Wal-Mart Posts Higher June Sales

Valassis to buy Advo; Peabody Energy to acquire Excel Coal; several retailers post results; plus more stocks in the news Thursday

From Standard & Poor's Equity Research

Wal-Mart Stores ("WMT") posts 1.1% higher June same-store sales at Wal-Mart and 1.3% higher at Sam's Club. It says total sales rose 10.4% and sees July US comps up 1% to 3%, as well as second quarter earnings per share (EPS) within 70 cents to 74 cents guidance.

Altria Group ("MO") a Florida court reportedly refuses to reinstate $145 billion in a punitive damage award against major tobacco companies.

Advo ("AD") agrees to be acquired by Valassis in a $1.3 billion deal, at $37 cash per Advo share.

Peabody Energy ("BTU") agrees to acquire Excel Coal Ltd for A$8.50 per share (US$6.21) in cash, or a total acquisition price of about US$1.34 billion plus assumed debt of about US$190 million.

eBay ("EBAY") PayPal President Jeff Jordan is to leave the company and be replaced by Rajiv Dutta.

Tenet Healthcare ("THC") reaches agreement with 2005-2006 property insurers to settle all claims related to physical damage and business interruption sustained by Tenet due to Hurricane Katrina; insurers will pay Tenet a total of $340 million.

Hot Topic ("HOTT") posts 3.4% lower June same-store sales and 8% higher total sales.

Costco Wholesale ("COST") posts 6% higher total comopany June same-store sales and 10% higher total sales.

Limited Brands ("LTD") posts a 3% higher June same-store sales rise and a 5% net sales rise. It reportedly sees July comps rise in the mid-single digits.

New York & Co ("NWY") posts 5.5% lower June same-store sales and 3.1% higher total sales.

Hummingbird ("HUMC") Open Text plans to make an offer through its wholly-owned subsidiary for all common shares of Hummingbird at a price of US$27.75 per common share cash. This price is US$1.00 greater than Symphony Technology Group's offer.

Novatel Wireless ("NVTL") sees second quarter revenues exceeding $44 million, ahead of its $40 million to $42 million previous guidance.

Borland Software ("BORL") sees second quarter revenue of $73 million to $75 million, which exceeds earlier company expectations. It also sees net loss in line with the previous quarter. It announces the resignation of SVP and CFO Kenneth R. Hahn. The company is to conduct a search for a permanent CFO.

Aladdin Knowledge Systems ("ALDN") sees lower-than-expected $20.8 million to $21 million second quarter revenue and non-GAAP EPS at the lower end of the $0.26-$0.29 range, excluding $0.03- $0.04 stock-based compensation expense.

Aeropostale ("ARO") posts 5.3% higher June same-store sales and 23% higher total sales.

Guess ("GES") posts 12% higher June same-store sales and 17% higher total sales. It also posts 17% higher second quarter same-store sales and 23% higher total sales.

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