Thursday's stocks in the news
From Standard & Poor's Equity ResearchWal-Mart Stores (WMT ) posts 0.7% higher total U.S. March same-store sales without fuel, 1.1% higher with fuel, 7.9% higher total sales. Because of the Easter calendar change, its potential positive impact on Apr. sales period, expects same-store sales without fuel for April four-week period in the U.S. of 1%-3%. Raises $0.70-$0.74 first quarter EPS from continuing operations guidance to $0.74-$0.76.
This morning's WSJ reports that Yahoo (YHOO) and Time Warner's (TWX) AOL unit are closing in on a deal to combine their Internet operations, a move aimed at thwarting Microsoft's (MSFT) bid to acquire Yahoo. But Microsoft is recrafting its plan by talking with News Corp. (NWS) about a joint bid, according to the article. Last night, Yahoo announced that it will begin a limited test of Google's (GOOG) AdSense for Search service, which will deliver relevant Google ads alongside Yahoo's own search results. S&P reiterates hold.
Millennium Pharmaceuticals (MLNM) agrees to be acquired by Takeda Pharmaceutical in $8 billion deal. Terms: $25 cash per MLNM share.
Apple (AAPL) rises 3.63 to 155.07. S&P Equity Research raises target, reiterates buy; it projects AAPL will gain share in its mainstay PC markets over the coming 12 months, believes modest costs for PC components will aid margins. JP Morgan raises estimates on strong Mac sales.
Amgen (AMGN) is up 2.53 to 44.12 after U.S. District Judge William Young ruled Roche's anemia medicine Mircera violates patents owned by AMGN. Roche reportedly appealing preliminary ruling. S&P equity analyst Steve Silver says, "any legal delay in Mircera's launch will continue to be viewed favorably for AMGN, though we expect the shares to remain volatile as the situation continues to unfold." Silver has a hold ranking on AMGN shares.
Banc of America upgrades Intel (INTC), Semtech(SMTC), Power Integrations (POWI), Analog Devices (ADI) to buy from neutral; upgrades National Semiconductor (NSM), PMC-Sierra (PMCS), LSI Logic (LSI) to neutral from sell.
Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) posts $0.66, vs. $0.72 a year ago, fourth quarter EPS on slight decline in same-store sales, 3.1% net sales decline. Assuming no significant change in the macroeconomic environment, estimates fiscal year 2009 EPS will decline from a low double digit percentage to a mid teens percentage from the $2.10 reported in fiscal year 2008, on flat to slightly negative comps. Sees 40.26-$0.30 first quarter EPS.
Pier 1 Imports (PIR) posts $0.16 fourth quarter EPS, vs. $0.67 loss a year ago, on 2.5% rise in same-store sales, 7.8% drop in total sales.
Mothers Work (MWRK) posts 6% lower March same-store sales, 7.6% lower total sales. Due to lower-than-planned sales and gross margins for the second quarter, it now sees $0.05-$0.10 second quarter loss per share, below prior guidance for EPS of $0.19-$0.35.
Limited Brands (LTD) posts 8% lower March same-store sales, 18% lower total sales.
Cache (CACH) posts flat March same-store sales, 1% higher total sales. Expects first quarter loss of $0.13-$0.14, including charges of approximately $0.10 for the closure of underperforming stores and $0.03 in costs related to a previously announced management change.
Bebe Stores (BEBE) posts on 7.6% lower third quarter same-store sales, 4% higher total sales.
Zumiez (ZUMZ) posts 3.0% lower March same-store sales, 11% higher total sales.
DuPont (DD) raises $1.14-$1.19 first quarter EPS guidance to $1.29, reflecting strong growth in its agriculture businesses, rapid growth in emerging markets. Sees first halfEPS growth of about 10%, with second quarter EPS about equal to 2007 at $1.05. Raises lower end of its 2008 EPS outlook by $0.05 to $3.40-$3.55.
WD-40 Company (WDFC) posts $0.51, vs. $0.52 a year ago, second quarter EPS on slight sales decline. Household products sales were down 14% in the second quarter. Sees fiscal year 2008 EPS of $1.80-$1.90, compared with consensus estimate of $1.89, on sales growth of 4%-8%, or $320-$332 million. Previous guidance was for $1.83-$1.93 EPS on sales growth of 7%-10%.