Markets & Finance

Movers: Countrywide, Google, Trump, Sears, Costco, Ultralife Batteries, Big Lots


Thursday's stocks in the news

From Standard & Poor's Equity ResearchCountrywide Financial (CFC) shares are seen higher on reports that Bank of America's (BAC) 132 million share registration statement has been declared effective, and on report that CFC's credit spreads have tightened, both of which could lead to growing confidence acquisition of CFC by BAC will be consummated. In addition, yesterday BAC said CFC President David Sambol will retire after the BAC/CFC merger.

Google (GOOG) shares are seen higher on comScore press release, which reportedly showed that GOOG's monthly U.S. "paid clicks" rose 19.6% in April from a year ago.

Kosan Biosciences (KOSN) agrees to be acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb for $5.50 per share in cash.

Elizabeth Arden (RDEN) says it and Liz Claiborne (LIZ) entered into exclusive long-term global licensing agreement for the manufacture, distribution and marketing of the Liz Claiborne fragrance brands. Expects this transaction to contribute to both net sales, EPS growth in fiscal year 2009, and to be accretive to EPS in the first half of fiscal year 2009. S&P maintains hold.

MasterCard (MA) says in an 8-k filing, forecasts long-term average annual net revenue growth between 12%-15% and average annual net income growth in the range of 20%-30%. The company also forecast operating margin improvement of 3%-5%. S&P raises price target, keeps buy

Expedia (EXPE) is up 1.56 to 24.31 after Stifel Nicolaus upgrades to buy from hold. Yesterday chairman Barry Diller reportedly dismissed earlier reports that he was considering taking the company private.

Infineon Technologies (IFX) says due to lower volumes in certain wireless platform projects, it is revising its outlook for its Communications Solution segment, now expects revenues in the third quarter to be about flat from the previous quarter. It says revised revenue outlook in combination with customization expenses associated with ramp of new platforms could will lead to a decline in EBIT excluding gains, charges from previous quarter.

Chico's FAS (CHS) falls after Citigroup downgrades to sell from hold. Yesterday the company posted $0.07, vs. $0.27, first quarter EPS on 18% lower same-store sales.

Weyerhaeuser (WY) says as part of its ongoing portfolio restructuring, it is exploring alternatives for its Westwood Shipping Line and four regional short line railroads.

Trump Enterainment Resorts (TRMP) agrees to sell its Trump Marina Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, N.J. to Coastal Marina, LLC, an affiliate of Coastal Development, LLC, for $316 million.

Tivo (TIVO) posts $0.04, vs. $0.01, first quarter EPS on slightly higher total revenue. Sees second quarter service and technology revenues in the range of $53-$55 million, a net loss of $2-$4 million, and adjusted EBITDA of $3-$5 million. S&P maintains hold.

Sears Holdings (SHLD) posts $0.43 first quarter loss per share, vs. $1.45 EPS a year ago, on 9.8% lower Sears Domestic same-store sales, 7.1% lower Kmart same-store sales drop, 8.6% lower total domestic same-store sales, 5.8% total revenue drop. The retailer notes difficult economic environment, intense competition for consumer business. It believes sales, gross margin for balance of fiscal year 2009 will likely continue to be pressured.

Costco Wholesale (COST) posts $0.67, vs. $0.49 (adjusted), third quarter EPS on 8% higher comp-store sales, 13% higher total sales.

Ultralife Batteries (ULBI) says based on a review of its progress for second quarter, expects to report revenue in excess of $75 million, compares to previous guidance of $60-$70 million. For 2008, it now forecasts revenue of at least $250 million. It says revenue increase attributable to strong shipments to date, strong backlog in most businesses, requests from customers for accelerated deliveries against their orders.

Big Lots (BIG) posts $0.42, vs. $0.26, first quarter EPS on 3.4% same-store sales rise, 2.1% total sales rise. Sees second quarter EPS from continuing operations of $0.21-$0.25 on 1%-2% same-store sales rise. Raises fiscal year 2009 EPS from continuing operations guidance to $1.80-$1.90.

Fred's (FRED) posts better-than-expected $0.18, vs. $0.19, first quarter EPS as slightly narrowed gross margin offset 2.1% higher same-store sales, 5.0% higher total sales. Sees second quarter total sales increase of 1%-3%, same-store sales rise of 2%-4%, EPS, excluding the effects of the store closings, of $0.07-$0.10.

Ansoft (ANST) posts $0.34, vs. $0.30, fourth quarter GAAP EPS on 19% revenue rise.

KMG Chemicals (KMGB) says due to lower-than-expected third quarter sales in its Penta and Animal Health segments, it anticipates fiscal year 2008 EPS to decline 10%-20% below fiscal year 2007's $0.80. Expects fourth quarter EPS to be significantly higher than fourth quarter fiscal year 2007, but will not offset the downturn experienced in the third quarter.

DSW (DSW) announces effective May 29, 2008, the resignation of its president, Peter Horvath, who is leaving the company to pursue another opportunity.

Coldwater Creek (CWTR) posts narrower-than-expected $0.10 first quarter loss, vs. $0.13 EPS, on 19% decline in same-store sales, about 4% total sales decline. Street was looking for $0.15 loss. Sees fiscal year 2009 sales of $1.085-$1.15 billion, bottom line ranging from $0.13 loss to $0.04 EPS.

Tivo (TIVO) posts $0.04, vs. $0.01, first quarter EPS on slightly higher total revenue. Sees second quarter service and technology revenues in the range of $53-$55 million, a net loss of $2-$4 million, and adjusted EBITDA of $3-$5 million.

Men's Wearhouse (MW) posts $0.20, vs. $0.59, first quarter adjusted EPS on 1.0% total sales decline. Men's Wearhouse same-store sales fell 6.4%, K&G comps fell 14%. Lowers fiscal year 2009 adjusted EPS view to $1.75-$1.85 excluding Golden Brand closure costs; reflects a same-store sales decrease in the mid single digits for TMW, a low double digit decrease at K&G, and a low single digit decrease for Moores.

Dress Barn (DBRN) posts $0.39 (including a $0.05 gain from lower share count), vs. $0.33, third quater EPS on 1.0% higher net sales. Says sales growth for new stores was partially offset by a comparable store sales decline of 3%. Still concerned about potential further deterioration of tough retail environment and currently expects an increase in promotional competitive landscape. Despite third quarter EPS beat, it reaffirms fiscal year 2008 EPS guidance of $1.05-$1.10.


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