Williams-Sonoma Jumps

H&R Block drops; Sabre Holdings slips; plus more of Wednesday's stocks in the news

Home-goods retailer Williams-Sonoma (WSM ) posted 23 cents, vs. 15 cents second-quarter earnings per share on a 19% total revenue rise. It sees 21 cents to 23 cents third-quarter earnings per share, and raised the $1.53 to $1.57 fiscal 2005 earnings per share guidance to $1.57 to $1.61. Raymond James upgraded to strong buy. S&P keeps hold.

H&R Block (HRB ) posted a 26-cent first-quarter loss, vs. 3 cents earnings per share on a 2.6% revenue drop. The tax-preparation and financial-services firm sees $4.00 to $4.25 fiscal 2005 earnings per share. Morgan Stanley cut its estimates. S&P keeps hold.

Sabre Holdings's (TSG ) Sabre Travel Network set a new policy for Northwest Airlines (NWAC ) in response to Northwest's decision to impose new fees on tickets sold using a Global Distribution System. S&P believes Northwest's action could be a minor negative for Sabre.

Ditech Communications (DITC ) posted 30 cents first-quarter earnings per share, vs. a 32-cent loss on a sharp revenue rise. Ditech sees 8% to 10% second-quarter revenue growth. First Albany raised its estimate and reiterated the strong buy rating.

Semtech (SMTC ) posted 22 cents, vs. 3 cents second-quarter earnings per share on a 53% net sales rise. The chipmaker expects 3% to 5% third-quarter sequential sales growth and 23 cents earnings per share. Legg Mason upgraded to buy from hold. Morgan Stanley raised its estimate. S&P keeps hold.

Consol Energy (CNX ) sees revenues from the sale of company-produced coal $41 million to $59 million lower than its previous forecast. Teh company cut the 5 cents to 10 cents third-quarter earnings per share forecast to a 30-cent to 40-cent loss. S&P reiterates avoid.

SeaChange (SEAC ) posted 12 cents, vs. 3 cents second-quarter earnings per share on an 18% revenue rise. The maker of video-storage servers for video-on-demand sees $43 million in third-quarter revenues and 12 cents earnings per share. Friedman Billings reiterated the underperform rating.

Nanogen (NGEN ) received a U.S. patent on the design, development, and capability of an electronic system to carry out and control multistep, multiplex reactions in macroscopic or microscopic formats.

Banknorth (BNK ) and Canada's Toronto Dominion Bank confirmed that they are holding talks with regard to a possible transaction.

American Woodmark (AMWD ) posted $1.16, vs. 90 cents first-quarter earnings per share on a 21% sales rise. It sees $1.15 to $1.20 second-quarter earnings per share.

Hughes Supply (HUG ) posted $1.27, vs. 80 cents second-quarter earnings per share on 17% higher same-store sales and 40% higher total sales The electrical-supplies retailer sees 98 cents to $1.03 third-quarter earnings per share. It sees margin compression at some point, and sales somewhat lower than in the first half, as well as more challenging comparable sales.

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