Markets & Finance

Movers: Deere, Freddie Mac, Macy's, Whole Foods, Applied Materials


Wednesday's stocks in the news

From Standard & Poor's Equity ResearchDeere & Co. (DE) posts $1.74, vs. $1.36 a year ago, second quarter EPS on 18% revenue rise. Sees third quarter net income of $550-$575 million and fiscal year 2008 of $2.2 billion. It says escalating raw-material costs and the availability of various parts and components are expected to have an impact on operations for balance of year.

Freddie Mac (FRE) posts narrower-than-expected $0.66 first quarter loss per share, vs. $0.35 loss a year ago, as credit-related expenses offset sharply higher revenues. S&P maintains hold.

Yahoo (YHOO) is trading higher amid reports from CNBC that Carl Icahn is considering becoming involved with YHOO. This unconfirmed story indicates Icahn has accumulated as many as 50 million YHOO shares, roughly 4% of outstandings, and is looking to nominate a slate of directors by Thursday's deadline.

Macy's (M) posts $0.02, vs. $0.11, first quarter EPS from continuing operations on 2.6% lower same-store sales, 2.9% lower total sales. Current quarter EPS from continuing operations is above Street estimates. Reaffirms fiscal year 2009 outlook; -1% to up 1.5% same-store sales growth, EPS of $1.85-$2.15, excluding one-time division consolidation costs.

Jack In The Box (JBX) posts $0.44, vs. $0.40, second quarter EPS on 0.1% lower same-store sales at Jack in the Box company restaurants, 2.4% higher system same-store sales at Qdoba Mexican Grill, 5.0% higher total sales. Affirms $1.98-$2.08 fiscal year 2008 EPS forecast, sees same-store sales approximately flat at Jack in the Box company restaurants, 1%-3% same-store sales increase at Qdoba system restaurants.

Applied Materials (AMAT) posts $0.26, vs. $0.36, second quarter EPS non-GAAP on 15% sales decline. Street consensus was $0.22. The company said it has ramped its display and solar businesses while addressing the challenges of a weaker global chip equipment market. Reportedly sees third quarter revenue down 10%-18% as weak sales to chip makers are partially offset by gains for its other businesses. S&P reiterates buy.

Electronic Arts (ERTS) posts $0.09, vs. $0.06, fourth quarter non-GAAP EPS on 50% revenue rise, driven by launches of Army of Two and Burnout Paradise as well as the continued strength of Rock Band. Says FY 08 profit margins were flat, which disappointed co. mgmt. Sees $5.0-$5.3 billion fiscal year 2009 revenue, non-GAAP EPS of $1.30-$1.70, which below the current consensus view of $1.73. S&P maintains sell.

Whole Foods Market (WFMI) posts $0.29, vs. $0.32, second quarter EPS despite 6.7% higher same-store sales, 28% higher total sales. Estimates the negative impact on EPS from Wild Oats acquisition was about $0.06. Sees fiscal year 2008 sales growth, excluding Wild Oats, of 15%-20% and same-store sales growth of 7.5%-9.5%. For first four weeks of the third quarter, same-store sales growth was 5.7%, a deceleration from second quarter.

IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI) and Liberty Media (LINTA) and announce that they have resolved their legal dispute regarding IAC's proposed restructuring. LINTA has agreed to drop its appeal of the decision handed down by Delaware Chancery Court on Mar. 28, 2008 and will not oppose the proposed single-tier spin-offs of HSN, Interval International, Ticketmaster and Lending Tree, which IAC advanced yesterday by making its initial filings with the SEC. S&P reiterates buy.

Clear Channel Communications (CCU) says it has resolved a legal dispute with its lenders, paving the way for its prospective buyers to take CCU private. Under the agreement, CCU shareholders would receive $36 per share, down from an earlier price of $39.20 per share, and less than initial offers rejected by some shareholders as too low.

Anadarko Petroleum (APC) reaffirms its full-year production outlook of 207-212 million barrels of oil equivalent, after Enterprise Products Partners announced that it expects to complete repairs of its Independence Trail export pipeline in the first half of June, not in mid-May, as previously estimated.

E*Trade Financial (ETFC) Says its total retail customer assets increased 3.4% sequentially for the month of April, despite a $399M decline in customer cash and deposits predominately related to weakness in April. Posts 1.6% sequential decline in total average revenue trades for month of April.

American Apparel (APP) posts $0.02, vs. $0.03, first quarter EPS as narrowed gross margin offsets 52% sales rise.

Renesola Ltd (SOL) posts $0.28, vs. $0.14, first quarter EPADS on sharp revenue rise. Sees second quarter production output of 75MW-80MW. Expects 2008 production output to be in the range of 330 MW to 340 MW with revenues of $570-$590 million. It signs six-year 525 MW wafer supply agreement with Gintech Energy Corp.

Noble Energy (NBL) raises 2008 total sales volumes estimate to average between 210 and 220 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day, which using the midpoint of the new guidance, represents 2% increase from original estimate's midpoint, 9% increase from 2007 after adjusting for Argentina asset sale.


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