of 12 cents a share, bigger than the 6 cents a share loss that analysts had estimated. Revenue for the quarter also missed view. While the company said it sees strong order flow in the quarter, guideline for the current quarter was conservative.

Wal-Mart (WMT) raised its dividend by 11% to $1.21 per share from $1.09 per share.

Wendy's/Arby's (WEN) reported on Thursday a narrower fourth-quarter loss of $13.6 million, or 3 cents a share. Revenue at the company rose to $900.9 million.

Pier 1 Imports (PIR) said Thursday that it expects earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter to be at least 29 cents a share, compared to a loss of 33 cents a share a year earlier. Sales in the quarter rose 1.8% to $396 million from $389 million. Same-store sales were up 6.5%. Analysts polled by FactSet had been expecting earnings of 25 cents a share on sales of $405 million. Shares jumped more than 9% ahead of the bell.

Urban Outfitters (URBN) said its fourth quarter profit rose 92% to $78 million, or 45 cents a share. Same-store sales rose 9%, with total sales up 16% to $589 million, a company record. Analysts had expected earnings of 40 cents a share. Shares advanced over 4.5% before the bell.

Among retailers reporting February sales:
  • Limited Brands (LTD) said February same-store sales rose 10%, slightly ahead of Wall Street expectations of 9.7%.
  • Gap (GPS) said February same-store sales rose 3%, better than the 1.8% expected.
  • Macy's (M) said February same-store sales rose 3.7%, better than the 1.4% drop expected.
Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) reported a smaller-than-forecast rise in adjusted profit and said global beer sales were stagnant. It forecast no rebound in 2010.

Citigroup (C) CEO Vikram Pandit will testify before the congressional panel charged with overseeing the government's bank bailout. He plans to tell U.S. taxpayers that he's grateful for the $45 billion bailout that helped stave off a deposit run at the bank in 2008, according to a Bloomberg story which cites a person close to the company.

Sina Corp (SINA), China's largest Internet portal, reported improved advertising spending, but a Beijing crackdown on pornography dragged fourth-quarter profit and revenue below expectations. Shares dropped 3.3% in premarket trading.

PetSmart's (PETM) quarterly profit of of $75 million, or 61 cents a share, beat market estimates of 56 cents a share as more people shopped for their pets during the holiday season, boosting sales up by 3.4% to $1.41 billion. The company forecast first-quarter results ahead of Wall Street expectations. Shares soared over 10% before the bell.

Take-Two Interactive Software (TTWO) reported a narrower and better-than-expected net loss of $33.9 million, or 43 cents a share as revenue rose 9% to $163.2 million. The company said it would slash 15% of its corporate headcount. Shares were 5% higher ahead of the bell.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) was the No. 1 investment bank in 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Goldman Sachs Group (GS) was No. 2 in total fees and No. 1 in mergers and acquisitions, having advised Schering-Plough on its completed $47 billion sale to Merck & Co. (MRK), among other transactions. Total investment-banking fees for all firms rose 13% in 2009, to $59.8 billion.

UBS AG (UBS) and Ernst & Young LLP won a Luxembourg court ruling potentially nullifying hundreds of claims by investors who lost money in funds tied to Bernard Madoff's fraud, Bloomberg reported.

Analyst Calls:
  • UBS upgraded Boeing (BA) from sell to neutral.
  • Morgan Keegan upgraded FedEx (FDX) from market perform to outperform.
  • Walt Disney (DIS) was upped to buy from neutral by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
  • Coca-Cola (KO) was upped to buy from neutral by UBS.

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