Markets & Finance

Airline Shares Gain


Continental Airlines (CAL) was among the airline stocks seen higher Thursday on a further drop in fuel prices and optimism that a pending airline pension bill would ease financial pinch facing U.S. carriers.

Costco Wholesale (COST) posted 73 cents vs. 62 cents fourth quarter earnings per share (GAAP) on 7% higher same-store sales and 10% higher total sales. The company posted 11% higher September same-store sales and 13% higher total sales. Costco also set a $1 billion stock buyback.

Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) posted 3.8% higher total US same-store sales and 9.7% higher total company sales. Wal-Mart sees US October same-store sales up 2% to 4%. It maintained 55 cents to 59 cents third quarter earnings per share guidance.

Federated Department Stores (FD) posted 1.3% higher September same-store sales. It said it expected September comparable sales at Macy's and Bloomingdale's to rise 2% to 3%, but a number of factors led to disappointing results. The company sees a 1% to 2% October same-store sales rise.

Kerr-McGee (KMG) said its board approves separation of the company's chemical business through an initial public offering of shares of Class A common stock of its wholly-owned subsidiary, Tronox. The initial public offering is planned for the fourth quarter of 2005.

Check Point Software (CHKP) said it sees $140 million to $141.5 million third quarter revenue, and 31 cents to 32 cents earnings per share, excluding acquisition-related charges, within guidance ranges. The company is to acquire Sourcefire for $225 million.

Marriott(MAR) posted 65 cents vs. 56 cents third quarter earnings per share on a 9.2% rise in worldwide comparable Revpar. The company sees an 8% to 10% fourth quarter North American Revpar rise, or 95 cents to 98 cents fourth quarter earnings per share, and a 7% to 9% 2006 Revpar rise, or $3.00 to $3.10 earnings per share.

Ruby Tuesday (RI) posted 34 cents vs. 44 cents first quarter earnings per share on a 3.9% drop in same-store sales at the company-owned Ruby Tuesday restaurants, amid a 15% total revenue rise. The company sees 27 cents to 28 cents second quarter earnings per share.

Jo-Ann Stores (JAS) posted unchanged September same-store sales, and a 5.3% total sales rise. The company says sales for the first nine weeks of the second half of the year have been a major disappointment. The company suspended its $1.65 to $1.75 annual earnings per share guidance.

Electronic Arts (ERTS) settled a class action lawsuit with current and former computer graphic artists regarding their overtime compensation. Electronic Arts is to make a total payment of $15.6 million.

Stone Energy (SGY) cut its third quarter 2005 production guidance due to the impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The company now sees 212 million cubic feet equivalent per day for the third quarter, 180 to 220 million cubic feet equivalent for the fourth quarter, and 230 to 245 million cubic feet equivalent for 2005.

Aeropostale (ARO) posted 4.2% lower September same-store sales and 15% higher total sales. The company cut its 50 cents to 53 cents third quarter earnings per share guidance to 45 cents to 48 cents.

Pier 1 Imports (PIR) posted 11% lower September same-store sales and 7.7% lower total sales.

Claire's Stores (CLE) Posted 8% higher September same-store sales and 10% higher total stores sales. The company sees 30 cents to 33 cents third quarter earnings per share on 5% to 7% higher same-store sales and 6% to 8% higher revenue, as well as $1.58 to $1.67 fiscal year 2006 earnings per share on 3% to 5% higher same-store sales and 5% to 7% higher revenue.

Citadel Broadcasting(CDL) set an 18 cents quarterly dividend. S&P reiterated its buy recommendation on the stock.

International Speedway (ISCA) posted 69 cents vs. 60 cents third quarter earnings per share from continuing operations on a 7.5% revenue rise. The company reiterated its fourth quarter earnings per share guidance of $225 million to $230 million revenue and 99 cents to $1.01 earnings per share from continuing operations. S&P kept its hold opinion on the stock.

New York & Co (NWY) posted unchanged September same-store sales and a 7.5% total sales rise. The company noted margins below expectations. It sees 2 cents to 5 cents third quarter earnings per share and 29 cents to 36 cents in the fourth quarter. The company cuts $1.18 to $1.26 fiscal year 2006 earnings per share guidance to between 90 cents and $1.00.

Ann Taylor Stores (ANN) posted 2.7% lower September same-store sales and 8.7% higher total sales.


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