Markets & Finance

Movers: Ford, NetApp, ExpressJet, Calpine, Pfizer, Blue Coat Systems


Thursday's stocks in the news

From Standard & Poor's Equity ResearchFord Motor (F) says unless there is a fairly rapid turnaround in U.S. business conditions, which the company is not anticipating, it now looks like it will take longer than expected to achieve its North American Automotive profitability goal. It expects to be about break-even company-wide in 2009. The auto maker cites rapidly rising commodity prices, higher gasoline price which are accelerating consumers' shift away from large trucks, SUVs. S&P maintains hold.

NetApp (NTAP) posts $0.38, vs. $0.30, fourth quarter non-GAAP EPS on 17% revenue rise. Forecasts $0.20-$0.23 first quarter non-GAAP EPS. Reiterates $1.40-$1.46 non-GAAP fiscal year 2009 EPS forecast. S&P notes fourth quarter EPS below its estimate, cuts fiscal year 2009 estimate, reiterates hold.

ExpressJet Holdings (XJT) says due to current economic environment, including skyrocketing fuel costs, excess capacity in domestic market, XJT is taking proactive steps to meet seasonally challenging fall travel period by decreasing its summer schedule by about 30% effective Aug. 23.

GameStop (GME) posts $0.37, vs. $0.15, first quarter EPS on 27% same-store sales rise, 42% total revenue rise. Sees second quarter same-store sales up 12%-14%, EPS of $0.26-$0.28, ups fiscal year 2009 EPS guidance to $2.30-$2.39. S&P advises investors take advantage of sell-off, upgrades to buy from hold. Goldman believes investors were looking for a more sizable beat on the first quarter.

Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) posts $0.18, vs. $0.19 a year ago, first quarter EPS on 11% total sales rise. Notes same-store sales decreased 3.8% at Dick's Sporting Goods stores, vs. year ago, same-store sales for Golf Galaxy on pro-forma basis decreased 7.4%. Sees second quarter EPS of $0.34-$0.38 on 4%-7% same-store sales drop (incl. Dick's and Golf Galaxy, excl. Chick's Sporting Goods). Sees $1.22-$1.36 fiscal year 2009 EPS on 3%-5% decrease in same-store sales, which include Dick's Sporting Goods stores only.

Children's Place Retail Stores (PLCE) posts $0.66, vs. $0.64, first quarter EPS from continuing operations on 5% higher same-store sales. Notes during the quarter, the company exited the Disney Store business.

Salesforce.com (CRM) posts $0.08, vs. $0.01, first quarter EPS on 52% sales rise. S&P maintains hold. Jefferies upgrades to buy from hold.

Calpine (CPN) says it received an unsolicited proposal from NRG Energy (NRG) regarding a potential combination between CPN and NRG. Under the proposed deal, NRG would swap 0.534 nrg share for each CPN share.

Moody's (MCO) says it recognizes the seriousness of questions raised by yesterday's Financial Times article concerning the analytical models and methodologies used in its European constant-proportion debt obligation (CPDO) ratings process. Says it has retained law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell and initiated a thorough external review of its European CPDO ratings process.

A nonprofit drug safety group is raising concerns about serious side effects newly linked to Pfizer's (PFE) popular smoking-cessation medicine, Chantix, casting a pall over a drug already dogged by psychiatric issues and focusing the spotlight anew on the Food and Drug Administration's monitoring capability: WSJ.

Limited Brands (LTD) posts better-than-expected $0.11, vs. $0.13, first quarter non-GAAP EPS on 8% lower same-store sales, 16% lower revenue. Notes first quarter fiscal year 2009 non-GAAP EPS included a gain of $0.24 from the sale of a non-core joint venture, partially offset by an impairment charge of $0.06. Expects second quarter EPS to be $0.16-$0.20 vs. $0.20 last year; for fiscal year 2009 sees EPS of $1.38-$1.58, excluding the first quarter one-time items.

AnnTaylor Stores (ANN) posts $0.43, vs. $0.46, first quarter GAAP EPS on 4.3% lower same-store sales.

SLM Corp. (SLM) plans to continue to make federally guaranteed student loans, ending fears the company might join the recent exodus from a market rocked by the credit crisis: WSJ.

S&P expects BCE (BCE) to open lower, as the Quebec Court of Appeals ruled in favor of select bondholders who challenged BCE's pending private equity deal, arguing that bondholders were treated unfairly by the offer price. S&P maintains hold.

Longs Drug Stores (LDG) posts preliminary $0.63, vs. $0.42, first quarter EPS from continuing operations on 1% same-store sales rise, 8.5% total revenue rise. Says its goal is to achieve $3.02-$3.12 fiscal year 09 EPS from continuing operations.

Blue Coat Systems (BCSI) posts $0.33, vs. $0.15, fourth quarter non-GAAP EPS on 62% revenue rise. Street was looking for $0.40.

Computer Sciences (CSC) posts $1.15 (including items), vs. $1.44, first quarter EPS despite 11% revenue rise. Sees first quarter revenue of $4.25-$4.40 billion, up 11%-15% year-over-year and EPS of $0.70-$0.80, reflecting adverse comparative impacts from several non-operating items. Sees fiscal year 2009 revenue growth, excluding any acquisitions, of 6%-8% and EPS of $4.20-$4.40.

Jackson Hewitt Tax Service (JTX) says it prepared 5.3% fewer tax returns in fiscal year 2008 vs. a year ago; excluding Economic Stimulus Rebate tax returns, posts 7.1% drop vs. previous forecast for a 5%-6% drop. Sees fiscal year 2008 revenues slightly below the low end of its $282-$292 million forecast range and adjusted EPS of $1.34-$1.39, vs. previous guidance of $1.48-$1.60.

Zale (ZLC) posts $0.42 third quarter loss, vs. $0.10 loss, as higher SG&A costs offset 5.8% higher same-store sales.


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