Markets & Finance

Wal-Mart Gains on Higher Sales


Wal-Mart (WMT) shares rose Thursday after the retail giant posted 2.8% higher October total U.S. same-store sales, and 10% higher total sales. The company sees a 2% to 4% November same-store sales rise, and 52 cents to 54 cents third-quarter earnings per share, which is at the high-end of the forecast range.

Qualcomm (QCOM) shares moved lower after the company posted 23 cents, vs. 18 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share (GAAP) on a 28% revenue rise. It sees 23 cents to 25 cents first-quarter earnings per share on $1.3 billion to $1.4 billion in revenue, and $1.12 to $1.16 earnings per share for fiscal 2005 on $5.8 billion to $6.3 billion in revenue. S&P reiterates its buy rating.

Gap (GPS) posted 3% higher October same-store sales and 5% higher total sales. The retailer set a $250 million stock buyback.

Ditech Communications (DITC) saw 28 cents to 29 cents second-quarter pre-tax earnings per share from continuing operations on about $24 million in revenue. Cites a delay in shipping a major VQA order to Asian customer and softer demand in the North American wireless marketplace. First Albany cuts to buy.

Andrx (ADRX) posted 16 cents, vs. 16 cents third-quarter earnings per share, despite a 6.7% revenue rise. The company says delays in approval, and a launch of certain generic products caused a shortfall in the quarter. S&P reiterates hold. JP Morgan, First Albany downgrade.

Penn National Gaming (PENN) agreed to acquire Argosy Gaming in a cash deal valued at $2.2 billion. Merrill thinks the deal will be highly accretive and reiterates its buy rating.

Digene (DIGE) posted 11 cents (excluding charge), vs. 3 cents first-quarter earnings per share on a 34% revenue rise. The company sees a 6 cents to 24 cents fiscal 2005 loss on $115 million to $120 million in revenue. The company cites slower growth in the first-half of the year, softness in European sales, and additional investment in U.S. sales and marketing.

Fox Entertainment (FOX) posted 33 cents, vs. 45 cents first-quarter earnings per share as equity losses and a higher interest expense offset a 5% revenue rise.

IT-services company Electronic Data Systems (EDS) postponed third-quarter earnings per share results pending completion of the evaluation of asset impairment related to its Navy Marine Corps Intranet account. The company also notes certain issues related to quarterly bonus plan accruals in 2003 and 2004.

Keithley Instruments (KEI) posted 27 cents, vs. 5 cents, fourth-quarter earnings per share on a 35% revenue rise. The company sees first-quarter revenues of $35 million to $38 million and expects pretax earnings per share to be between upper single-digits and lower teens as a percentage of sales. S&P keeps hold.

Rockwell Automation (ROK) posted 78 cents vs. 35 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share (GAAP basis) on 18% higher sales. S&P raises estimate, keeps hold.

Starbucks (SBUX) posted an 11% rise in October comparable sales at company-operated stores, and a 25% rise in total sales.

Mondavi (MOND) agreed to be acquired by Constellation Brands (STZ) in a deal valued at about $1.36 billion. The terms of the deal price Mondavi Class A shares at $56.50 and Class B shares at $65.82.

Target (TGT) posted 6% higher October same-store sales and 13% higher total sales (from continuing operations). The retailer notes sales were at the upper end of plan.

Williams (WMB) posted 3 cents, vs. 4 cents third-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations. The company sees 34 cents to 44 cents 2004 earnings per share (recurring), vs. its previous 20 cents to 40 cents guidance.

Radio-station operator Cumulus Media (CMLS) posted 13 cents, vs. 10 cents third-quarter earnings per share (GAAP) on 13% higher revenues. The company expects fourth-quarter pro-forma net revenue to grow by 2% to 4% from year-ago level of $81 million.

Costco (COST) posted 8% higher October same-store sales and 11% higher total sales.

AnnTaylor (ANN) posted 6.2% higher October same-store sales and 20% higher total sales. The women's apparel retailer posted 1.4% higher third-quarter same-store sales. Due to extensive promotional activity at Ann Taylor, the company sees 20 cents third-quarter earnings per share, vs. its previous 28 cents to 32 cents guidance.

Talbots (TLB) posted 4.7% higher October same-store sales and 3% higher total sales. The company now sees third-quarter earnings per share at the high end of its previously announced range of 45 cents to 50 cents (including an 8-cent third-quarter tax benefit).

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) posted 11% higher October same-store sales and 28% higher total sales.


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