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Stocks in Motion: New Century

Shares of New Century Financial (NEW) were among the NYSE's losers Friday, falling 9% after the real estate investment trust cut its 2005 earnings outlook.

The company now expects earnings of $7.25 to $7.75 a share, down from previous guidance of $8.25 to $9 a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had been expecting earnings of $8.12 a share. New Century blamed its revised outlook on weakened operating margins, which were caused by a "significant deterioration in the secondary market for loans," it said. The company said that it would still generate earnings that would support its dividend of $6.50 a share in 2005 and its dividend of $7.30 a share in 2006. Finally, New Century said that its current guidance does not reflect the impact of weather-related losses in the Gulf Coast region. The losses, which can't be determined at this point, could possibly be significant, the company said. Shares were trading down $3.35 to $35.60.

IPC Holdings (IPCR) fell 7% after the insurance company said that Hurricane Katrina would significantly impact its third-quarter results. The company expects Katrina losses to impact its income by a range of $350 million to $600 million. The company's losses are based on industry insured loss estimates of $30 billion to $40 billion. Shares were trading down $2.29 to $30.32.

Shares of Darden Restaurants (DRI - Get Report) rose 7% after the company posted first-quarter earnings that topped forecasts by a penny. The restaurant operator earned $85.5 million, or 53 cents a share, on sales of $1.41 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of 52 cents a share on sales of $1.4 billion. A year ago the company earned $71 million, or 44 cents a share, on sales of $1.28 billion. The company also upped its semiannual dividend to 20 cents a share, up 400% from its previous dividend of 4 cents a share.
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