Dell Meets Estimates

Target shares gain while Wal-Mart slips; Sabre Holdings to acquire lastminute.com; plus more of Thursday's stocks in the news

After the close of trading Thursday, Dell (DELL ) posted 37 cents first-quarter earnings per share, vs. 28 cents one year earlier, on $13.4 billion in revenue. The company sees second-quarter earnings per share of 37 cents to 39 cents and second-quarter revenue of $13.6 billion to $13.8 billion.

Shares of discount retailer Target (TGT ) moved higher during Thursday's regular session after the company posted 55 cents, vs. 47 cents first-quarter earnings per share on 6.2% same-store sales rise and a 13% total revenue rise.

Meanwhile, shares of rival discount merchant Wal-Mart Stores (WMT ) fell after the company posted 58 cents, vs. 50 cents first-quarter earnings per share on a 2.9% same-store sales rise and a 9.5% net sales rise. Wal-Mart says it missed its plan due to higher gasoline prices and a cooler, wetter spring than normal. It sees better results in the second half of the year.

U.S. Steel (X ) shares declined Thursday after the company announced it will take the Gary Works No. 13 blast furnace off line in late May, rather than Aug. 1 as previously stated. The company sees second-quarter flat-rolled steel shipments 7% below the first quarter, and 2005 shipments lower than most recent projection of 14.5 million tons.

Sabre Holdings' (TSG ) Sabre Inc. unit will acquire lastminute.com in a $1.08 billion (577 million pound) deal. The proposed acquisition is expected to be dilutive on GAAP basis and post-integration costs, to Sabre's 2005 and 2006 earnings per share. S&P reiterates hold.

Travelzoo Inc. (TZOO ) was seen higher on Sabre's deal to acquire lastminute.com.

Napster Inc. (NAPS ) posted a 60-cent fourth-quarter loss, vs. a 20-cent loss as higher costs and expenses offset sharply higher revenues. The company sees $19 million to 21 million in first-quarter revenue, reflecting more modest growth due to the start of typical summer seasonality.

Filtration product company CUNO Inc. (CUNO ) agrees to be acquired by 3M (MMM ) in a $1.35 billion deal. Terms of the agreement give $72 per CUNO share, including assumption of $60 million of net debt.

Information management company Acxiom Corp. (ACXM ) posted lower-than-expected 16 cents, vs. 17 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share despite a 16% revenue rise. It notes reductions in credit card mailing volumes and international operation didn't meet expectations.

JP Morgan upgrades Dow Jones & Co. (DJ ) to overweight from neutral.

Citigroup upgrades Network Appliances (NTAP ) to hold from sell.

Helen Of Troy (HELE ) posted 37 cents, vs. 23 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share on a 13% sales rise. It anticipates another record year for earnings and sales in fiscal 2006.

Cephalon Inc. (CEPH ) and H. Lundbeck A/S announce the discontinuation of their Phase 2/3 clinical trial of CEP-1347 in Parkinson's disease.

Movie Gallery (MOVI ) posted 58 cents, vs. 54 cents on a 1.5% same-store sales rise and 15% net revenue rise.

Hospira Inc. (HSP ) posted 49 cents, vs. 42 cents first-quarter earnings per share on a 6.6% net sales rise. The company reaffirms $1.21 to $1.28 2005 earnings per share (including transition expenses and costs related to transaction with ICU Medical).

Napster Inc. (NAPS ) posted a 60-cent fourth-quarter loss, vs. a 20-cent loss as higher costs and expenses offset sharply higher revenues. It sees $19 million to $21 million in first-quarter revenue and reflecting more modest growth due to the start of typical summer seasonality.

American Eagle Outfitters (AEOS ) posted 35 cents, vs. 18 cents first-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations on 27% same-store sales rise and 37% total sales rise. It sees 32 cents to 33 cents second-quarter earnings per share.

Mylan Labs (MYL ) posted 14 cents, vs. 27 cents fourth-quarter on 5.1% net revenue rise.

Murphy Oil (MUR ) sets a 2-for-1 stock split.

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