Markets & Finance

Movers: E*Trade, Blackstone Group, EchoStar, Cognos


Monday's stocks in the news

From Standard & Poor's Equity ResearchE*Trade Financial (ETFC) believes additional deterioration in the fair value of its $3 billion asset-backed securities portfolio observed since Sept. 30 will likely result in write-downs that exceed previous expectations; investors should no longer expect these earnings levels to be achieved. It says total exposure to ABS collateralized debt obligations was about $450 million in amortized cost. Citigroup reportedly downgrades to sell.

Blackstone Group L.P. (BX) posts $0.44 third quarter loss per unit, vs. $0.65 loss a year ago, on 14% revenue rise. It says the current quarter net loss includes impact of $802.6 million of non-cash charges associated with vesting of transaction related equity-based compensation arising from IPO unit awards and amortization of intangibles. It notes that a lack of liquidity in financing markets has had a dampening effect on initiating new, large-sized corporate private equity transactions.

EchoStar Communications (DISH) falls after it says it added 110,000 net new subscribers in the third quarter, down from 295,000 a year earlier, and now has 13.7 million subscribers. It notes its customer churn, or rate of customer losses, rose to 1.94% from 1.76% a year earlier. Separately, posts $0.44 vs. $0.31 third quarter EPS on 13% higher revenue. S&P maintains sell. Citigroup downgrades to hold from buy.

Solar stocks such as Sunpower (SPWR), YGE, TSL, STP, ASTI, FSLR, and (ESLR) were weak after Solar Energy Industries Association reports on its Web site that Senate and House Democratic Leaders are now considering a plan to leave renewable energy out of the Energy Bill.

Cognos (COGN) agrees to be acquired by IBM (IBM) in $4.9 billion deal. Terms: $58 cash per COGN share.

Countrywide Financial (CFC) says in its Form 10-Q that debt and secondary mortgage market conditions could have a material adverse impact on its earnings and financial condition.

Microsoft (MSFT) shares were down after Merrill Lynch reportedly downgrades to neutral from buy.

Oracle (ORCL) falls after Merrill reportedly downgrades to neutral from buy.

Imation (IMN) says due to reversal of charge incurred in the second quarter, third quarter EPS were $0.06 higher than initially reported, now posting $0.24 third quarter EPS. It notes due to these adjustments, it now sees 2007 GAAP EPS of $0.92-$1.02, vs. previous $0.86-$0.96 forecast.

Affymax (AFFY) posts wider third quarter loss as higher operating costs offset more than doubled revenue.

Hewitt Associates (HEW) posts $2.51 fourth quarter loss, vs. $0.21 EPS a year ago, as roughly $363 million of pretax charges related to a number of unusual items offset 5.2% revenue rise. It expects mid-single digit total revenue growth for fiscal year 2008 and underlying EPS of $1.70-$1.80 (excluding charges).

Tyson Foods (TSN) posts lower-than-expected $0.09 fourth quarter EPS, vs. $0.17 loss a year ago, on 6.2% sales rise. It sees fiscal year 2008 EPS of $0.30-$0.70, below the current consensus view of $1.08.

United Technologies (UTX) says its Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. unit signed direct commercial sale contract with the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) for 10 S-70A Black Hawk helicopters to upgrade the fleet used by U.A.E. Armed Forces.


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