Stocks in the news: FedEx, Kroger, 3M, McDonald's

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FedEx (FDX) lifted its earnings guidance due to improved activity. It boosted its profit target to $1.10 a share from its previous estimate of 65 cents to 95 cents a share. The new guidance is well ahead of the Wall Street estimate of 85 cents a share in a survey of analyst by FactSet Research. Shares jumped nearly 2.5% in pre-market trading.

The Kroger Co. (KR) says it lost $875 million in its third quarter due to tough price competition and the struggling California economy. Kroger also cut its profit and sales forecast for the full year. Without a write-down, profit would have been $176.7 million, or 27 cents, far below analyst estimates of earnings of 36 cents a share. Shares sank 9% ahead of the bell.
3M Co. (MMM) reaffirmed its full-year earnings guidance on Tuesday, which was below expectations and disappointed investors. 3M still expects 2009 earnings to be in the range of $4.50 to $4.55 a share, implying fourth-quarter earnings in the range of $1.12 to $1.17, below estimates of earnings of $1.18 a share. Shares fell 1.5% in pre-market trading.

H&R Block (HRB) reported a smaller fiscal second-quarter loss of $128.6 million, or 38 cents per share, on Tuesday as it trimmed expenses and saw its tax services business improve. Revenue fell 7.2% to $326.1 million, but tax services revenue grew. Analysts predicted a bigger loss of 40 cents per share on revenue of $347 million.

McDonald's Corp. (MCD) said Tuesday that its November same-store sales rose 0.7%. Sales dropped 0.6% in the U.S.; rose 2.5% in Europe and fell 1% in Asia, Middle East and Africa. The company also said it expects to record an 8-cent benefit in the fourth quarter related to resolving certain liabilities. Shares declined 2.7% in pre-market trade.

UAL Corp.'s (UAUA) United Airlines said Tuesday it has ordered 25 new Boeing Co. (BA) and 25 Airbus wide-body aircraft for delivery beginning from 2016 to 2019. It also has the rights to purchase up to 50 more of each aircraft. UAUA shares rose over 1.5% also due to a Jesup & Lamont upgrade from hold to buy. BA shares were about 0.5% lower ahead of the bell.

Procter & Gamble's (PG) A.G. Lafley plans to step down as chairman on Jan. 1, with Robert McDonald adding the role to his responsibilities as CEO and president.

Monsanto Co. (MON) will on Tuesday reaffirm its full-year 2010 earnings guidance of $3.10 to $3.30 a share, but also say that it expects an ongoing loss in the first quarter of 5 cents a share or less.

Xilinx Inc. (XLNX) raised its December sales guidance to up about 16% to 20% sequentially from its prior view of up about 6% to 10% sequentially. Shares gained about 1% in pre-market trade.

Celgene (CELG) shares dropped 4.7% ahead of the bell after it presented data from its study on Revlimid as first line maintenance therapy (FLMT) of multiple myeloma, which analysts believe raised "concerns about the competitiveness, regulatory approval, reimbursement, and adoption of Revlimid."
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