Markets & Finance

Movers: Countrywide Financial, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Autodesk, Kohl's


Friday's stocks in the news

From Standard & Poor's Equity ResearchFinancial stocks like Bear Stearns (BSC) and mortgage lenders such as Countrywide Financial (CFC) rebound after the Federal Reserve, in a suprise move, cut its discount rate -- the interest rate that the Fed charges to make direct loans to banks -- to 5.75% from 6.25 percent.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) posts third quarter operating GAAP earnings per share of $0.66, vs. $0.48 a year ago, on 16% revenue rise (12% when adjusted for currency). It sees fourth quarter revenue of about $27-$27.2 billion and GAAP EPS of $0.75-$0.76. S&P reiterates hold.

Dell's (DELL) audit committee completes independent investigation into certain accounting and financial reporting matters. As result of errors and irregularities identified, it determines the company will restate results for fiscal years 2003-2006 and first quarter of fiscal year 2007.

Autodesk (ADSK) posts $0.38, vs. $0.36 a year ago, second quarter GAAP EPS on 17% revenue rise. The software maker sees $0.34-$0.36 third quarter EPS, and $0.42-$0.44 for the fourth quarter. Bear Stearns upgrades to outperform from peer perform.

Kohl's (KSS) posts $0.83, vs. $0.69 a year ago, second quarter EPS on 1.3% higher same-store sales, 8.7% higher total sales. It sees third quarter EPS of $0.67-$0.71, and fourth quarter of $1.63-$1.69. Deutsche Bank reportedly upgrades to buy from hold.

Nordstrom (JWN) posts $0.71, vs. $0.67 a year ago, second quarter EPS on 5.9% higher same-store sales. The retailer sees $2.91-$2.97 fiscal year 2008 EPS on 5%-6% same-store sales growth.

Wild Oats Market (OATS) announces that a court has denied the Federal Trade Commission's request for preliminary injunction related to its proposed merger with Whole Foods Market (WFMI).

Nasdaq Stock Market (NDAQ) rises after the Borse Dubai announced an all cash competing offer for OMX AB, a 17% premium offer to Nasdaq's current cash and stock merger agreement with OMX. S&P maintains hold.

NYSE Euronext (NYX) says so far this month, trading volume on NYSE Group U.S. cash equities market is 110% higher than a year ago.

E*Trade Financial (ETFC) says it has no material changes to date with respect to availability, pricing or margin on its wholesale funding sources, including repurchase agreements.

Sharper Image (SHRP) rises. In response to a published report suggesting that the company may settle class action suit regarding its Ionic Breeze purifiers that could push it into bankruptcy, Sharper Image says it didn't participate in the article and has adequate funding to operate.

Rare Hospitality (RARE) agrees to be acquired by Darden Restaurants (DRI) for $38.15 per share in cash, or about $1.4 billion in total price. S&P maintains strong buy.

Midwest Air Group (MEH) agrees to be acquired by an affiliate of TPG Capital in a $450 million deal. Terms: each MEH share to be converted into right to receive $17.00 per share in cash. The company notes TPG's bid was weighed against the $16.27 bid from Airtran (AAI).

El Paso (EP) agrees to acquire Peoples Energy Production Co. for $875 million in cash from Integrys Energy (TEG).

International Paper (IP) enters into a joint venture with Ilim Holding to form the largest foreign-domestic alliance in the Russian forest sector. IP plans to buy a 50% stake in Ilim Holding for $650 million.

Nokia (NOK) files complaint with the US International Trade Commission alleging that Qualcomm (QCOM) engaged in unfair trade practices through infringing on five Nokia patents in its CDMA and WCDMA/GSM chipsets.

Bea Systems (BEAS) posts second quarter total revenues of $364.6 million, up 7% from a year ago; license fees of $123.1 million were down 9% from year ago; services revenues of $241.5 million were up 19%. It will not provide EPS guidance due to internal review of historical stock option grants.


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