Markets & Finance

Movers: Lennar, EchoStar, Lowe's, Target, First Horizon National


Tuesday's stocks in the news

From Standard & Poor's Equity ResearchLennar (LEN) posts $3.25 third quarter loss per share, vs. $1.30 EPS a year ago, on 94% drop in total revenue. The home builder says revenues from home sales decreased 44% in the third quarter primarily due to 41% decrease in number of home deliveries, 6% decrease in average sales price of homes delivered in 2007.

EchoStar Communications (DISH) says its board has directed the company to pursue possible separation of its businesses into two publicly traded companies. Under proposed plan, DISH's U.S. consumer pay-TV business would continue to operate as the DISH Network. Most of its other technology and infrastructure assets would be spun-off.

Amazon.com (AMZN) launches its digital music store, Amazon MP3, with more than two million songs. Amazon's songs cost 89 cents to 99 cents each, and albums sell for $5.99 to $9.99 a piece. The songs do not have copy-protection technology.

Lowe's Companies (LOW) expects to deliver fiscal year 2008 EPS at the low end or slightly below prior guidance of $1.97-$2.01. It cites weaker-than-expected sales. The retailer says current sales are trending below its prior expectations as drought conditions in the mid-Atlantic, Southeastern and Western regions of the country have hurt performance of outdoor categories.

Target (TGT) sees September same-store sales growth of 1.5%-2.5%, below its prior forecast, due to weak sales in Florida and the U.S. Northeast. S&P trims estimates; keeps hold.

Vonage Holdings (VG) announces that it will seek to overturn today's U.S. District Court jury verdict in a patent infringement lawsuit brought by unit of Sprint Nextel (S). Federal court jurors ruled in favor of Sprint Nextel, finding that Vonage had willfully infringed Sprint Nextel's patents in providing its VoIP telephony services, and awarding $69.5 million in damages, which the jury found to be 5% of Vonage's revenues over the infringing period.

ValueClick (VCLK) is higher for second consecutive day on takeover speculation.

China Finance Online Ltd. (JRJC) rise after saying that due to stronger-than-expected growth in its core subscription services provided to retail customers, raises its $6.7-$7.1 million third quarter revenue forecast to $7.1-$7.5 million; it sees third quarter adjusted earnings of $2.6-$3.0 million. It sees 2007 revenues of $45-$51 million, $19-$23 million adjusted earnings.

First Horizon National (FHN) says it will sell all 34 of its branches. Sterling Bancshares (SBIB) agrees to buy 10 branches located in Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex market; M&T Bank (MTB) agrees to buy 13 branches in Northern Virginia; Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) to buy nine Georgia branches; two remaining branches to be acquired by wholly owned units of FMCB Holdings. Financial terms were not disclosed, sales are expected to close by the first quarter of 2008.

Nucor (NUE) and other steelmakers could face significantly higher costs in 2008, which may put pressure on profits and spur consolidation, reports the Wall Street Journal.

NRG Energy (NRG) submits an application to build and operate two nuclear reactors at its existing South Texas nuclear station, the first request to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 31 years.

Alcon (ACL) receives an approvable letter from the FDA, pending an additional study, for Retaane 15 mg (anecortave acetate depot suspension) for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

CIBC World upgrades 1-800-Flowers.com (FLWS) to sector outperform from sector perform.

McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants (MSSR) cuts $90-$91 million third quarter revenue guidance to $88 million, 1.5%-2.5% same-store sales growth to flat, $0.21-$0.23 EPS to $0.16. It cites weakness in September traffic.

Air Products and Chemicals (APD) sets $1 billion stock buyback.

Expedia (EXPE) will be added to S&P 500 after close of trading on Oct. 1, replacing Solectron, which being acquired.

IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) will be added to S&P 500 after close of trading on Sep. 25, replacing First Data, which was removed Sep. 24 after being acquired.

NCR Corp. (NCR) will be removed from S&P 500 after close of trading on Sep. 28, replaced by Teradata (TDCwi). NCR (NCRwi) will replace Beazer Homes (BZH) in S&P MidCap 400. Teradata is being spun off by NCR in a transaction expected to close on or about that date. BZH replaced due to its market cap.

OptionsXpress Holdings (OXPS) will be added to S&P SmallCap 600 after close of trading on Sep. 28, replacing Rare Hospitality International, which is being acquired.

Tesoro (TSO) will be added to S&P 500 after close of trading on Sep. 26, replacing Maxim Integrated Products, which is scheduled to be delisted by NASDAQ.


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