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Stocks to Watch Wednesday: Excite@Home, M&T Bank, Lockheed Martin, Scholastic

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Excite@Home

(ATHM) - Get Report

announced the resignation of CEO

George Bell

, who will remain in his current position until a replacement is found. The company said it expects Bell to stay on as chairman at least through 2001.

The announcement was made after the Tuesday's close, which saw Excite@Home stock at $16.19, down 25 cents.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Aetna International

, a unit of health insurer

Aetna

(AET)

said it's selling its stakes in three Mexican banking and insurance joint ventures to its partner

Grupo Financiero BBVA Bancomer

for $693 million. The deal is part of Aetna's preparations to sell its financial services and international businesses to

ING Groep

(ING) - Get Report

.

Lockheed Martin

(LMT) - Get Report

beat

TRW

(TRW)

for an Air Force contract worth about $1.5 billion over 15 years. The contract is for modernizing command systems of the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

M&T Bank

(MTB) - Get Report

said its shareholders favored its planned $1 billion merger with

Keystone Financial

(KSTN)

. Separately, the company set a 10-for-1 stock split.

Synovus

(SNV) - Get Report

said that it has entered a $61.4 million stock deal to buy

Carolina Southern Bank

(CSBK)

. According to the terms of the deal, Synovus will combine Carolina Southern with its affiliate,

The National Bank of South Carolina

. Carolina Southern shareholders will get 0.8514 shares of Synovus for each share of Carolina Southern they hold.

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Earnings/revenue reports and previews

CNF

(CNF) - Get Report

, a shipping company, warned investors that its third-quarter results would miss analyst expectations. CNF, which blamed the shortfall on soft profits at its Emery Worldwide air freight division, said that third-quarter earnings would be between 61 cents a share to 66 cents, greatly below the 14-analyst estimate of 80 cents a share.

Informix

(IFMX)

cautioned investors that it would report a third-quarter loss of between 5 cents and 8 cents a share, missing the five-analyst estimate of a 2-cent profit. The company also warned that it would post break-even results in the fourth-quarter, also coming in below the five analyst estimate of a 6-cent profit. The Web software maker, which expects to report a profit in the first-quarter of fiscal 2001, said that its plans to set up two independent operating companies, with one focusing on software, and the other for e-business.

Jabil Circuit

TST Recommends

(JBL) - Get Report

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 24 cents a share, in line with the 25-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 11-cent profit. The electronic circuit board assembly maker also named its president Timothy Main its new CEO.

Chemical company

Lubrizol

(LZ) - Get Report

said rising raw material costs and the strong U.S. dollar will affect its third-quarter and full-year earnings. The company expected third-quarter earnings to be between 45 and 50 cents a share. A five-analyst survey on

First Call/Thomson Financial

gave the company a 56 cents a share estimate.

Scholastic

(SCHL) - Get Report

posted a narrower-than-expected loss for its first-quarter thanks to

Harry Potter

. The publishing and media company reported a loss of 62 cents a share, beating the five-analyst estimate of a $1.11-loss and up from the year-ago loss of $1.43. Also, the company increased its earnings-per-share target for fiscal 2001 to $4.10-$4.25, compared with earnings of $3.25 last year, before non-recurring charges. The five-analyst estimate for the year is $3.77.

The company said

Harry Potter

trade revenue exceeded $90 million, fueled by the release of

Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire

in hardcover and

Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets

in paperback. Based on continuing demand, Scholastic expects that

Harry Potter

trade sales, including related bookmark and journal publishing, will be about 8% to 10% of total revenues in fiscal 2001, compared to about 5% to 6% last year.

Spartech

(SEH)

said it expected to see fourth-quarter earnings fall to 42 cents a share from 40 cents due to slowing trucking and manufactured housing markets. Their estimate was about 10% below the

First Call/Thomson Financial

analyst survey of 46 cents a share.

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Offerings and stock actions

Old National Bancorp

(OLDB)

said it will buy back or redeem up to 2 million of its shares.

Propel

, a unit of

Motorola

(MOT)

, said its underwriters set its IPO at 23.5 million shares with a price range of $17 to $19 a share, according to a filing with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

. After the offering, Motorola will own about 84.5% of the company's outstanding shares.

On June 27, the company filed to sell up to $500 million in common stock but hadn't detailed the terms. The offering will constitute the remainder of the 151.5 million shares outstanding, suggesting a total market capitalization of up to $2.88 billion and total proceeds from the offering of up to $446.5 million.

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Miscellany

Archer Daniels Midland

(ADM) - Get Report

said it plans to shut down four cottonseed processing plants. The company blamed the closings on poor conditions in the cottonseed business. ADM will use the plants as cottonseed gathering station and said they would keep some employees.

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