Shares of Duquesne Light ( DQE) were among the NYSE's winners Wednesday, jumping 19% after the electric-utility company agreed to be acquired by a private equity consortium for $20 a share, or $1.59 billion in cash. The price represents a 22% premium to Monday's closing price of $16.44. The deal, led by Macquarie Infrastructure Partners and Diversified Utility and Energy Trusts, also includes the assumption of $148 million in preferred shares and long-term debt of about $1.26 billion, bringing the overall value of the transaction to $3.15 billion. "We are pleased to have the opportunity to team with this well-established, solidly-run, locally-based utility as Macquarie further expands its infrastructure interests in the United States," Macquarie Infrastructure Partners said in a press release. The deal is expected to close during the first quarter of 2007. Shares of DQE recently were trading up $3.13 to $19.57. Shares of Occidental Petroleum ( OXY) fell 3% after the company said it will record a $306 million charge on its first- and second-quarter earnings. The charge stems from Ecuador's decision in May to terminate Occidental's contract for the operation of Block 15, which comprises all of the company's oil-producing operations in the country. The government of Ecuador also seized all of Occidental's assets at Block 15. Occidental said its charge related to the matter will total $306 million, or 71 cents a share. The company, which reported earnings from continuing operations of $2.83 a share for the first quarter, said the charge will cut earnings for the period to $2.67 a share. For the second quarter, the company anticipates earnings from continuing operations of $2.70 to $2.80 a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call project second-quarter earnings of $2.88 a share. Shares were down $2.94 to $101.65. Carpenter Technology ( CRS) fell 3% after the producer of specialty alloys and engineering products named a new chief financial officer. The company said that M. David Kornblatt will start as financial chief immediately. He'll replace Terrence Geremski, who previously said he would be retiring. Geremski's retirement is effective Aug. 1. Carpenter Technology shares were down $3.52 to $115.85.
Shares of Walgreen ( WAG) rose modestly after the drugstore operator posted a 9% increase in June same-store sales. The company said that total sales jumped 14% to $3.99 billion. June pharmacy sales, meanwhile, rose 16%, while same-store pharmacy sales rose 11.6%. Shares were trading up 16 cents to $45.40. Despite receiving a one-year extension of its instant-ticket contract with the Massachusetts Lottery, Scientific Games ( SGMS) fell modestly Wednesday. The extension, which runs from August 2006 to August 2007, is worth about $12.5 million. "We are delighted with this vote of confidence from the Massachusetts Lottery, which by any measure is one of the most successful in the world," Scientific Games said. Shares were recently down 28 cents to $35.62. NYSE volume leaders included Pfizer ( PFE), up 4 cents to $23.62; EMC ( EMC), up 4 cents to $10.98; General Electric ( GE), down 7 cents to $33.26; Lucent Technologies ( LU), down 4 cents to $2.39; Nortel Networks ( NT), down 3 cents to $2.28; Exxon Mobil ( XOM), down 14 cents to $62.01; and Hewlett Packard ( HPQ), up 51 cents to $33.02. Nasdaq volume leaders included Microsoft ( MSFT), down 31 cents to $23.39; Intel ( INTC), down 41 cents to $18.95; Sirius Satellite Radio ( SIRI), down 10 cents to $4.51; Cisco Systems ( CSCO), down 37 cents to $19.63; JDSU ( JDSU), down 7 cents to $2.42; and Oracle ( ORCL), down 15 cents to $14.66.