Markets & Finance

CNA Drops


S&P Ratings and Moody's placed CNA Financial 's (CNA) debt ratings under review. Earlier CNA posted 25 cents vs. 14 cents second-quarter EPS from continuing operations despite a $166 million drop in net written premiums. S&P reiterates hold.

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) posted 11% lower July same-store sales, and 6% higher total sales. A&F expects to exceed the current 33 cents second-quarter EPS consensus estimate. S&P keeps hold.

Hartford Financial Services (HIG) posted $1.23 second-quarter earnings per share (adjusted for one-time items). Hartford raised the 2003 earnings per share guidance to $4.95-$5.20 (excluding asbestos). Banc of America raised the target to $61. S&P reiterates buy.

XM Satellite Radio (XMSR) posted a $1.38 second-quarter loss. It says the group of insurers denied claims relating to power degradation trends experienced by its satellites. Merrill says the stock price weakness is overdone.

Loews (LTR) posted $1.02 vs. 84 cents second-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations as $250.7 million in investment gains, compared with $117.9 million in losses in the second-quarter of of 2002, offset a 8.6% net revenue decline.

Best Buy (BBY) raised the 27 cents to 32 cents second-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations guidance to 37 cents to 42 cents, and raised the $2.17 to $2.22 fiscal 2004 guidance to $2.27 to $2.32.

Tenet Healthcare (THC) climbed despite posting a 42-cent second-quarter loss per share, vs. 48 cents earnings per share a year ago. On Wednesday, Tenet agreed to pay the government $54 million in connection with an investigation regarding alleged unnecessary cardiac procedures performed at Redding Medical Center in California. The hospital operator recorded charges of 69 cents a share, including impairment and restructuring charges, legal fees, and costs related to retirement plan and malpractice liabilities. Revenue slipped 1.5% to $3.38 billion.

Barr Laboratories (BRL) posted 53 cent vs. 66 cents fourth-quarter EPS (GAAP) despite a 44% total revenue rise.

AmeriCredit (ACF) delayed the release of fiscal 2003 results as independent accountants review accounting treatment under FASBS 133 of certain interest-rate swaps entered into prior to 2001, which were used to hedge variable cash flows on credit enhancement assets.

Wachovia upgraded EMC (EMC) to outperform from market perform. Bear Stearns upgraded to outperform from peer perform. On Wednesday the data-storage maker said it sees a slight upturn in information-technology spending, and reaffirmed the third-quarter guidance.

Wal-Mart (WMT) posted a 4.6% rise in same-store sales rose in July, and raised its earnings outlook for the second quarter.

American Eagle Outfitters (AEOS) posted 11% lower July same-store sales, and slightly higher total sales. American Eagle expects 10 cents to 11 cents second-quarter earnings per share, within the previous 10 cents to 12 cents guidance. Prudential reportedly downgraded to hold from buy.

Dean Foods (DF) posted 54 cents vs. 48 cents second-quarter earnings per share despite a 3.2% net sales decline. It sees $2.03 to $2.07 in 2003 earnings per share, down from the previous $2.07 to $2.11 guidance.

Sharper Image (SHRP) posted 15% higher same-store sales, and 25% higher total company sales. The retailer reconfirmed the 2 cents to 3 cents second-quarter earnings per share guidance.

Citizens Communication (CZN) posted 12 cents second-quarter earnings per share, vs. a 15-cent loss, as lower operating expenses and other costs offset a 3% revenue decline.

Children's Place (PLCE) posted 3% higher second-quarter same-store sales, 24% higher total sales, and expects to post a 35-cents second-quarter loss.

Hot Topic (HOTT) posted 8.7% higher July same-store sales, and 28% higher total sales. First Albany reportedly upgraded to buy.

Dutch insurer Aegon (AEG) posted 30 euro cents vs. 10 euro cents second-quarter earnings per share despite an 11% total revenue decline. Ageon declined to give 2003 guidance due to uncertain market conditions.

Pier 1 Imports (PIR) posted 4.1% lower July same-store sales, 4.9% higher sales. The home products retailer sees August same-store sales down 3% to 6%, and 20 cents to 23 cents second-quarter earnings per share.


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