Stocks to Watch: Wal-Mart, Target, BP (Update 1)

NEW YORK -- Wal-Mart Stores ( WMT), the world's largest retailer, on Thursday posted third-quarter earnings of $1.08 a share, up from 97 cents a share a year earlier. Sales rose 3.4% to $113.2 billion.

Analysts expected quarterly earnings of $1.07 a share on revenue of $115 billion.

Wal-Mart said it expects to earn $4.88 to $4.93 a share for the full year; its prior estimate was $4.83 to $4.93 a share. Analysts forecast fiscal-year earnings of $4.93 a share.

The stock was falling 3.4% in premarket trading Thursday to $68.90.

Wal-Mart Is Not Target

Target ( TGT) reported third-quarter adjusted earnings of 90 cents a share as sales rose 3.4% to $16.6 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters forecast a profit of 77 cents a share in the October-ended period on revenue of $16.92 billion.

Target said it expects fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.64 to $1.74 a share.

Target shares fell slightly to $61.36 in premarket trading.

Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot Report Earnings This Week

BP ( BP) said Thursday it is in advanced talks with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission about settling criminal and other claims from the Deepwater Horizon explosion in 2010.

BP said the talks were about "proposed resolutions of all U.S. federal government criminal and SEC claims against BP in connection with the Deepwater Horizon incident." The British oil company said "no final agreement has yet been reached."

BP said the proposed settlement wouldn't include civil claims.

A source told Reuters that BP's settlement payment would be the largest criminal penalty in U.S. history. That record is now held by Pfizer, which paid a $1.3 billion fine in 2009 for marketing fraud, Reuters noted.

BP shares were up 0.3% in premarket trading.

PC maker Dell ( DELL) is expected by analysts Thursday to post a third-quarter profit of 40 cents a share on revenue of $13.89 billion. Dell reports after the closing bell.

The stock was up 0.5% in premarket trading Thursday.

NetApp ( NTAP), the maker of storage and data management software, delivered a solid beat in its fiscal second quarter on Wednesday and also provided a robust outlook.

NetApp shares rose 11.7% to $30.30 in premarket trading.

Texas Instruments ( NTAP) announced Wednesday fresh restructuring plans that call for the elimination of 1,700 jobs, or roughly 5% of its work force. The company anticipates charges totaling $325 million in connection with the restructuring program.

Texas Instruments is targeting annual savings of $450 million from the moves.

Starbucks ( SBUX) said Wednesday it would pay $620 million in cash to buy Teavana ( TEA), which sells high-end loose leaf teas in 300 shopping mall locations.

Starbucks shares were up 0.3%; Teavana was down 0.3% to $15.40.

Burned by TEA? Blame 'Efficient' Market, Not Starbucks

Facebook ( FB) shares rose 0.85% to $22.55 in premarket trading Thursday, extending gains from the previous session, even after 800 million shares that were held by investors became eligible for trading on Wednesday.

Safe Bulkers ( SB) shares were falling 15.5% to $4.15 despite adjusted third-quarter earnings of 30 cents a share topping analysts' estimates by a penny.

Revenue for the quarter rose 10.1% to $46.8 million.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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Copyright 2012 Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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