Stocks in the news: Home Depot, CIT Group, Saks

The following post rounds up the companies making headlines today:

Home Depot (HD) reported second quarter results this morning, posting a seven percent profit decline to $1.1 billion, or 66 cents per diluted share. But earnings topped expectations mainly due to cost cuts that helped offset a nine percent fall in revenue. Home Depot also upped its full year guidance, saying it expects earnings per share from continuing operations excluding special items to fall by 15 percent to 20 percent, better than previous estimate of a decline of 20 percent to 26 percent. It kept its sales guidance to fall by about 9 percent this year. Shares gained 3.6 percent in pre-market trading.

CIT Group Inc. (CIT), the commercial lender that has barely managed to escape the clutches of bankruptcy several times so far, said Monday in a regulatory filing it lost $1.68 billion in the second quarter, and again warned it might have to file for bankruptcy protection if it fails to restructure its business. CIT lost $4.30 per share during the quarter ended June 30, far more than analyst expectations for a loss of $1.95 per share. Shares jumped five percent ahead of the bell.

Agilent Technologies Inc. (A) said late Monday it swung to a fiscal third-quarter loss as sales in all of the testing and equipment maker's major business areas declined. The company added that more weakness is likely to extend into 2010. Shares were up two percent in pre-market trade.

Cardinal Health (CAH) said Tuesday fourth-quarter net income fell 15 percent even as revenue grew by 10 percent. Company topped estimates and guided slightly higher than projections. Shares traded 2.3 percent higher ahead of the bell.

Saks (SKS) said Tuesday its second-quarter loss widened as consumer spending continued to languish. But the loss was not as big as analysts expected. Shares jumped 6.5 percent ahead of the bell.

Target (TGT), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Analog Devices (ADI) are all reporting earnings today. Target just reported better-than-expected earnings even as earnings and revenue fell, sending shares nearly five percent higher.

Exxon Mobil (XOM) and PetroChina agreed a $41 billion liquefied natural gas deal.

HSBC Holdings (HBC) was upgraded at Goldman Sachs to Buy from Neutral. Shares were up 2.2 percent in pre-opening trade.

Novavax (NVAX) shares jumped over 10 percent in pre-market trading after the company reported on a new kind of influenza vaccine that works against the new swine flu virus in animals.

Rio Tinto (RTP) sold the majority of its Alcan Packaging business to Australia's Amcor, which said it will pay $2.03 billion for it.

Ford Motor Co. (F), Chrysler and GM, are doing a better job of satisfying their customers than they were a year ago, according to a recent survey released Tuesday by the University of Michigan.

Lowe's Corp. (LOW) reported Monday its second-quarter profit fell a worse-than-expected 19 percent.

Apple (AAPL) -- the much talked about September keynote event is now rumored to be on Wednesday September 9 according to All Things Digital. The event will be held in San Francisco and is expected to showcase upgrades to the iPod line and an update to iTunes that may involve some sort of social element. No Apple tablet though, it seems.

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