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CITIGROUP INC (C)

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US STOCK FUTURES: HOT STOCKS TO WATCH

03/14/2012 | 08:04am US/Eastern
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Among the companies with shares expected to actively trade in Wednesday's session are Zions Bancorporation (ZION), Citigroup (>> Citigroup Inc.) and Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. (>> Pacific Sunwear of California, Inc.).

A number of the biggest U.S. banks late Tuesday announced dividend raises and stock buybacks, after receiving the results of the Federal Reserve's stress tests. BB&T Corp. (BBT) said the Fed had no objection to it raising its dividend by 4 cents. Keycorp (KEY) said it will buy back $344 million in stock and said its board will evaluate an increase in the dividend. Zions Bancorp said it won't have to raise equity in order to repay its $1.4B of TARP aid. Many have long anticipated the Utah-based regional bank selling common and/or preferred shares to help raise the necessary cash. Zions shares climb 6.8% premarket to $20.85, BB&T's stock added 1.1% to $30.72 and KeyCorp rose 1.1% to $8.35.

Four firms, including Citigroup, MetLife Inc. (MET), SunTrust Banks Inc. (STI) and Ally Financial (GMA.XX), failed to meet at least one of the capital requirements under the Fed's hypothetical stress scenario. Shares of Citi tumbled 4% to $34.99 premarket, MetLife's stock fell 4.2% to $37.80 and SunTrust shares declined 4.4% to $21.58.

PacSun reported a wider fiscal fourth-quarter loss due to weaker-than-expected sales and store-closing costs. It also projected a downbeat first-quarter loss. Shares dropped 14% to $2.15 premarket.

LSI Corp. (LSI) raised its fiscal first-quarter guidance to reflect a stronger-than-expected recovery in the hard-disk-drive market and a ramp of flash-based products. Shares were trading 5.4% higher at $9 premarket as LSI said it now expects earnings between 12 cents and 16 cents a share on revenue of $585 million to $615 million for the quarter ending April 1.

Guidewire Software Inc.'s (>> Guidewire Software Inc) fiscal second-quarter earnings fell 32% as the insurance-software maker reported a higher tax provision and higher expenses, though revenue jumped. Shares jumped 12% to $28.75 premarket as results beat analyst estimates.

Francesca's Holdings Corp.'s (>> Francesca's Holdings Corp) fiscal fourth-quarter earnings surged a better-than-expected 93%, even after the women's retailer boosted guidance in January, as holiday sales and margins improved. Shares jumped 16% to $31.15 premarket.

SciClone Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s (>> SciClone Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) fourth-quarter profit soared as the pharmaceutical company's revenue and margins strengthened. Shares climbed 22% to $6.40 premarket.

Medifast Inc.'s (>> Medifast, Inc.) fourth-quarter earnings fell 66% as expenses related to the company's expansion of its weight control centers weighed on bottom-line results, though revenue improved. Shares slipped 5.4% to $15.80 premarket.

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (>> Cliffs Natural Resources Inc) more than doubled its quarterly dividend, part of a new strategy the mining company said will shift focus away from big deals while returning more value to stockholders. Shares rose 4.5% to $67.80 premarket.

Biopharmaceutical company Endocyte Inc. (>> Endocyte, Inc.) said it will submit conditional marketing authorization applications for its ovarian cancer treatment in Europe in the third quarter after meeting with European health authorities. Shares rose 3.5% to $3.85 in premarket trading.

Benihana Inc. (BNHN) said its board is exploring strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the company. Shares rose 2.6% to $12.16 premarket.

American Capital Mortgage Investment Corp. (>> American Capital Mortgage Investment Crp) said it plans to double its shares outstanding with an offering of 10 million shares. The trust, which started last year, is externally managed and advised by an affiliate of American Capital Ltd. (>> American Capital Ltd.), the trust's largest shareholder. Shares of the trust fell 2.4% to $21.94 premarket.

Cheniere Energy Inc. (>> Cheniere Energy, Inc.) plans to sell 17 million shares of its stock for general corporate purposes, including repaying debt. Shares were down 4% at $15.37 premarket.

FXCM Inc.'s (FXCM) profit jumped in the fourth quarter, topping expectations, as the foreign-exchange brokerage benefited from strong trading volume. Shares climbed 9.5% to $11.50 premarket.

Noranda Aluminum Holding Corp. (>> Noranda Aluminum Holding Corporation) said 10 million of its shares will be offered by funds affiliated with the company's largest shareholder. Shares fell 8.1% to $10.36 premarket.

Payment-services provider FleetCor Technologies Inc. (>> FleetCor Technologies, Inc.) said entities associated with Summit Partners and Bain Capital Partners agreed to sell 6 million shares of its common stock. The company's stock was down 3.3% premarket at $36.45.

 
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Chip maker Analog Devices Inc. (>> Analog Devices, Inc.) will move its listing to the Nasdaq Global Select Market from the New York Stock Exchange effective April 2, the latest technology company to make the switch.

A partnership led by Chesapeake Energy Corp. (>> Chesapeake Energy Corporation)--along with M3 Midstream LLC and EV Energy Partners LP (>> EV Energy Partners, L.P.)--plans to spend about $900 million on a system to collect and move natural gas from eastern Ohio, deepening Chesapeake's investment in the state's Utica shale region.

Moody's Investors Service raised its outlook on First Industrial Realty Trust Inc. (>> First Industrial Realty Trust, Inc.) to positive from stable, noting the real estate investment trust's progress in leasing up its portfolio, reducing leverage and improving liquidity.

Genesee & Wyoming Inc.'s (>> Genesee & Wyoming Inc.) February traffic slid 0.6% in February from a year earlier as the railroad reporter continued to see sluggish coal demand.

Health Net Inc.'s (>> Health Net, Inc.) said it will add $323.7 million to its share-repurchase program, as the managed care-provider looks to boost returns to shareholders.

Level 3 Communications Inc. (>> Level 3 Communications, Inc.) entered into an agreement with Southeastern Asset Management to exchange about $100 million of its senior debt for common stock.

Nstar (>> NSTAR) and Northeast Utilities (>> Northeast Utilities System) said they reached a comprehensive merger-related agreement with Connecticut's attorney general and the state's office of consumer counsel in order to allow their merger to proceed.

Penson Worldwide Inc. said (>> Penson Worldwide, Inc.) Chief Financial Officer Kevin McAleer will retire at month's end, and the brokerage and clearing firm named TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (AMTD) executive Michael Chochon as his successor.

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services removed its investment-grade rating on Ralcorp Holdings Inc. (>> Ralcorp Holdings, Inc.) from a CreditWatch that began in May of last year, reducing for now the likelihood of any potential downgrade into junk territory.

U.S. regulators have asked Roche Holding AG (ROG.VX, RHHBY) for additional information about its proposed takeover of Illumina Inc. (ILMN), the drug maker said Tuesday.

-Edited by Corrie Driebusch and Drew FitzGerald; write to corrie.driebusch@dowjones.com

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