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Markets & Finance

Delta Air Lower as Treasurer Departs

Delta Air Lines (DAL) shares fell Tuesday after the airline replaced its treasurer with a former Delta assistant treasurer. S&P cut its price target on the stock to $1.50 and reiterated its sell opinion. Merrill reportedly downgraded the shares to sell from neutral.

Fluor (FL) shares fell after the company posted a second-quarter loss per share of 19 cents, vs. 54 cents earnings per share one year earlier, as charges related to a jury verdict offset a 32% revenue rise. The company sees 2005 earnings per share of $1.55-$1.75, including a charge. S&P reiterated its hold rating. First Albany put its model under review.

Sotheby's (BID) shares moved higher after the auction house posted second quarter earnings per share from continuing operations of 67 cents, vs. 66 cents, on 5.6% higher revenues. Wedbush Morgan reiterates buy.

Church & Dwight (CHD) shares climbed after the personal-care products outfit posted second quarter earnings per share of 51 cents, vs. 30 cents, on a 30% revenue rise. The company continues to see at least $1.75

2005 earnings per share. S&P reiterated its buy opinion.

Click Commerce (CKCM) shares fell sharply after the company posted second-quarter earnings per share of 33 cents, vs. 15 cents (non-GAAP), on a sharp revenue rise. Pacific Growth cut its estimates.

Vistacare (VSTA) shares were solidly lower after the company posted lower-than-expected third quarter earnings pers hare of 6 cents, vs. an 11-cent loss per share, on a 20% revenue rise. The company says its average daily census growth remains slower than expected, while admissions growth declined sequentially. Vistacare sees a breakeven fourth quarter.

Goldman upgraded its investment rating on shares of Delphi (DPH) to in-line. On Monday, Delphi said that if talks with unions don't lead to a plan to address legacy costs, it will consider other alternatives, including a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, for its U.S. business. The shares were higher Tuesday.

Shares of Elan (ELN) and Biogen Idec (BIIB) advanced after the companies said findings from a safety evaluation of Tysabri in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) resulted in no new confirmed cases of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML).

Polo Ralph Lauren (RL) posted first-quarter earnings per share of 48 cents, vs. 12 cents, on a 27% sales rise. The company sees second-quarter consolidated revenue growth in the low double digits. It raised its fiscal 2006 earnings per share forecast to $2.85-$2.92.

Blockbuster (BBI) shares declined after the company posted a second-quarter loss of 22 cents (adjusted), vs. earnings per share of 27 cents, on 1.6% lower revenue. As a result of uncertainty and a continued decline in the rental industry, the company is no longer on track to achieve its 2005 guidance; it withdrew its previous 2005 guidance.

King Pharmaceuticals (KG) shares rose after the company posted second quarter earnings per share (non-GAAP) from operations of 44 cents, vs. 5 cents, on a 68% revenue rise.

Cablevision (CVC) shares ticked lower after the company posted a 6-cent second quarter loss per share, vs. a 54-cent loss from continuing operations, on 6% higher consolidated net revenue. S&P reiterated its hold rating.

Echostar Communications (DISH) shares nudged higher after the company posted second quarter earnings per share (basic) of $1.89, vs. 18 cents, on an 18% revenue rise. Echostar notes that it posted second quarter earnings per share including a non-recurring, non-cash benefit of $1.31 to recognize tax benefits of previously reported tax losses. S&P reiterated its hold opinion.

E*Trade Financial (ET) shares gained after the company announced plans to acquire Kobren Insight Management, a registered investment advisor that manages about $1 billion for private clients. The company expects the deal to contribute close to $10 million in revenues and $2.3 million in net income in 2006.

Clear Channel (CCU) shares were lower after the company posted posted second quarter earnings per share of 40 cents, vs. 41 cents, on 1% lower revenue. The company reiterated its strategic plan for an IPO of its outdoor advertising business and a spinoff of its entertainment unit, and sees a related SEC form S-4 filing by Aug. 10. S&P reiterated its strong sell opinion.

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