Stocks in the news: Home Depot, Target, Exxon Mobil

Home Depot (HD) said Tuesday that its third-quarter earnings fell 8.9% to $689 million, or 41 cents per share, as the housing and renovation markets remained weak. Revenue fell 8% to $16.36 billion. Same-store sales dropped 6.9%. Results beat estimates of 36 cents per share on revenue of $16.27 billion. The company also raised its full-year earnings outlook. Shares declined over 2% ahead of the bell.

Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT) said Tuesday that it will buy Semitool Inc. (SMTL) for $11 a share in an all-cash tender offer. The aggregate purchase price is about $364 million. Semitool shares, which closed Monday 10% higher at $8.4, shot up 30% in premarket trading to $10.94 at last check.

Lazard Ltd. (LAZ) announced Monday it has appointed Kenneth M. Jacobs, 51, as chairman of the board of directors and CEO, effective immediately. Jacobs replaces Bruce Wasserstein, who died on Oct. 14.
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A,BRK.B) on Monday revealed new investments in Nestle and Exxon Mobil (XOM). Berkshire nearly doubled its investment in Wal-Mart Stores (WMT). It also added a stake in Travelers Cos. (TRV) and increased its holding of Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC).

Target (TGT) said Tuesday its profit climbed more than 18% in the third quarter to $436 million, or 58 cents per share, as the discount department store chain cut costs and amped up its fight with rival Wal-Mart. Sales grew 1.4% to $14.8 billion. Results beat estimates of 50 cents per share, but missed the expected revenue number of $15.25 billion.

Saks (SKS) managed to eke out a surprise third-quarter profit of $1.9 million, or 1 cent per share, by trimming expenses and scaling back on promotions and clearance merchandise. Revenue fell 8.5% to $631.4 million. Same-store sales fell 10.1%. Results beat estimates of a loss of 11 cents per share on revenue of $625.6 million. Shares jumped about 5 percent in pre-market trading.

Sunpower (SPWRA) dropped more than 13% ahead of the bell after it announced late Monday that following an internal review of its Philippine manufacturing operations, it believes there may have been unsubstantiated accounting entries. Several analysts downgraded the shares.

Pacific Sunwear (PSUN) shares sank over 23% in pre-market trading after the company reported Monday a wider loss for the third quarter due to a decline in sales. Even as it managed to beat estimates, the company forecast a much greater loss per share than analysts had anticipated.

Time Warner (TWX) said on Monday it will spin off its AOL unit to shareholders on Dec. 9.

More earnings in brief:
  • Dillard's (DDS) swings to surprise profit
  • Covidien (COV) quarterly net income drops 86%
  • TJX (TJX) posts higher third-quarter profit

Select analyst calls:

  • Kaufman Bros. upgraded Palm (PALM) from Hold to Buy.
  • Barclays Capital upgraded Exxon Mobil (XOM) from Equal Weight to Overweight and upped the target price from $90 to $92.
  • UBS downgraded Joy Global (JOYG) from Buy to Neutral.

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