Markets & Finance

Movers: Las Vegas Sands, Chevron, Merrill Lynch, Barclays


Friday's stocks in the news

From Standard & Poor's Equity ResearchLas Vegas Sands (LVS) posts third quarter third quarter non-GAAP EPS of $0.12, vs. $0.33 a year ago, as higher costs and lower-than-normal hold percentage offset a 20% revenue rise. S&P cuts estimates, target, maintains sell.

Chevron (CVX) posts $1.75 (including $0.19 charge) third quarter EPS, vs. $2.29 a year ago, cites weak refining, marketing conditions in U.S.

Barclays PLC (BCS) falls as S&P MarketScope Europe is reporting that traders have noted speculation that BCS is planning to approach the Bank of England for emergency funding. Also, there is talk that the company is guiding down on numbers. A company spokesperson refused to comment on the speculation. The Bank of England has reportedly said that it had not made any emergency loans available on Thursday.

Merrill Lynch (MER) falls after the Wall Street Journal reports that Merrill engaged in deals with hedge funds that may have been designed to delay recognition of losses from mortgage securities. The SEC is likely to investigate. S&P downgrades to hold from buy.

Western Digital (WDC) posts first quarter GAAP EPS of $0.31, vs. $0.46 a year ago, despite 40% revenue rise. S&P reiterates buy. Caris upgrades to buy from above average.

Washington Mutual (WM) falls as S&P notes that if NY State Attorney General's suit alleging that WaMu and First American Corp. (FAF) had been colluding to inflate the appraisal value of homes succeeds, WaMu will likely have to set aside reserves that could top $1 billion. Cuts target, maintains sell.

Goldman Sachs Group (GS) falls after S&P downgrades to buy from strong buy based on valuation.

Trump Entertainment Resorts (TRMP) shares seen lower on report that talks between the company and Cordish Co. collapsed after Cordish's financial broker, Goldman Sachs balked, according to Star-Ledger newspaper report. S&P downgrades to buy from strong buy.

Town Sports International's (CLUB) posts lower-than-expected $0.19 vs. $0.03 third quarter EPS on 8.7% revenue rise. It sees 2007 EPS of $0.47-$0.49, which includes after-tax charge of $0.28 in connection with early extinguishment of debt. RBC Capital downgrades to sector perform.

Flowserve (FLS) posts third quarter EPS of $1.10, vs. $0.51 a year ago, on 19% sales rise. Based on year-to-date results, it raises 2007 sales forecast to $3.6-$3.7 billion.

Electronic Arts (ERTS) posts 0.27, vs. $0.21, Q2 non-GAAP EPS despite 18% drop in revenue. It sees $0.75-$0.95 third quarter non-GAAP EPS on revenue of $1.325-$1.575 billion. It cuts fiscal year 2008 non-GAAP EPS guidance range by $0.05 to $0.85-$1.15 due to the dilutive impact of the proposed acquisition of BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios.

NYSE Euronext (NYX) posts third quarter EPS of $0.97, vs. $0.43 a year ago, on 99% revenue rise.

Duke Energy (DUK) posts third quarter ongoing EPS of $0.48, vs. $0.29 a year ago, on 16% operating revenue rise. Based on these results, expects annual earnings to finish well above 2007 employee incentive target of $1.15 ongoing EPS. S&P maintains buy.

Cigna (CI) posts third quarter EPS of $1.28, vs. $0.92 a year ago, on 6.7% revenue rise. It sees 2007 consolidated adjusted EPS from operations of $3.80-$4.00, 2008 of $4.00-$4.20.

Open Text (OTEX) posts $0.43 first quarter adjusted EPS, vs. $0.24 a year ago, on 62% revenue rise. Posts $0.15 vs. $0.15 GAAP EPS. Plans to make an additional debt prepayment of $30 million.

On Assignment (ASGN) posts third quarter EPS of $0.09, vs. $0.10 a year ago, as higher SG&A costs, higher share count offset 96% revenue rise. Based on revenues in the first three weeks of the fourth quarter and taking into account the normal seasonal customer facility closures and holiday patterns, it sees fourth quarter revenue of $146.5-$148 million, EPS of $0.06-$0.09. It sees 2007 EPS of $0.26-$0.29.

Blackboard (BBBB) posts $0.22 third quarter non-GAAP EPS, vs. $0.03 loss a year ago, on 22% revenue rise. It sees fourth quarter revenue of $61-$62 million, non-GAAP EPS of $0.24-$0.26, 2007 EPS non-GAAP of $0.86-$0.88 on revenue of $237-$238.3 million. Baird reportedly downgrades to neutral from outperform.


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