Friday's stocks in the news
From Standard & Poor's Equity ResearchBest Buy (BBY) sees $3.05-$3.10 fiscal year 2008 EPS, vs. previous guidance range of $3.10-$3.20. Expects fiscal year 2008 same-store sales growth of 2.5%-3%, vs. previous guidance of 4%.
Priceline.com (PCLN) posts $0.68, vs. $0.33 a year ago, fourth quarter GAAP EPS on 29% revenue rise. Pro forma EPS was $0.96, vs. consensus view of $0.84. It sees $4.80-$5.10 2008 pro forma EPS. S&P keeps hold.
Chipotle Mexcian Grill (CMG) posts lower-than-expected $0.53, vs. $0.33 a year ago, fourth quarter EPS on 11% higher same-store sales, 32% higher revenue. It sees 2008 same-store sales increase in the low- to mid-single-digit range, 130-140 new restaurant openings.
Bear Stearns Companies (BSC) shares rise 4.08 to 82.55 on renewed takeover speculation. News services reported on Thursday that Chinese brokerage firm CITIC Securities is back in talks with BSC to get a bigger stake. S&P maintained hold on BSC shares on the unconfirmed renegotiating report.
Ambac Financial Group (ABK) falls after Bill Ackman, head of hedge-fund firm Pershing Square Capital Management LP, disclosed in a regulatory filing dated Feb. 14 put options on ABK shares valued at $1.3 million. In other bond insurer news, FGIC Corp. reportedly has told NY regulators it wants to split into two companies. S&P Equity Research reiterates a neutral stance on financial guaranty insurers. S&P advises investors to be cautious despite pressure from multiple sources that could speed resolution to what it sees as a mounting municipal finance crisis.
Kraft Foods (KFT) shares are higher on a report that Warren Buffett reveals an 8.6% stake in the company.
Arris Group (ARRS) posts $0.08, vs. $0.64 a year ago, fourth quarter GAAP EPS as higher costs offset 6.4% sales rise. Non-GAAP EPS of $0.16 was below Street consensus of $0.21. Expects sales to its largest customer to be lower in the first quarter. It now sees first quarter revenue of $270-$285 million, non-GAAP EPS of $0.08-$0.12, GAAP EPS of $0.00-$0.04.
Hormel Foods (HRL) posts $0.64, vs. $0.54 a year ago, first quartger EPS on 7.8% sales rise. Reconfirms fiscal year 2008 EPS guidance range of $2.30-$2.40. S&P raises estimate, reiterates hold.
H.J. Heinz (HNZ) expects third quarter organic sales growth of between 8%-9%, driven by a volume increase of about 5%, and net pricing of more than 3%. Says very strong organic results were led by the strength of the Heinz brand, with organic sales up more than 9%. Expects third quarter EPS of $0.67-$0.68, reflecting a higher tax rate; narrows its expected fiscal year 2008 EPS forecast to top end of its previously announced range of $2.60-$2.62.
Campbell Soup (CPB) posts $0.69, vs. $0.68 a year ago, second quarter adjusted EPS (excluding items) on 7% sales growth. It still expects its fiscal year 2008 adjusted EPS to increase 5%-7% from fiscal year 2007's $1.95 adjusted EPS. Notes it will provide further guidance following the completion of its Godiva divestiture.
Brocade Communications Systems (BRCD) posts $0.16, vs. $0.17 a year ago, first quarter non-GAAP EPS as narrowed gross and operating margins, more shares offset 55% revenue rise. S&P reiterates buy, but cuts estimate and target.
Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) posts $2.40 (including. $0.04 of favorable tax adjustments), vs. $2.14 a year ago, fourth quarter EPS on 7.9% higher total co. sales, 1.0% lower same-store sales. It sees $1.61-$1.65 first half fiscal year 2009 EPS, an increase of 5%-8% from first half fiscal year 2008 EPS results. Notes the low end of EPS guidance reflects a 1% same-store sales decline scenario for first half fiscal year 2009.
Peabody Energy (BTU), Consol Energy (CNX), Arch Coal (ACI) and Foundation Coal (FCL) are among stocks that could come under pressure as Goldman reportedly downgrades U.S. coal sector to cautious from neutral.
RC2 (RCRC) posts $0.02, vs. $0.44 a year ago, fourth quarter EPS from continuing operations on 10% sales decline, recall-related costs, higher tax rate. Expects product cost increases to be material beginning in the first quarter. Plans 2008 as a transition year, with a focus on growing sustainable sales and improving profits. Sees $2.00-$2.20 2008 EPS from continuing operations.
Advanced Analogic Technologies (AATI) posts $0.06 fourth quarter EPS, vs. $0.06 loss a year ago, on 53% revenue rise. It sees breakeven to $0.02 first quarter EPS on revenue of $57\-$61 million.
Radiant Systems (RADS) posts $0.27, vs. $0.20 a year ago, fourth quarter non-GAAP EPS on 16% revenue rise. Sees $0.15-$0.16 first quarter non-GAAP EPS on revenue of $69-$70 million, 2008 EPS of $0.84-$0.88 on revenue of $305-$308 million.
Warnaco Group (WRNC) agrees to sell its Lejaby business to Palmers Textil AG for about €32.5 million (about $47 million) in cash and € 12.5 million (about $18 million) in an interest free note due 12/31/13. Terms include a customary working capital adjustment and the provision of temporary transition services to Palmers Textil AG. The deal is expected to close during the first quarter, subject to customary closing conditions.