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Stocks to Watch: Saks, Lowe's, Sony

Joseph Woelfel

NEW YORK -- Saks reportedly has hired Goldman Sachs to explore strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the luxury department store chain.

The New York Post reported that likely bidders for the retailer include private-equity firms KKR and Leonard Green & Partners.

Earlier Tuesday, Saks posted a 38% decline in first-quarter earnings but its adjusted results topped expectations.

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Lowe's is expected by analysts to report on Wednesday first-quarter earnings of 51 cents a share on revenue of $13.45 billion.

Home-improvement rival Home Depot on Tuesday said first-quarter net income rose 18%, and it boosted its full-year earnings and revenue forecasts.

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Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai said Wednesday that the board of the Japanese electronics and entertainment giant would assess a proposal from Daniel Loeb's Third Point LLC hedge fund, Sony's biggest shareholder, to spin off up to 20% of its movie, TV and music division.

Loeb said money from the sale could be used to shore up Sony's ailing device manufacturing unit.

Sony initially responded by saying its entertainment business wasn't for sale, though some analysts said the strategy might help Sony unlock hidden value.

Staples is expected by Wall Street to post first-quarter earnings of 27 cents a share on revenue of $5.91 billion.

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NetApp , the data storage company, said Tuesday it planned to cut 900 jobs as part of a restructuring.

NetApp also said it would begin paying a quarterly dividend of 15 cents a share, and it boosted its stock buyback plan to $3 billion.

The company posted fiscal fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of 69 cents a share, topping estimates by a penny.

Target is forecast by Wall Street on Wednesday to post first-quarter earnings of 85 cents a share.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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