Markets & Finance

Movers: GM, Comcast, MBIA, Agilent


Stocks in the news Wednesday

From Standard & Poor's Equity ResearchGeneral Motors (GM) and Chrysler told the federal government they may need up to $21.6 billion more combined in bailout loans to put them on road to recovery. GM has already received $13.4 billion in U.S. loans; its plan said it needs $16.6 billion more than it has now. GM now plans to phase out Hummer brand this year, Saturn in 2011 if no alternatives arise, also plans to shut 5 more factories on top of closures it had already planned. Plans to eliminate thousands of dealerships, slash 47,000 jobs this year around the world, reports WSJ.

Comcast (CMCSA) posts $0.27, vs. $0.20 a year ago, fourth quarter adjusted EPS on 9% revenue rise. Raises annual dividend 8% to $0.27.

MBIA Inc. (MBI) says it has established a new U.S. public finance financial guarantee insurance company within MBI group by restructuring its principal insurance subsidiary, MBIA Insurance Corp. (MBIA Corp.). Says stock of MBIA Insurance Corp. of Illinois (MBIA IL), was transferred by MBIA Corp. to a newly established intermediate holding co., which is itself a subsidiary of MBI. Notes MBIA IL is expected to be renamed National Public Finance Guarantee Corp.

Agilent Technologies (A) posts $0.20, vs. $0.36 a year ago, first quarter non-GAAP EPS on 16% revenue decline. In addition to targeted operational restructuring announced in December, the company will immediately shut 2 small board-inspection businesses and begin a restructuring of its global infrastructure operations. To reduce headcount by 600. Currently sees second quarter results in line with first quarter. S&P reiterates hold.

Deere & Co. (DE) posts $0.48, vs. $0.83, first quarter EPS on 1.1% revenue decline. Street was looking for $0.63. Sees second quarter company equipment sales down about 9%, fiscal year down about 8%, both of which include negative currency-translation impact of about 6%. Says it suspending its practice of providing quarterly net income forecast in light of highly uncertain conditions in the global economy, incl. volatility in foreign exchange rates.

Curtiss-Wright (CW) posts $0.76, vs. $0.85, fourth quarter EPS as higher effective tax rate offset 2% sales rise. Sees 2009 EPS of $2.48-$2.58 on sales of $1.89-$1.93 billion. New orders received in fourth quarter 2008 were $463 million, up 6% compared to fourth quarter 2007. Sees 2009 EPS of $2.48-$2.58 on sales of $1.89-$1.93 billion. Street 2009 EPS estimate is currently at $2.72.

Westlake Chemical (WLK)posts $1.68 fourth quarter loss, vs. $0.29 EPS, on 30% sales drop. Notes sharp drop in product prices due to the global recession precipitated an abrupt downturn in demand resulting in inventory destocking across customer supply chains during fourth quarter.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber (GT) posts $1.37 fourth quarter loss, vs. $0.23 EPS, on 21% revenue decline. GT plans to further reduce costs by about $700 million in 2009. Cost-cut actions include: further reducing personnel by nearly 5,000 in addition to almost 4,000 reductions in the second half 2008 and freezing salaries.

Volcano (VOLC) posts $0.08, vs. $0.09, fourth quarter non-GAAP EPS (excluding stock-based compensation expense, in-process research and development charges) despite 23% higher revenues. Sees $0.19-$0.21 2009 EPS, excluding stock-based compensation expense of about $13.3 million, on revenues of $218-$223 million.

Jakks Pacific (JAKK) posts $0.55, vs. $1.03, fourth quarter EPS on 5.5% sales drop. Sees first quarter 2009 net sales of $105-$115 million, loss per share of $0.29-$0.36. Sees $920 million 2009 revenue, EPS of $2.25.

Goldman Sachs Group (GS) announces that Jon Winkelried, the firm's President and Co-Chief Operating Officer and a member of its Board of Directors, would be retiring effective March 31, 2009.

Constellation Energy Group (CEG) posts $7.75 fourth quarter GAAP loss, vs. $1.42 EPS, on 7.9% revenue drop. Sets 2009 EPS guidance of $2.90-$3.20, 2010 at $3.05-$3.45. Cuts quarterly dividend to equivalent of $0.96 per share annually, reduced from $1.91.

Gentiva Health Services (GTIV) posts $0.43, vs. $0.31, fourth quarter EPS on 20% revenue rise. Raises 2009 forecast to $1.72-$1.80 EPS (excluding items) on $1.14-$1.18 billion revenue from $1.62-$1.72 on $1.12-$1.17 billion revenue.


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