Markets & Finance

Movers: Oracle, Bear Stearns, MBIA, SLM, FedEx, Activision


Thursday's stocks in the news

From Standard & Poor's Equity ResearchOracle (ORCL) reported earnings of 25 cents per share, vs. 18 cents a year ago, as revenues rose 28%. Next quarter, Oracle expects software sales to rise 15% to 25%.

NetSuite (N) jumped nearly 37% to $35.50 on its first day of trading. The IPO was priced late Wednesday at $26 per share following a Dutch auction that originally was pushing the deal at a price range of $13 to $16 before NetSuite twice raised the price range in the days before the offering.

Bear Stearns (BSC) reported a $6.90 per share loss in the fourth quarter, vs. earnings of $4 a year ago, as the investment bank continued to be hurt by losses on bad debt. Bear Stearns took writedowns of $1.9 billion in the quarter. It's net revenue was a negative $379 million.

MBIA (MBI) falls again after the company discloses that its $30.6 billion insured portfolio of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) contains $8.1 billion of CDOs backed by CDOs. S&P downgrades to sell from hold; says CDO's backed by CDOs usually considered a riskier asset class.

SLM (SLM) says it cannot present forward-looking information on earnings on a GAAP basis due to the inability to forecast the effect of certain items that are excluded from its core earnings presentations that could result in significant variability in reported results.

Fedex (FDX) posted better-than-expected earnings of $1.54 per share, vs. $1.64 a year ago. High fuel prices and a weaker economy hurt profits even as revenues rose 5.9%. The delivery company expects EPS of $1.15 to $1.30 next quarter.

Activision (ATVI), citing strong demand for its video games this holiday season, raised its third quarter quidance by 10 cents per share and its revenue expectations by 12% to $1.23 billion.

Rite Aid (RAD) posts $0.12 third quarter loss per share, vs. $0.01 loss a year ago, despite 0.7% same-store sales rise and 51% total sales rise. The drug store chain notes negative impact from slow start to the cough, cold and flu season and a more cautious consumer. It cuts $24.5-$25.1 billion fiscal year 2008 sales guidance to $24.3-$24.6 billion, 1.1%-3.3% same store sales guidance to 1.0%-2.0%, and widens $0.15-$0.27 loss guidance to $0.27-$0.31 loss. S&P cuts target, keeps buy.

Array Biopharma (ARRY) falls after it says initial results from a Phase 2 study comparing AZD6244 (ARRY-886) monotherapy with temozolomide (Temodar, an alkylating agent) in the first-line treatment of advanced melanoma, show no apparent difference in efficacy between AZD6244 and temozolomide for the primary endpoint (Progression Free Survival). ASTRAZENECA, which licensed AZD6244 from ARRY in 2003, does not plan to progress AZD6244 as a monotherapy into a Phase 3 trial in patients with advanced melanoma at this time.

Electronic Clearing House (ECHO) agrees to be acquired by Intuit (INTU) for about $131 million. Terms: $17 per share in cash for each ECHO share.

Nike (NKE) reported earnings of 71 cents, vs. 64 cents a year ago. Sales jumped 14%, and Nike says future orders worldwide are 13% higher than a year ago.

Accenture (ACN) reported earnings of 60 cents, vs. 46 cents a year ago. Revenue rose 18%. The firm raised earnings guidance for 2008 by 15 cents per share.

Leggett & Platt (LEG) sees fourth quarter EPS, before impairments, of $0.09-$0.13, vs. previous guidance of $0.18-$0.26. The company said that many of its domestic markets remain challenging, and that it sees no major catalysts to appreciably alter demand trends in the near-term. S&P maintains hold.

Ruth's Chris Steak House (RUTH) cuts +0.5% to +1.5% 2007 same-store sales forecast to flat due to continued pressures from overall macro environment. To incur about $0.02 per share in costs related to proposed Mitchell's Fish Market acquisition, charge. it cuts $0.92-$0.95 2007 GAAP EPS guidance to $0.79-$0.81 (including the impact of SFAS No. 123R). It sees 2008 profitability, including a benefit from proposed acquisition of Mitchell's Fish Market, below its long-term EPS growth target of 17.5%.

American Greetings (AM) posts $0.53 second quarter EPS from continuing operations, vs. $0.79 a year ago, on 12% revenue decline. The company affirms fiscal year 2008 EPS forecast of $1.35-$1.55.

Pier 1 Imports (PIR) posts $0.11 third quarter loss per share, vs. $0.83 loss a year ago, despite 1.7% same-store sales drop (excluding Pier 1 Kids), 7.1% total sales drop. It notes it achieved positive EBITDA for the first time in seven quarters.

Washington Post (WPO) will be added to the S&P 500 index after the close of trading on Dec. 28, replacing Temple-Inland, which is breaking up into three separate companies. The new Temple-Inland (TINwi) will replace WPO in the S&P MidCap 400.


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