Wednesday's stocks in the news
From Standard & Poor's Equity ResearchNasdaq Stock Market (NDAQ) shares rise, as the Wall Street Journal reports that the company is close to selling its 30% stake in the London Stock Exchange to Borse Dubai. The newspaper says it's still possible that rival Gulf State Qatar could raise its own offer for the stake, which is worth about $1.8 billion.
Morgan Stanley (MS) posts third quarter EPS from continuing operations of $1.38, vs. $1.50 a year ago, as a rise in net interest expense and other costs offset 13% revenue rise. The EPS was below analysts' forecast.
Accredited Home Lenders (LEND) and Lone Star amend their June 4, 2007 merger agreement to settle the pending lawsuit between the companies and reduce the price at which Lone Star agrees to acquire all of the common stock of LEND to $11.75 per share.
Shanda Interactive Entertainment Ltd. (SNDA) falls after the company announces its controlling shareholder, Skyline Media Ltd, agreed to sell an aggregate of 4.57 million ADSs of SNDA. Following the sale, Skyline will still hold more than 50% of issued and outstanding share capital of SNDA. S&P upgrades to strong buy from buy, saying it thinks SNDA's fundamentals are still strong.
Sirius Satellite Radio (SIRI) and XM Satellite Radio (XMSR) fall after UBS Financial downgrades both stocks to neutral from buy.
Dress Barn (DBRN) posts fourth quarter EPS of $0.48, vs. $0.35 a year ago, on 5% higher same-store sales, 11% higher total sales. The retailer sees fiscal year 2008 same-store sales growth of 3%-4%, EPS of $1.40-$1.50. It plans to open 105 stores and close approximately 30 stores, ending fiscal year 2008 with 1,505 stores in operation.
Warnaco Group (WRNC) announces repositioning of its Swimwear Group designed to enhance the company's future growth and profitability. Also says it will explore strategic alternatives for its Lejaby business. JP Morgan reportedly upgrades to overweight from neutral.
TD Ameritrade Holding (AMTD) expects fourth quarter EPS to be at the high end of, perhaps above, the $0.24-$0.32 guidance range.
Kellwood (KWD) receives unsolicited letter from Sun Capital Securities Group LLC, indicating Sun Capital's interest in pursuing acquisition of all of KWD's outstanding shares at a price of $21 per share cash.
Apple (AAPL) says T-Mobile (a business unit of Deutsche Telecom (DT)), will be the exclusive German carrier of Apple's iPhone when it makes its debut in Germany on Nov. 9.
General Mills (GIS) posts $0.81, vs. $0.74 a year ago, first quarter EPS on 7.4% higher revenues. The cereal and food maker reaffirms guidance for low single-digit net sales growth, mid single-digit growth in segment operating profits, diluted EPS of $3.39-$3.43 for fiscal year 2008.
Carmax (KMX) posts $0.29, vs. $0.25 a year ago, second quarter EPS on 3% comp-store used-unit sales rise, 10% total sales rise. It now sees 1%-3% higher fiscal year 2008 comp-store used-unit sales and EPS of $0.92-$0.98.
Knight Transportation (KNX) sees lower-than-expected third quarter EPS of $0.18-$0.21. It cites industry-wide decrease in freight tonnage and excess truckload capacity have contributed to an operating environment characterized by declining tractor utilization and rate pressure from shippers. Credit Suisse cuts estimates and target.
Darden Restaurants (DRI) posts $0.73, vs. $0.62 a year ago, first quarter EPS from continuing operations on 7.9% total sales rise, which reflects U.S. same-restaurant sales growth at Red Lobster of 7%, U.S. comps growth at Olive Garden of 4.8%. It continues to expect fiscal year 2008 EPS growth of 10%-12%. It plans to discontinue monthly reporting of same-restaurant sales.
R.H. Donnelley (RHD) expects 2007 pro forma advertising sales growth (excluding contribution from recently acquired Business.com, of -1% to flat, vs. previous guidance of modestly positive growth. Including Business.com, RHD expects ad sales growth of flat to +1%. It also announces plans to offer $650 million of its series A-4 senior notes to certain institutional investors. Goldman reportedly downgrades to neutral from buy.
Allergan (AGN) agrees to acquire Esprit Pharma Inc. in all cash deal.
Dentsply International (XRAY) raises quarterly dividend to $0.045 per share from $0.04.