Spitzer Files Suit Against H & R Block for Fraud

Sony is to release PlayStation 3 later than expected; SEC launches probe into CVS' accounting; plus more stocks in the news Wednesday

H & R Block (HRB) New York Attorney General Spitzer files lawsuit against H&R Block. He says the firm is engaged in fraudulent business practices.

Vulcan Materials (VMC) sees first quarter earnings per share (EPS) from continuing operations of 50 cents to 60 cents vs. previous guidance of 20 cents to 35 cents and 2006 EPS from continuing operations of $4.25 to $4.50 vs. a previous $3.85 to $4.15.

Sony (SNE) is to release PlayStation 3 in November. The launch reportedly was expected this spring.

CVS (CVS) says the Securities and Exchange Commision has launched an informal probe into how CVS accounted for a transaction that occurred in 2000.

Lehman Brothers Holdings (LEH) posts $3.66 vs. $2.91 first quarter EPS on a 17% net revenue rise.

Bally Total Fitness (BFT) delays its 2005 10-K until April 2006, due principally to a delay in completing the audit of 2004 financials and restatements of prior periods. Its board okays outside financial advisors to "engage in talks with interested parties."

E. I. du Pont de Nemours (DD) expects 80 cents first quarter earnings per share (EPS) (before significant items), up from the 70 cents previously forecast, as well as $2.70 2006 EPS (before significant items), up from $2.60 previously forecast. It cites improved operating performance at many of its businesses and plans to cut 1,500 positions.

Sears Holdings (SHLD) posts $4.03 vs. $3.09 fourth quarter EPS on a 12% drop in domestic Sears same-store sales, a 1% rise in Kmart same-store sales, and sharply higher total sales. It notes that significant asset sales and restructuring charges greatly impacted both years.

4Kids Entertainment (KDE) posts 4 cents vs. 36 cents fourth quarter EPS on 21% lower revenue.

Union Pacific (UNP) raises first quarter EPS guidance to $1.00 to $1.10 from 80 cents to 90 cents. It cites stronger-than-anticipated commodity revenue growth and greater-than-expected operating margin improvement. It now sees 2006 EPS of $4.80 to $5.00.

EchoStar Communications (DISH) posts 30 cents vs. 15 cents fourth quarter EPS (basic) on a 13% revenue rise.

Ross Stores (ROST) posts 49 cents vs. 35 cents fourth quarter EPS on a 16% sales rise.

Smith & Nephew (SNN) Shares were higher in Europe on hopes of bid from Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY). According to MarketScope Europe, The Guardian cites Peter Dolan, Bristol-Myers Squibb's CEO, saying he was looking to expand the company's healthcare business.

ChipMOS Technologies (IMOS) posts 37% higher February revenue and a 1% sequential drop.

Citi Trends (CTRN) posts lower-than-expected 55 cents vs. 45 cents fourth quarter EPS on 23% higher same-store sales and 46% higher total sales. It sees fiscal year 2007 EPS of $1.25 to $1.29, including about 5 cents in stock option expense, on a 1% to 3% rise in same store sales.

Belo (BLC) sees lower-than-expected first quarter EPS of 13 cents to 15 cents, including items.

Seachange (SEAC) posts 10 cents fourth quarter loss vs. 8 cents loss despite an 11% revenue rise.

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