Markets & Finance

Movers: Freddie Mac, GE, Citigroup, Washington Mutual, AT&T


Tuesday's stocks in the news

From Standard & Poor's Equity ResearchFreddie Mac (FRE) falls after CEO Richard Syron says the company expects to see $10-$12 billion in credit losses on book of mortgages it currently owns. Syron also said he doesn't expect the company to raise additional capital. S&P reiterates sell.

General Electric (GE) says it expects 2008 profit of $2.42 per share, up "at least" 10 percent, Chairman and Chief Executive Jeff Immelt said on Tuesday. It also said its board had approved an 11% hike in its quarterly dividend to 31 cents per share and approved a plan to buy back $15 billion of its shares over the next three years.

Citigroup (C) names Vikram Pandit, the head of its investment banking business, as its CEO.

Washington Mutual (WM) says it will cut quarterly its dividend to $0.15 from $0.56. To discontinue remaining lending through its subprime mortgage channel, close about 190 of 336 home loan centers and sales offices. It expects fourth quarter provision for loan losses of $1.5-$1.6 billion and sees a fourth quarter net loss. It expects $1.8-$2.0 billion in first quarter provisions. It plans a convertible preferred stock offering, with proceeds of about $2.5 billion. S&P downgrades to strong sell from sell. Citigroup reportedly downgrades to sell.

Merck (MRK) reaffirms compound annual revenue growth of 4%-6% from 2005-2010 (including 50% of all joint venture revenue), double-digit compound annual EPS growth (excluding certain items). It plans to return gross margin to pre-ZOCOR levels in 2008.

Kroger (KR) posts $0.37 third quarter EPS, vs. $0.30 a year ago, on 9.8% revenue rise. Current quarter includes benefit from resolution of certain tax issues. It says based on year-to-date financial results and current trends, the company now expects identical supermarket sales growth of about 5% for full year, excluding fuel sales, and it expects EPS to slightly exceed range previously given of $1.64-$1.67 (including items).

AT&T (T) raises quarterly dividend 13%, to $0.40 from $0.355. Sets new 400 million share buyback. S&P maintains strong buy.

Texas Instruments (TXN) sees fourth quarter revenue of $3.5-$3.66 billion, compared with prior range of $3.4-$3.68 billion, EPS from continued operations of $0.50-$0.54, compared with the previous range of $0.48-$0.54. Needham raises estimates; reiterates buy.

Genesis Microchip (GNSS) agrees to be acquired by STMicroelectronics (STM) in a $336 million deal. Terms: $8.65 cash per GNSS share.

Medarex (MEDX) and Bristol-Myers (BMY) announce that top-line data from trial 008, 1 of the 3 registrational trials (008, 022, 007) that constitute the monotherapy program for ipilimumab (an investigational immunotherapy for patients with metastatic melanoma), did not meet the primary endpoint, which was to rule out a best objective response rate of less than 10%. Bear Stearns downgrades to peer perform from outperform.

Sharper Image (SHRP) posts $1.50 third quarter loss per share, vs. $1.48 loss a year ago, on 35% revenue decline.

Enzo Biochem (ENZ) posts $0.03 first quarter loss per share, vs. $0.04 loss a year ago, on 86% total revenue rise.

General Growth Properties (GGP) decreases guidance for 2007 core FFO by $0.18 to $2.95-$2.98, as a result of additional amounts expected to be recorded in connection with previously reported jury verdict in the Caruso Affiliated Holdings and Glendale Galleria matter.

Perrigo (PRGO) says FDA has granted final approval to Dexcel Pharma Tech. for 20 mg Omeprazole (treatment for acid reflux) delayed-release tablets. As exclusive marketer and distributor of this product for the store brand OTC market in the U.S., PRGO expects to begin shipping its product during the first quarter of 2008, with full year annual sales of $150-$200 million. Expects full-year EPS contribution of $0.20-$0.25; now sees 2008 EPS of $1.32-$1.47.

H&R Block (HRB) posts preliminary $1.55 second quarter loss per share, vs. $0.49 loss a year ago, as results in the company's discontinued subprime mortgage business offset 9.8% revenue rise. It reaffirms fiscal year 2008 EPS estimate of $1.30-$1.45 from continuing operations, but believes EPS will be toward lower end of range. Files with SEC to delay filing of 10-Q for the quarter ended Oct. 31, 2007, but expects it will be able to file no later than Dec. 14 2007.

SAIC, Inc. (SAI) posts better-than-expected $0.26 vs. $0.26 third quarter EPS as higher share count offset 14% revenue rise. It sees fiscal year 2008 EPS from continuing operations at top end of or slightly exceeding $0.83-$0.88. Jefferies upgrades to buy from hold.

Celanese (CE) raises $3.10-$3.20 2007 adjusted EPS guidance to $3.26-$3.31, $1.24-$1.27 billion operating EBITDA guidance to $1.285-$1.295 billion. It cites continued strength in acetyl business, successful execution of its growth objectives. It sets 2008 guidance at $3.35-$3.65 adjusted EPS, operating EBITDA at $1.28-$1.35 billion.


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