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Today's Winners and Losers: Safeway

Shares of Safeway (SWY) were among the NYSE's winners Thursday, rising 7% after the grocery store operator posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter results.

Safeway earned $173.5 million, or 39 cents a share, on sales of $12.04 billion. Excluding certain items, the company earned $230.6 million, or 51 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected earnings of 46 cents a share, before items, and sales of $11.93 billion. During the year-earlier period, the company earned $202.7 million, or 45 cents a share, on sales of $11.39 billion.

Looking ahead, Safeway continues to project 2006 earnings of $1.55 to $1.65 a share, excluding employee buyouts. Analysts project earnings of $1.58 a share. Shares were trading up $1.68 to $24.93.

Shares of Tuesday Morning (TUES) rose 3% after the home furnishings retailer posted fourth-quarter results that narrowly beat expectations.

The company earned $35.5 million, or 85 cents a share, on sales of $335.2 million. Analysts expected earnings of 84 cents a share and sales of $334.4 million. During the year-ago quarter, the company earned $36.9 million, or 88 cents a share, on sales of $332.4 million.

The company also announced a cash dividend of 80 cents a share. The dividend will be paid on March 30 to shareholders of record on March 10. The current value of the dividend is about $33 million, the company said. Tuesday Morning plans to continue paying a dividend on an annual basis. "In an obviously challenging environment for home furnishings focused retailers, we were able to achieve solid double-digit operating profit for 2005, pay our first cash dividend and provide a return on assets of 17% for our stockholders," the company said.

Looking ahead, Tuesday Morning sees 2006 earnings of $1.62 to $1.67 a share, excluding stock-based compensation costs of 9 cents a share. The company predicts sales growth of about 10%, which would translate into sales of about $1.02 billion. Analysts project earnings, including stock-based compensation costs, of $1.58 a share. Sales are projected at $1.01 billion. Shares were trading up 62 cents to $22.14.

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