TI Sees No Surprises

Texas Instruments said late Monday its first quarter is turning out as expected, and improving inventories will return the chip maker to growth in the second quarter.

TI said it expects first quarter sales of $3.07 billion to $3.22 billion and earnings per share of 29 to 33 cents. Analysts were looking for earnings of 31 cents on a 5.5% decline in sales to $3.15 billion, according to Thomson Financial.

TI also said that customer inventory levels are improving and the inventory correction is nearing an end, and the chip maker said it expects to return to growth in the second quarter.

Despite the upbeat outlook, TI shares lost 2% in late trading Monday.

Stocks ended the day higher despite renewed fears of sub-prime mortgage troubles, as traders focused instead on the latest batch of corporate mergers in the drug and retail sectors.

Tom Online soared 27% on a buyout offer from its parent company.

Cimatron shares doubled on its results, while Cogent Communications slipped on its numbers.

Lumera gained 24% on a deal with Lockheed Martin .

S1 climbed 8% on a share buyback.

The Nasdaq gained 15 to 2402, the S&P 500 climbed 4 to 1406, and the Dow rose 42 to 12,318. Volume rose to 2.72 billion shares on the NYSE, but declined to 1.66 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancing issues led by a 21-11 margin on the NYSE, and 17-12 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 58% on the NYSE, and 71% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 111-32 on the NYSE, and 83-65 on the Nasdaq.

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