Stocks in the news: Home Depot, Goldman Sachs, American Express

The following post rounds up the companies making headlines today:

Home Depot (HD) reported that fiscal first-quarter profit climbed 44 percent despite sales dropping 10 percent. Adjusted profit was 35 cents per share, beating estimates of 29 cents per share. Home Depot Inc. reiterated its guidance for a 7 percent drop in full-year earnings from continuing operations. HD shares dropped 2.5 percent in pre-market trading.

Goldman Sachs (GS), Morgan Stanely (MS) JPMorgan Chase (JPM) have formally asked the Federal Reserve for permission to repay a combined $45 billion in federal bailout money. If regulators find they have enough capital to keep lending, they may allow the repayment, which would be the most substantial since Congress established the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program last year. From their end, banks want to return the money to escape restrictions on compensation and hiring that were imposed on TARP recipients. Shares of all three traded lower before the bell.

American Express (AXP) said it is eliminating about 4,000 jobs or 6 percent of its current global work force across the board. American Express said the job cuts are part of a plan to slash another $800 million in costs for the remainder of the year. AmEx already cut $1.8 billion in costs, which included 7,000 layoffs, in October of last year. Other measures include hiring freeze, salary freeze, scaling back investment spending and further operating cost cuts. Shares were lower ahead of the bell.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A), the largest shareholder in Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT) and Coca-Cola Co. (KO), is scaling back stock purchases after the firm's cash holdings fell to their lowest in more than five years, coming closer to the $10 billion that Buffett says is the minimum he wants on hand to protect against calamity. This is down from $47.1 billion in September 2007.

Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) said Tuesday the Palm (PALM) Pre would be available nationwide June 6, calming concerns Palm wouldn't meet the June deadline for the Apple (AAPL) iPhone competitor. The phone will cost $199.99 with a two-year service agreement and after a $100 mail-in rebate and be available in several retailers. Analysts estimated sales of about 6 million Pre units in 2010, which if achieved, should help both flagging companies.

AmerisourceBergen Corp. (ABC) said Tuesday that it is splitting its common stock two for one and raising its dividend 20 percent beginning in the fiscal third quarter.

  • Vodafone (VOD) said net income fell 54 percent due to an impairment charge related primarily to its Spanish business. Excluding that charge, adjusted operating profit rose 17 percent, beating estimates. Shares fell 5.9 percent in pre-market trade.
  • Medtronic (MDT) said Tuesday its fiscal fourth-quarter profit plunged 69 percent from a year ago on a jump in research and development, litigation, restructuring, and other special charges. Excluding those charges, it earned 82 cents a share, beating estimates by a penny. Net sales slipped about 1 percent. Shares declined 2.5 percent ahead of the bell.
  • Dick's Sporting Goods' (DKS) first-quarter adjusted net income in the latest period totaled 11 cents a share, ahead of the company's forecast and analyst estimates. Revenue rose 5 percent. shares gained 4.6 percent in pre-market trading.
  • Saks Inc. (SKS) swung to a first-quarter loss of $5.11 million, or 4 cents a share as sales fell to $621.3 million from $850 million. Comparable-store sales tumbled 28 percent. Analysts estimated Saks to lose 25 cents a share. Shares soared over 19 percent before the bell.
  • Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) will report after the closing bell today.
OpenTable Inc. on Tuesday increased the price of its upcoming initial public offering to $16-$18 a share, from the earlier range of $12-$14 a share. At the midpoint of the range, the IPO will raise $51 million. OpenTable Inc. plans to trade on the Nasaq under the symbol OPEN.
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