Stocks in the News: Home Depot, Sears, Nordstrom

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The following is a round-up of news likely to affect stock prices today:

Home Depot (HD) reported a fourth-quarter profit of $342 million, or 20 cents a share, due to cost-cutting and gains in sales. The largest U.S. home-improvement retailer also raised its dividend for the first time since 2006. Adjusted earnings were 24 cents a share, handily beating estimates of 16 cent a share. Sales dipped 0.3% to $14.57 billion, but topped Wall Street's expectations of $14.07 billion. Shares advanced 1.6% in premarket trading.Target (TGT) said Tuesday that its fourth-quarter profit surged 54% to $936 million, or $1.24 a share. Sales rose 3.7% to $19.7 billion while credit card revenue declined 14% to $462 million. Results beat analysts estimates of earnings of $1.16 a share.

Sears Holdings (SHLD) posted its best quarterly profit in three years, thanks to Kmart shoppers and cost-cutting measures. Sears earnings more that doubled to $430 million, or $3.74 per share, during the fourth quarter. Excluding one-time items, it earned $3.69 per share on 1% lower sales of $13.25 billion. Analysts expected earnings of $3.54 per share on revenue of $12.90 billion. Shares were 1.4% higher ahead of the bell.

Office Depot (ODP) said Tuesday its fourth-quarter loss narrowed to $77 million, or 28 cents a share, as sales fell 6% to $3.1 billion. Adjusted fourth-quarter loss was narrower than expected at 6 cents a share, down from 73 cents a share, much lower than the expected loss of 22 cents a share.

Macy's (M) swung to a fourth-quarter profit of $466 million, or $1.10 a share. Sales in the quarter fell to $7.85 billion. On an adjusted basis, Macy's said Tuesday it would have earned $1.40 a share, better than analysts' estimates of $1.37 a share. The guideline for the year was a bit weak and shares fell 1.7% before the bell.

Medtronic (MDT) said Tuesday its third-quarter net income rose 19% to $831 million, or 75 cents a share, with adjusted net income at 77 cents a share. Revenue rose to $3.9 billion. Results beat expectations for earnings of 76 cents a share and revenue of $3.7 billion.

Nordstrom (JWN) reported results late Monday, posting a quarterly profit that more than doubled to $172 million, or 77 cents per share. Still, hurt by rising credit card delinquencies and higher-than-expected costs, results missed Wall Street estimates by two pennies. Quarterly revenue rose 10.3% to $2.54 billion. Shares fell 3.5% in premarket trading.

Brocade Communications (BRCD) disappointed investors late Monday when it gave a lower-than-expected outlook for the full year. For the fiscal first quarter, Brocade said its net profit more than doubled. Excluding items, earnings were 19 cents a share, better than the estimate of 15 cents a share. Revenue was lower than the market expected. Shares skidded more than 18%.

RadioShack (RSH) reported late Monday its profit rose 26% to $75.7 million, or 60 cents a share, in the fourth quarter profit on demand for wireless phones. Revenue rose 4.7% to $1.32 billion. Results were slightly above estimates of 59 cents a share on revenue of $1.3 billion. Shares were 2% lower ahead of the bell.

Honda Motor (HMC) said Tuesday its exports for January fell 48% from a year earlier, although domestic sales rose by 40%.

AstraZeneca (AZN) said on Tuesday that it would pay 505 million British pounds ($783 million) to settle a pricing dispute with the U.K. Revenue & Customs agency. As a result, it raised its 2010 target for core earnings per share to a range.

Palm (PALM) shares dropped some 6% ahead of the bell after Bank of America Merrill Lynch downgraded the stock to underperform from buy and slashed the price target to $10 from $20. Separately, Macquarie cut Palm to neutral from outperform, also with a $10 target. Palm was initiated with a hold at Stifel Nicolaus, and at RBC Capital, its target was lowered to $18 from $25.
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