Markets & Finance

Merck Ordered to Pay $4.5 Million in Vioxx Case


Merck (MRK) the jury reportedly finds that Merck failed to warn Vioxx users of the drug's heart risks; the company was ordered to pay the plaintiff at least $4.5 million.

Regis (RGS) the hair care company said Alberto Culver's board no longer recommends a previously announced deal to merge its Sally Beauty operations with Regis. It notes Regis's two consecutive earnings per share (EPS) short-fall announcements, and significant revisions to financial forecasts.

Guidant (GDT) expects about $894 million first quarter revenue and a 6% decline year over year. Among other items, first quarter net will include charges for product recall, product liability charges, employee retention programs, and other merger-related costs.

Sears Holdings (SHLD) says its unit SHLD Acquisition Corp entered into agreement with shareholders who have committed to vote an aggregate of about 7.6 million shares of Sears Canada in favor of going private at the offer price of C$18 per share.

Target (TGT) posts 2.2% higher March same-store sales and 8.6% higher total sales.

CVS (CVS) posts 7% higher March same-store sales and 9.4% higher total sales

Gap (GPS) posts 13% lower March same-store sales and 9% lower total sales. It says March sales were below expectations and merchandise margins were below last year.

Bebe Stores (BEBE) posts 4.1% higher March same-store sales and 12% higher total sales.

Wet Seal (WTSLA) posts 16% higher March same-store sales and 16% higher total sales.

American Greetings (AM) posts 58 cents vs. 28 cents fourth quarter EPS on a 4.9% sales rise. It sees 80 cents to $1.00 fiscal year 2007 EPS.

The PNC Financial Services Group (PNC) raises its quarterly dividend by 10% to 55 cents.

Federated Department Stores (FD) is in a deal with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia to develop an all-new line of Martha Stewart Collection home merchandise exclusively for Federated's Macy's unit. It posts flat March same-store sales and a 65% total sales rise.

Napster (NAPS) sees fourth quarter revenue in excess of $26 million, substantially narrower net loss than originally projected, and cash and short-term investments balance in excess of $103 million. It notes strong subscriber growth.

Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) posts 67 cents vs. 59 cents fourth quarter EPS on 6.3% higher same-store sales and 15% higher total sales. It sees 35 cents first quarter EPS.

Talbots (TLB) cuts first quarter EPS guidance to between 49 cents and 53 cents (including stock expense), cites additional markdowns and a sizeable miss in March's catalog sales. It posts 3.4% lower March same-store sales and 3% lower total sales.

Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) posts 1.4% higher March total U.S. same-store sales and 9.4% higher total sales. It expects the April four-week period to be stronger, with same-store sales growth of 4% to 6%.

Pier 1 Imports (PIR) posts 11 cents fourth quarter loss vs. 21 cents EPS on a 2.9% same-store sales drop and slight total sales rise. It says it accelerated the closings of certain stores with weaker sales. It posts 2.0% lower March same-store sales.

Lyondell Chemical Company (LYO) CITGO Petroleum Corp. plan to jointly explore the sale of Lyondell-Citgo Refining LP partnership, which operates a refinery in Houston, Texas, with crude oil processing capacity of 268,000 barrels per day.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO) is to develop an all-new line of Martha Stewart Collection home merchandise exclusively for Federated's Macy's unit, which is expected to debut in the fall of 2007.

Tower Group (TWGP) enters into a relationship with CastlePoint Holdings whereby CastlePoint has been capitalized with $265 million, and is now able to provide reinsurance and insurance products.

Guess (GES) posts 8.1% higher March same-store sales and 14% higher total sales.

American Eagle Outfitters (AEOS) posts a 3% March same-store sales rise and 9% total sales rise. It says sales trends were favorable throughout March, with the exception of week four, which was affected by the shift of Easter into April this year.

Phelps Dodge (PD) the board of directors increases its shareholder capital return program to $2 billion from $1.5 billion; it also declares a special dividend of $2.00 per share, or about $400 million, and raises its quarterly dividend to 20 cents from $0.1875.

Anntaylor Stores (ANN) posts slightly higher March same-store sales and 11% higher total sales.

Men's Wearhouse (MW) posts a slight decline in March U.S. same-store sales and 7.4% higher comps in Canada.

Aeropostale (ARO) posts 9.3% lower March same-store sales and 9% higher total sales. Results reflect a shift in Easter, and the company's decision to not anniversary certain merchandise classifications which had weak performances last year.

J.C. Penney (JCP) posts 1% lower March same-store sales and flat total department store sales. It notes same-store sales were below guidance for a low single-digit comp store increase, which reflects the later Easter spending pattern.

W D-40 Co (WDFC) posts 43 cents vs. 31 cents second quarter EPS on a 17% sales rise. It says it is still challenged by continuing increases in the cost of goods. It sees $1.50 to $1.65 fiscal year 2006 EPS on 9% to 14% net sales growth.

Chattem (CHTT) posts 75 cents vs. 42 cents first quarter EPS (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) on a 17% revenue rise. It sees $2.30 to $2.40 fiscal year 2006 EPS, excluding items.

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) posts flat March same-store sales and 13% higher total sales.

Family Dollar Stores (FDO) posts 1.4% higher March same-store sales and 7.6% higher total sales. It sees 4% to 6% April same-store sales growth, reflecting the shift of Easter from March to April this year.

Websense (WBSN) sees lower-than-expected first quarter billings of about $39 million, as well as revenue of $42.3 million to $42.5 million, with GAAP EPS expected to be between 16 cents to 17 cents. It cites sales execution issues, primarily in North America.

UTStarcom (UTSI) S&P says shares are higher after UTStarcom's statements at the CTIA wireless conference that its first quarter handset shipments will exceed those of the prior period.

Novelis (NVL) Requests a 31-day extension of a compliance filing waiver from its bank group to complete its financial review of the first and second quarters 2005, as well as to finalize its financial statements for the third quarter of 2005.

Nordstrom (JWN) posts 4.3% higher preliminary March same-store sales and 7.0% higher total sales.


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