Movers: Intel, Citigroup, Staples, Thornburg, Ambac
Intel (INTC) lowers first quarter gross margin forecast to 54%, plus or minus a point, as compared to previous forecast of 56%, plus or minus a couple of points, due to lower-than-expected prices for NAND flash memory chips.
Citigroup (C) could move on news that Sameer Al Ansari, CEO of Dubai International Capital reportedly told delegates at a private equity conference that it will take more than the combined efforts of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the Kuwait Investment Authority and Saudi investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal to save Citigroup.
Following this morning's report in the Financial Times that Ambac Financial Group (ABK) has decided against splitting in two as part of a $2-$3 billion recapitalization, new speculation that bailout of this bond insurer was imminent drove shares even higher.
Staples (SPLS) posts $0.47, vs. $0.46 a year ago, fourth quarter EPS on slight sales rise. It expects weak economic climate to continue throughout fiscal year 2009, sees mid single-digit sales growth for fiscal year 2009, high single-digit EPS growth, excluding fiscal year 2008's $38 million pre-tax charge related to settlement of California wage and hour class action litigation. Raises annual dividend 14%.
Thornburg Mortgage (TMA) falls after RBC downgrades to underperform from sector perform. Yesterday the company announced completion of collateralized mortgage debt transaction collateralized by $992 million of TMA's prime hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loans in publicly registered Thornburg Mortgage Securities Trust 2008-1. S&P Ratings, Moody's downgraded various forms of TMA debt.
Jackson Hewitt Tax Service (JTX) posts $0.61, vs. $0.83 a year ago, third quarter EPS on 15% lower revenue. Expects to report $1.48-$1.60 fiscal year 2008 (April) EPS on $282-$292 million revenue. It notes its EPS guidance excludes $0.26 primarily related to severance costs and internal review-related expenses.
E*Trade Financial (ETFC) falls 0.54 to 3.81. Some investors hope (new CEO) Donald Layton can sell off the troubled online broker. But first ETFC will have to conquer its lingering problems with risky debt, reports BusinessWeek.com.
Applied Materials (AMAT) rises 1.44 to 20.32 after it enters sales agreements with privately-held corp. based outside U.S., under which AMAT will supply equipment and installation/warranty services for multiple solar factories to be constructed by the unidentified company. The aggregates purchase price for equipment, related services to be provided by AMAT is about $1.9 billion. S&P maintains buy.
Theravance (THRX) falls after the company says it has been informed by the FDA that the Feb 27 planned review of telavancin by the Anti-Infective Drugs Advisory Committee was cancelled on Feb. 23 in order to allow time for the FDA to further evaluate study site monitoring and study conduct to ensure data integrity in the ATLAS Phase 3 program for the treatment of complicated skin and skin structure infections. S&P downgrades to hold from buy. Lehman cuts target.
Altera (ALTR) reaffirms that it expects first quarter sales to be flat to 2% higher vs. fourth quarter 2007, in line with prior guidance. The company's new product category is showing solid growth in comparison to the similar period in the prior quarter, led by Stratix II FPGAs, the company's largest selling product family.
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