October 10, 2012 / 11:59 AM / 5 years ago

MARKET PULSE-True Religion, Costco, Alcoa, FedEx, Optimer

Oct 10 (Reuters) - Some U.S. stocks to watch on Wednesday:

(For The Day Ahead newsletter click on link.reuters.com/mex49s)

** TRUE RELIGION APPAREL INC, Tuesday close $21.01, up 21 pct premarket

The denim maker said it was evaluating strategic alternatives, which could include a possible sale of the company, after receiving indications of interest from third parties.

** COSTCO WHOLESALE CORP, Tuesday close $99.64, up 2 pct premarket

The company posted a 27 percent jump in its fourth-quarter profit, as the U.S. warehouse chain’s sales continued to rise and it got a lift from higher membership fees.

** ALCOA INC,>, Tuesday close $9.13, down 1.4 pct premarket

Nomura Equity Research cut its price target on the company’s stock to $9 from $12.

** FEDEX CORP, Tuesday close $85.58, up 2.3 pct premarket

The company said on Tuesday that it plans to sharply cut costs at its underperforming express air freight and services divisions, seeking to improve profits at those operations by $1.7 billion over the next four years.

** AURICO GOLD INC , Tuesday close $6.42, up 7.8 pct post-market

National Bank Financial cut its price target on the company’s stock to C$7.50 from C$10.25.

** WAL-MART STORES INC, Tuesday close $74.14

The world’s largest retailer will host its annual investor day webcast before markets open. It may provide updates about all three operating segments - Walmart U.S., Walmart International and Sam’s Club - as well as Global eCommerce and its overall growth plans.

** OPTIMER PHARMACEUTICALS INC, Tuesday close $10.83

The biopharmaceutical company sold its stake in its subsidiary, Optimer Biotechnology Inc, for $60 million to the unit’s current shareholders and said it will use the funds to market its diarrhea drug, Dificid.

Jefferies analyst Eun Yang said the company’s new initiative to revive the growth of Dificid was reassuring and maintained her “buy” rating on the stock.

** WABCO HOLDINGS INC, Tuesday close $59.94

Robert W. Baird & Co downgraded the company to “neutral.”

** DANAHER CORP, Tuesday close $55.43

** COOPER INDUSTRIES, Tuesday close $74.52

The companies said they will sell their hand and power tools joint venture, Apex Tool Group, to Bain Capital for about $1.6 billion.

** DARLING INTERNATIONAL INC, Tuesday close $17.55

BMO Capital Markets downgraded the company’s stock to “market perform” from “outperform” and cut its price target to $18 from $21.

** MCGRAW-HILL COMPANIES INC, Tuesday close $55.15

Jefferies & Co raised the company’s price target to $64 from $54.

** VIACOM INC, Tuesday close $56.22

Sanford C. Bernstein downgraded the stock to “underperform.”

** HOST HOTELS AND RESORTS INC, Tuesday close $15.53

The company reported third-quarter operating performance.

** YUM BRANDS INC, Tuesday close $66.04, up 2 pct premarket

The parent company of KFC raised its full-year outlook on Tuesday after sales in China held up despite cooling economic growth in that market, the restaurant company’s largest.

** BEST BUY CO INC, Tuesday close $17.84

The company’s chief financial officer, James Muehlbauer, is leaving the embattled retailer after more than a decade, the company said on Tuesday.

** MICROSOFT CORP, Tuesday close $29.28

The company’s Chief Executive Steve Ballmer got a lower bonus than last year‘s, partly for flat sales of Windows and his failure to ensure that the company provided a choice of browser to some European customers.

** BAXTER INTERNATIONAL INC, Tuesday close $60.48

The company gave a conservative long-term outlook on Tuesday, largely in line with analyst expectations, saying its focus on treatments for unmet medical needs would help insulate it from macroeconomic pressures.

** ESCO TECHNOLOGIES INC, Tuesday close $37.61

The engineered products maker said it will shut an Illinois plant as it looks to improve margins in its test segment and take a related $3 million charge.

Canaccord Genuity cut its price target on the company’s stock to $34 from $37.

Complied by Aditi Shrivastava in Bangalore aditi.shrivastava@thomsonreuters.com, within U.S. +1 646 223 8780, outside U.S. +91 80 4135 5783, Reuters messaging: aditi.shrivastava.reuters.com@reuters.net

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