Markets & Finance

Will Albertson's Go On Sale?


Albertson's (ABS) said it's exploring strategic alternatives to increase shareholder value, including a possible sale of the company.

Blockbuster (BBI) said it will not declare a quarterly cash dividend for the third quarter. The video rental company said its board decided it's more important to use cash for business, as Blockbuster struggles to transform itself in the face of a challenging market.

Walgreen ( WAG) posted 7% higher sales in August at stores that had been open longer than a year, and total sales that were 12% higher.

Northwest Airlines( NWAC) said it expects a third quarter loss of $350 million to $400 million. S&P thinks this forecast equates to between $4 and $4.60 in earnings per share, and reiterates a strong sell.

Midland Co. (MLAN) said it believes its after-tax losses from Hurricane Katrina should be between 40 cents and 60 cents per share. The company said losses of the magnitude it currently anticipates are well contained within the structure of its catastrophe reinsurance programs.

Maritrans (TUG ) said that after a brief interruption at the height of Hurricane Katrina, all of its vessels are operating at pre-storm utilization levels again, and there is no physical damage to its fleet or injury to the crews who were aboard the vessels.

Insituform Technologies (INSU) said it expects a short-range adverse impact on its third and fourth quarter results following Hurricane Katrina, given the underground pipe installer's significant operations in the Gulf states.

Medicis Pharmaceutical (MRX) posted 38 cent vs. 34 cent fourth quarter earnings per share (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) on a 14% rise in revenue.

St. Jude Medical (STJ) received regulatory, reimbursement approvals from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare in Japan for two of its implantable cardioverter defibrillators.

PLATO Learning (TUTR) posted 1 cent earnings per share during the third quarter compared to 29 cents in the year ago period, after it suffered 23% lower sales. The software instruction company expects lower revenue during the fourth quarter of between $33 million and $36 million, as well as net earnings of between $1.5 million and $4 million excluding restructurings and other charges.

Microchip Technology( MCHP) reaffirmed its second quarter sales guidance of about $227 million and about 30 cents in earnings per share. S&P reiterated its buy opinion on the company.

Neoware Systems (NWRE) posted 14 cent earnings per share for the fourth quarter compared to 3 cents during the comparable period, after the company's sales rose 45%. The software services company expects to have between $22 million to $24 million revenue in the first quarter.

H&R Block (HRB) posted a 9 cent loss in the first quarter compared to an 11 cent loss during the comparable period, after the financial services company had a 26% rise in revenue. H&R Block affirmed its $2.12 to $2.32 fiscal year 2006 earnings per share forecast.

CSK Auto( CAO) posted 29 cent earnings per share during the second quarter (including charges) compared to 33 cents during the comparable quarter, despite experiencing 2.4% higher total sales. S&P cut its estimates and target on the automotive parts retailer, but reiterated its hold opinion on the stock.

Renewed takeover talks could spark some interest in the shares of digital imaging company Eastman Kodak (EK).

SuperGen (SUPG ) and MGI Pharma (MOGN) said late Thursday that they received an approvable letter from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Dacogen injection, which is a treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes. The letter provides that Dacogen injection is approvable pending the FDA's review.

American Software (AMSAE) estimated that correcting an income tax accounting error that took place during fiscal year 2005 will require the software company to record a $1.7 million expense, resulting in a fiscal year 2005 earnings per share reduction to about 13 cents from 21 cents.

Immucor (BLUDE) received a letter from the NASDAQ indicating that its stock is subject to delisting, owing to its failure to file its financial statement Form 10-K for fiscal year 2005.

Ashworth (ASHW) posted 17 cents earnings per share during the third quarter compared to 4 cents during the comparable period, after its revenue rose 13%. The sports apparel concern cut its fiscal year 2005 revenue guidance to $200 million to $204 million, and earnings per share to between 12 cents and 15 cents a share.

Methode Electronics( METH) posted 13 cent earnings per share during the first quarter compared to 13 cents during the comparable period, as the electrical technologies company's higher costs and expenses offset an 11% rise in its sales. Methode Electronics expects to have between $102 million and $107 million in second quarter sales, and 17 cents to 19 cents in earnings per share. The company maintains its $385 million to $400 million fiscal year 2006 sales forecast.


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