Markets & Finance

Movers: AIG, Microsoft, Pulte, JPMorgan, News Corp.


Stocks in the news Tuesday

From Standard & Poor's Equity ResearchIn response to CNBC report yesterday that it in talks with U.S. government to secure additional funds, American International Group (AIG) says it continues to work with U.S. government to evaluate potential new alternatives for addressing its financial challenges. It will provide a complete update when it reports finl results in near future. AIG received bids from MetLife (MET) and Axa SA (AXA) for its American Life Insurance Co. unit, according to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the situation. The report said MET made a preliminary offer of $11.2 billion for American Life Insurance Co., which might fall to $8 billion because of the deterioration of the unit's financial condition.

Microsoft (MSFT) CEO Ballmer said at an analyst meeting that conditions remain difficult and sales will be impacted by deteriorating PC demand and lower IT spending. He also expects online ad revenue to be pressured.

Pulte Homes (PHM) rises Credit Suisse raised its rating on the stock to neutral from underperform based on a fourth straight month of improving/reasonable traffic levels as well as attractive valuation.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) announces that it has reduced its quarterly common stock dividend from $0.38 to $0.05 per share, effective for the dividend payable April 30, 2009, to shareholders of record on April 6, 2009. This action will enable JPM to retain an additional $5 billion in common equity per year. Notes first quarter financial performance quarter-to-date is "solidly profitable" even after significant additions to reserves, and the outlook for the quarter is roughly in line with analyst expectations. S&P maintains hold.

News Corp. NWS () president and COO Peter Chernin plans to leave the company, according to the WSJ, costing the media giant a key lieutenant at a tumultuous time. S&P maintains hold.

Home Depot (HD) posts better-than-expected $0.19 (excluding business rationalization charge and write-down of investment in HD Supply), vs. $0.40 a year ago, fourth quarter EPS from continuing operations on 13% drop in same-store sales, 17% total sales drop. Street was looking for $0.15. Sees fiscal year 2010 same-store sales decline in high single-digits, total sales decline of about 9%, 7% drop in EPS from continuing operations.

Foster Wheeler AG (FWLT ) posts $1.03, vs. $0.56, fourth quarter EPS (excl. items) on revenue rise.

Macy's (M) posts $1.06 (excluding unusual items), vs. $1.73, fourth quarter EPS on 7.0% sales drop, 7.7% total sales drop. Notes fourth quarter fiscal year 2009 EPS exceeds its most recent guidance of $1.00-$1.02, excluding one-time costs associated with division consolidations announced in 2/08, store closings announced in January. Reiterates sales, EPS guidance provided in February; currently assuming same-store sales in fiscal year 2010 will be down 6%-8%; EPS of $0.40-$0.55, excluding restructuring-related costs.

Target (TGT) posts $0.81, vs. $1.23, fourth quarter EPS on 5.9% drop in same-store sales, 1.6% total sales drop.

Nordstrom (JWN) posts $0.31, vs. $0.92, fourth quarter EPS on 13% lower same-store sales, 8.5% lower total sales. Says fourth quarter sales were slightly better than original expectations and EPS was in-line with consensus expectations of $0.30. For fiscal year 2010, expects same-store sales to decrease 10%-15%, which yields EPS of $1.10-$1.40.

H.J. Heinz (HNZ) posts $0.76, vs. $0.68, third quarter EPS on 3.9% sales rise (excluding forex). Says strong EPS growth reflected increased pricing, co.'s decision to hedge translation exposures on key currencies, and higher organic sales of brands such as Heinz Ketchup and soup, and Classico pasta sauces. Reaffirms fiscal year 2009 guidance of $2.87- to $2.91 EPS, with organic sales growth of around 6%.

Ceradyne (CRDN) posts $0.81, vs. $1.28, fourth quarter EPS on 27% revenue decline. Cuts 2009 forecast to $1.60-$2.00 EPS on $465-$500 million revenue from $2.30 EPS on $600 million revenue.

Tenet Healthcare (THC) posts $0.07 fourth quarter loss, vs. $0.16 loss, on 4.5% higher net operating revenue. Says its progress on pricing and cost efficiencies is expected to provide continuing benefits into 2009 including incremental cost efficiencies, which is expected to total about $150 million by yearend.

Marvel Entertainment (MVL) posts $0.80, vs. $0.35, fourth quarter EPS on sharply higher revenues. Says improvement reflects recognition of $135.5 million in film production segment revenues principally associated with the DVD performance of its Iron Man feature film. Reaffirms $1.00-$1.35 2009 EPS on sales of $415-$460 million.

Hanesbrands (HBI) says, because of the recession, it would be highly unlikely that HBI achieves its long-term growth goals for full year 2009. Notes its long-term annual growth goal for sales is 1%-3%, excluding acquisitions. In the short term, assumes consumer spending environment will translate into low to mid-teen percentage unit volume declines early in the year.

Medco Health Solutions (MHS) posts $0.59, vs. $0.43, fourth quarter EPS (excluding amortization of intangible assets) on 14% revenue rise. Sees $2.67-$2.77 2009 EPS (excluding amortization of intangible assets), representing 15%-19% y/y growth.

RadioShack (RSH) posts $0.50, vs. $0.77, fourth quarter EPS on 9.2% same-store sales drop, 7.7% total revenue drop. Notes fourth quarter 2008 net income was impacted by decline in net sales, gross profit, partially offset by savings in selling, general and administrative expenses.

Thr9 Limited (NCTY) posts $0.24, vs. $0.43, fourth quarter earnings per ADS on 1% lower net revenues.

Oneok Partners (OKS) posts $1.09, vs. $1.27, fourth quarter earnings per unit, $0.96 vs.$1.25 distributable cash flow per unit on 32% lower revenue. Earnings were two cents ahead of Street view.

Oneok (OKE) posts $0.65, vs. $0.98, fourth quarter GAAP EPS on 29% lower revenue. Cites a decrease in storage, marketing and transportation margins in its energy services segment. S&P maintains strong buy.


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