Stocks to Watch: Home Depot, Ford, Staples

NEW YORK -- Home Depot ( HD), the No. 1 home-improvement retailer, said Friday it will close its seven remaining big box stores in China and cut 850 jobs.

The company plans to focus on online sales and specialty stores as a slowdown in housing sales in China has cut demand for home-improvement products.

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Ford's ( F) board may name CEO Alan Mulally as non-executive chairman to keep him involved with automaker after he leaves the top post, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The board's meeting on Thursday ended with no announcement on Ford's CEO succession plan. Mulally hasn't said when he plans to retire.

But when he does, Ford's Americas President Mark Fields is widely expected to get the CEO job, according to reports.


Several private-equity firms are considering a buyout offer for Staples ( SPLS), according to a report from Fortune. Among the firms is Bain Capital, which helped launch the office superstore 26 years ago.

Discussions have been preliminary thus far, with sources saying the earliest an actual offer could come would be late in 2012, Fortune reported.

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Analogic ( ALOG) , the health care technology company, reported Thursday non-GAAP earnings of $16.6 million, or $1.32 a share, for its fiscal fourth quarter ended in July on revenue of $151 million, up 12% from a year earlier.

On a continuing operations basis, Analogic earned $12.1 million, or 96 cents a share, in the fourth quarter. Analysts were expecting a profit of 71 cents a share on revenue of $140.8 million.


Werner Enterprises ( WERN), the transportation and logistics company, said it expects higher costs for fuel, health care and equipment maintenance to weigh on its third-quarter results.

The company forecast a profit of 33 cents to 36 cents a share for the three months ending in September, below the current consensus view for earnings of 44 cents a share.


-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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