Wal-Mart Posts Higher July Sales

Marsh & McLennan, Prudential Financial, Starbucks, Gap and more post results; plus more stocks in the news Thursday

From Standard & Poor's Equity Research

Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) posts 2.4% higher July same-store sales and 13% higher total sales. It expects same-store sales in the U.S. for August to be in the 1% to 3% growth range.

Marsh & McLennan (MMC) posts 31 cents vs. 31 cents second quarter earnings per share (EPS) on flat revenue. It notes underlying revenues in Europe did not meet expectations, due primarily to lower client retention levels.

Prudential Financial (PRU) posts $1.40 vs. $1.12 second quarter operating EPS (adjusted) on a 5.9% revenue rise. It sees $5.50 to $5.70 2006 after-tax adjusted operating EPS.

Starbucks (SBUX) posts 18 cents vs. 16 cents third quarter EPS on a 23% revenue rise. It posts 4% higher July same-store sales and initiates a fiscal year 2007 target of 3% to 7% same-store sales growth and 87 cents to 89 cents EPS. It sets a 25 million stock buyback.

Gap (GPS) sees 13 cents to 15 cents second quarter EPS and cites a combination of merchandise margin pressure and continued investments in Selling Generally & Administrative expenses. It posts 4% lower July same-store sales and 1% higher total sales. It sets an additional $750 million stock buyback.

Sprint Nextel (S) posts 32 cents vs. 30 cents second quarter adjusted EPS before amortization on a 76% revenue rise.

VeriSign (VRSN) Len J. Lauer and Gregory L. Reyes have resigned from the Company’s Board of Directors, effective July 31, 2006.

CVS (CVS) posts 40 cents vs. 33 cents second quarter EPS on an 8.8% higher same-store sales and 16% total sales rise.

AnnTaylor Stores (ANN) posts 5.1% higher same-store sales and a 13% total sales rise.

Federated Department Stores (FD) posts 3.3% higher July same-store sales and 61% higher total sales (including the May Co. acquisition. It expects same-store sales to increase by 3% to 4% in August.

J.C. Penney (JCP) raises second quarter EPS guidance by 6 cents to 71 cents, reflecting continued improvement in operating performance and lower net interest expense. It posts 4.9% higher July same-store sales.

Kerr-McGee (KMG) posts $1.33 vs. 90 cents second quarter EPS from continuing operations on an 8.3% revenue rise.

Officemax (OMX) posts 29 cents second quarter EPS vs. 14 cents loss, excluding items, as lower costs offset a 2.4% sales drop. It expects 2006 operating income margin to be in the range of 3% to 3.5%, excluding items.

Nortel Networks (NT) posts 8 cents second quarter EPS vs. a penny loss on a 5% revenue rise. It expects high single-digit revenue growth for 2006, gross margin to be about 40%, and operating expenses to be flat.

Cooper Tire & Rubber (CTB) posts 34 cents second quarter loss vs. 11 cents loss as higher costs, expenses, and charges offset a 22% sales rise. It says the replacement tire market conditions in North America are challenging. Chairman, president, and CEO Thomas Dattilo resigns.

Brooks Automation (BRKS) posts 23 cents vs. 2 cents third quarter EPS (GAAP) on a 64% revenue rise. It sees 18 cents to 23 cents fourth quarter GAAP EPS (including items) on $200 million to $210 million revenue (including contribution from Synetics.)

Pier 1 Imports (PIR) posts 15% lower July same-store sales and 13% lower total ales. It expects second quarter merchandise margins, as a percentage of sales, to be even with the second quarter fiscal year 2006.

Payless Shoesource (PSS) posts 2.2% higher second quarter same-store sales and 1.8% higher total sales.

MGM Mirage (MGM) posts 50 cents vs. 48 cents second quarter GAAP EPS on a 9% net revenue rise. It sees 40 cents third quarter GAAP EPS.

Guess (GES) posts 30 cents vs. 9 cents second quarter EPS on 17% higher same-store sales and 30% higher total sales. It raises its third quarter revenue growth outlook to slightly more than 20%; it should also boost third quarter EPS above previous guidance by 3 cents to 4 cents.

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