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Stocks in Motion: Alcon

Updated from 11:22 a.m. EDT

Shares of Alcon (ACL) were among the NYSE's winners Wednesday after the company said second-quarter earnings would easily beat Wall Street expectations.

The eye-care products maker said that better cost containment, favorable currency translations, higher gross margins and a better product mix would allow it to earn 76 cents to 78 cents a share, well above the 64 cents a share that analysts polled by Thomson First Call had expected. Its second-quarter earnings will be released July 28. Shares of Alcon traded up $10.35, or 13.9%, to $85.10.

Linens 'n Things (LIN) stumbled after the retailer slashed its second-quarter earnings outlook and warned that second-quarter sales would fall short of expectations. Citing weak store traffic, especially in May, it now expects to report earnings of 1 cent to 2 cents a share vs. previous guidance of 8 cents to 9 cents a share. Second-quarter sales, meanwhile, are expected to come in at $578.7 million. Analysts had expected it to earn 8 cents a share on sales of $594.5 million. The company is scheduled to release earnings July 21. Shares of Linens 'n Things traded down $1.76, or 6.4%, to $25.60.

Shares of Tesco (TESOF) rose after the company announced a joint operations agreement with Schlumberger Oilfield Holdings. The two companies will work exclusively together in the provision of Tesco's Casing Drilling services in Mexico and Russia, marrying Tesco's drilling services with Schlumberger's products, services and expertise. The exclusivity provisions of the agreement will provide continuous revenue to Tesco, dependent, of course, on the success of the collaboration. Shares of Tesco traded up 91 cents, or 11.1%, to $9.10.

Vastera (VAST) fell after it announced that Visteon (VC) would not renew an agreement for managed services when the agreement expires at the end of the year. Vastera has provided outsourcing to Visteon since 2000. Vastera expects to recognize $6 million in revenue during 2004 from the managed services agreement. Shares of Vastera traded down 9 cents, or 3.2%, to $2.77.
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