Wednesday's stocks in the news
From Standard & Poor's Equity ResearchFreddie Mac (FRE) cuts quarterly dividend by 50% to $0.25 per share. The mortgage lender announces that it will issue $6 billion of non-cumulative perpetual preferred stock. The issuance will involve a larger offering of non-convertible non-cumulative perpetual preferred stock, and a substantially smaller offering of convertible non-cumulative perpetual preferred stock. S&P maintains sell.
Wells Fargo (WFC) says it will take a special fourth quarter provision of $1.4 billion (pre-tax), largely for higher losses it now expects in certain indirect channels through which it no longer is accepting business.
American Airlines parent AMR Corp. (AMR) announced plans to divest American Eagle, its wholly-owned regional carrier. The company has not yet decided on the form of the divestiture, which may include a spin-off to AMR shareholders, a sale to a third party, or some other form of separation from AMR. It expects to complete the divestiture in 2008.
Bear Stearns (BSC) said it will cut 650 jobs from its staff of about 15,500. This is on top of the 900 positions cut throughout the firm in October.
Verigy (VRGY) posts $0.52 fourth quarter GAAP EPS, vs. $0.25 a year ago, on 3.5% revenue rise. It sees first quarter revenue of $195-$205 million, GAAP EPS of $0.49-$0.54. It sets $150 million stock buyback. Stifel Nicolaus upgrades to buy from hold.
Analog Devices (ADI) posts $0.39 fourth quarter non-GAAP EPS from continuing operations, vs. $0.35 a year ago, on about 6% higher revenue from continuing operation. The $0.39 fourth quarter non-GAAP EPS excludes $0.08 of one-time items. The chip maker expects first quarter revenue from continuing operations to be in range of +2% to -2% from fourth quarter levels, sees EPS from continuing operations in the $0.38-$0.42 range, excluding gains from the sales of divested businesses.
Overstock.com (OSTK) gets upgraded by Stifel Nicolaus analyst Scott Devitt to hold from sell.
Marvell Technology Group (MRVL) posts $0.01 third quarter GAAP loss per share, vs. $0.01 EPS a year ago, as higher operating expenses offset 46% revenue rise. Non-GAAP third quarter EPS is $0.14 vs. $0.12. Also plans to cut about 400 jobs worldwide, about 7% of company's workforce and take a related $8 million fourth quarter restructuring charge.
Target (TGT) - Late yesterday, Moody's Investors Service downgraded the long-term credit rating to A2 from A1. Moody's says rating action reflects its view of weakened debt protection measures Target will have due to increased debt incurred to repurchase up to $10 billion in shares over next three years.
CBRL Group (CBRL) posts first quarter EPS from continuing operations of $0.57, vs. $0.45 a year ago, on 1.8% higher same-store sales at Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores, 4.1% higher total sales. It sees 3% to 4% fiscal year 2008 revenue growth, $3.00-$3.15 EPS from continuing operations. Morgan Keegan keeps market perform.
Sonic Solutions (SNIC) says it will have to record additional cash and non-cash charges for stock-based compensation expense and restate its previous financial statements, and that such charges will be material. It posts second quarter net revenue (GAAP) of $32.3 million. It sees $33-$35 million third quarter revenue. S&P reiterates sell.
Dollar Tree Stores (DLTR) posts $0.38 third quarter EPS, vs. $0.32 a year ago, on 1.9% higher same-store sales, 9.6% higher total sales. It expects fourth quarter sales to be in range of $1.31-$1.35 billion and EPS to be in range of $0.99-$1.06; now forecast fiscal year 2008 sales to be in range of $4.25-$4.29 billion and EPS in range of $2.06-$2.13.
Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jack (PBY) posts $0.42 third quarter loss per share, vs. $0.20 loss a year ago, on 2.9% lower same store sales. It says it expects continued pressure on its retail business, resulting in reduced sales, gross profit margins as the company sells down its non-core merchandise through the fourth quarter and into the second half of 2008. It says costs associated with initial steps in its long-term strategic plan will impact both the third and fourth quarter.
Sunpower (SPWR) announces that Morgan Stanley has agreed to provide the company with up to $190 million in financing for future commercial and public solar electric power installations.
Central Garden & Pet (CENT) posts $0.02 fourth quarrter loss per share, vs. $0.08 EPS a year ago, on 5% lower sales.
Bidz.com (BIDZ) falls after Roth Capital maintains a buy recommendation on BIDZ, but cautions investors that the stock will likely remain under additional pressure with the release of second part of report from Citron Research today. On Monday, Citron said "It is the opinion of Citron Research that Bidz.com's business model is not sustainable. The large related party transactions, and the background of the individuals involved certainly provide plenty of reason for doubt."
Dress Barn (DBRN) posts $0.30 first quarter EPS, vs. $0.40 a year ago, on 3% lower same-store sales, 1.5% higher total sales. It reaffirms its recently announced guidance of $1.25 to $1.35 for fiscal year 2008.
Brown Shoe (BWS) posts $0.61 third quarter EPS (GAAP), vs. $0.62 a year ago, on 4.6% sales drop. It sees fourth quarter sales of $595-$605 million vs. $693.3 million last year, $0.36-$0.41 EPS vs. $0.31 last year. It sees fiscal year 2008 sales of $2.38-$2.39 billion, EPS of $1.40-$1.45 (both EPS forecasts including costs, charges).
Panera Bread (PNRA) authorizes repurchase of up to $75 million of its Class A common stock.
Herman Miller (MLHR) raises second quarter EPS guidance to $0.56-$0.63 (excluding charge) on sales near or slightly above the top-end of previous guidance of $475-$500 million. Raises long-term operating income target to 13% of sales.
QLT Inc. (QLTI) says its Board of Directors has formed a special committee to review all strategic alternatives available to the company. Committee has been charged with responsibility for exploring alternative ways to maximize shareholder value, including transactions involving the sale of all or part of the assets of the company.