Markets & Finance

Applied Materials Falls


Applied Materials (AMAT

) posted 27 cents, vs. 1 cent fourth-quarter earnings per share on an 80% sales rise. The company says as the fourth quarter progressed, some customers became more cautious in response to inventory concerns. First Albany downgraded the stock, while S&P kept its buy rating. The shares traded lower Thursday.

Google (GOOG

) says in an SEC filing that it expects in the future, revenue growth rates will decline over time. It also anticipates downward pressure on operating margins.

Limited Brands (LTD

) posted 16 cents, vs. 25 cents third-quarter earnings per share despite a 1% same-store sales rise and a 2.4% total sales rise. The company notes third-quarter fiscal 2004 results included gains and interest refund. It remains comfortable with 85 cents to 92 cents fourth-quarter earnings-per-share estimate.

Intuit (INTU

) posted a 24-cent first-quarter loss, vs. a 27-cent loss (GAAP) on an 11% revenue rise. The company reaffirms fiscal 2005 guidance of $1.97 billion to $2.02 billion in revenue, and $1.82 to $1.90 earnings per share (GAAP). S&P maintains its hold rating.

Williams (WMB

) raised its 1 cent quarterly dividend to 5 cents.

Medtronic (MDT

) posted 44 cents, vs. 39 cents third-quarter earnings per share on an 11% sales rise. The company reportedly sees third-quarter earnings per share at the low end of the Street's current range. Piper Jaffray downgrades to market perform from outperform.

Men's Wearhouse (MW

) posted 34 cents, vs. 23 cents third-quarter earnings per share on 6.1% higher U.S. same-store sales, 9.7% higher Canada comparable sales, and 11% higher total sales. The retailer sees 61 cents to 63 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share on positive mid-single digit U.S. same-store sales growth.

Claire's Stores (CLE

) posted 27 cents, vs. 26 cents third-quarter earnings per share on a 12% revenue rise. The company cuts its $412 million to $414 million fourth-quarter revenue forecast to $396 million to $405 million, and sees 61 cents to 66 cents earnings per share. It sees $1.28 billion in fiscal 2005 revenue, and $1.49 to $1.54 earnings per share. It raises its quarterly dividend 13%.

Foot Locker (FL

) raised its quarterly dividend 25% to .075 cents.

XM Satellite Radio (XMSR

) plans to offer $300 million of Senior Convertible Notes due 2009.

Williams-Sonoma (WSM

) posted 24 cents, vs. 20 cents third-quarter earnings per share on a 14% revenue rise. The company raises its $1.57 to $1.61 fiscal 2005 earnings-per-share forecast to $1.58 to $1.62.

NetFlix (NFLX

) sees 3 cents to 8 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share (GAAP) on revenue of $139 million to $143 million. It says subscriber growth is exceeding earlier expectations, and churn appears to be heading toward historical lows.

Salesforce.com (CRM

) posted 2 cents third-quarter earnings per share, vs. breakeven on an 82% revenue rise. The company raises fiscal 2005 earnings-per-share guidance to 4 cents to 5 cents, and initiates 10 cents to 12 cents fiscal 2006 earnings-per-share guidance. CSFB downgrades to underperform from neutral.

PLATO Learning (TUTR

) announced John Murray, chairman, president, and CEO, will be leaving the company, after he and the board reach a mutual agreement that this would be in the best interest of both parties. Jefferies downgrades to hold from buy.

MapInfo (MAPS

) rises after JP Morgan upgrades the stock to overweight from neutral.


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