Intel Projects Sales Boost

Network Appliances gains; Wal-Mart same-store sales inch higher; plus more of Thursday's stocks in the news

After the close of trading Thursday, Intel (INTC ) projected $9.3 billion to $9.5 billion fourth-quarter sales in a mid-quarter update, above its original target of $8.6 billion to $9.2 billion and analysts' sales estimates of $8.96 billion. After finishing the regular session lower, the shares moved solidly higher in after-hours trading.

First Albany raised its estimate on Network Appliances (NTAP ) and maintains its neutral rating. Pacific Growth reiterates an overweight rating. Yesterday, the company hosted an analyst meeting.

Wal-Mart (WMT ) posted 0.7% higher November U.S. same-store sales and 8.7% higher total sales.

Prudential downgrades U.S. Steel (X ) to underweight from market perform.

Corning (GLW ) says shipments of LCD glass in Taiwan were weakened in November. The company now thinks fourth-quarter sequential LCD volume growth will be up 3% at best, and could be flat with the previous quarter. Needham downgrades its rating to buy. S&P keeps hold.

Starbucks (SBUX ) posted 13% higher November company-owned same-store sales, 26% higher total sales.

Credence Systems (CMOS ) posted a 14-cent fourth-quarter loss per share vs. a 31-cent loss (non-GAAP basis) on a sharp sales rise. The company sees a 15 cent to 19 cent first-quarter loss per share (non-GAAP) on sales of $100 million to $105 million. S&P maintains its hold opinion.

AnnTaylor (ANN ) posted 8.3% lower November same-store sales. In light of prolonged weakness, the company now estimates mid- to high-single-digit negative fourth-quarter same-store sales and breakeven to 4 cents earnings per share. S&P downgrades the stock.

American Eagle Outfitters (AEOS ) posted 23% higher consolidated November same-store sales and 32% higher total sales. The company raised its fourth-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations guidance to $1.08 to $1.10. S&P reiterates its hold recommendation and raises its estimates and price target.

Comverse Technologies (CMVT ) posted third-quarter earnings per share of 8 cents, vs. a 2-cent loss (GAAP) one year earlier, on a 27% sales rise. S&P reiterates its hold opinion.

Pier 1 Imports (PIR ) posted 9.1% lower November same-store sales and 2.2% lower total sales. The retailer cut its third-quarter earnings per share guidance to 21 cents to 23 cents.

Jefferies downgrades Open Text (OTEX ) to underperform from hold. Yesterday the company offered to purchase remaining shares of IXOS Software AG that it didn't own for 9.38 euro ($12.45) per share cash.

Limited Brands (LTD ) posted 5% lower November same-store sales and 2.9% lower total sales.

According to a report in Financial Times Deutschland, the CEO of Juniper Networks (JNPR ) says the company has $1.5 billion in cash to fund acquisitions: .

Nordstrom (JWN ) posted 3.1% higher November same-store sales and 6.2% higher total sales.

First Albany raises LCC International (LCCI ) $6 target to $8 and reiterates its buy rating.

NTL Inc. (NTLI ) signed a deal to sell its broadcast business to a consortium led by Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group for 1.27 billion pounds sterling.

Albertson's (ABS ) posted third-quarter earnings per share of 32 cents, vs. 25 cents one year earlier, on a 15% sales rise. Current-quarter earnings per share are as adjusted for the net impact from the recent Florida hurricanes. The company believes fiscal 2005 earnings per share will be at the lower end of its previous $1.40 to $1.50 guidance.

First Albany upgrades Wireless Facilities (WFII ) to buy from neutral, and raises its $7 target to $11.

Christopher & Banks (CBK ) posted 3% lower November same-store sales and 12% higher total sales. The company says the November results were disappointing. The retailer cut its third-quarter earnings per share guidance to 21 cents to 22 cents.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Cendant (CD ) is set to buy Britain's Ebookers PLC, owner of an Internet travel site, in a deal valued at $415 million or more.

Pacific Sunwear (PSUN ) posted 2.7% higher November same-store sales and 13.4% higher total sales.

Disney (DIS ) raised its annual dividend 14% to 24 cents.

JP Morgan downgrades Cogent (COGT ) to neutral from overweight.

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