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Tuesday's Winners & Losers: Talbots

Shares of Talbots (TLB) were among the NYSE's winners Tuesday, soaring 20% after the apparel retailer narrowed its second-quarter loss forecast and offered a bullish second-half outlook.

The company, which said that its integration of J. Jill is ahead of plan, expects to report a second-quarter loss of 8 cents to 10 cents a share. Previously, Talbots forecast a loss of 5 cents to 15 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call project a loss of 10 cents a share.

As for the second half, Talbots is expecting stronger financial performance. "Both the Talbots and J. Jill brands have key initiatives in place that we believe will drive improved top and bottom line performance in the back half of 2006," the company said. Talbots sees second-half earnings of 50 cents to 55 cents a share. Analysts, meanwhile, project second-half earnings of 50 cents a share. For fiscal 2007, Talbots expects cost savings from the acquisition to total $30 million, up from its original forecast of $25 million. Shares were recently trading up $3.59 to $21.56.

Shares of Harbor Florida Bancshares (HARB) jumped 18% after the banking company agreed to be acquired by National City (NCC) for $1.1 billion in stock. Harbor Florida will receive National City stock equal to $45 a share, representing a 20% premium to Harbor Florida's closing price of $37.55 on Monday. The exchange ratio for the merger will be based on the average closing price of National City's stock for the 10 trading days before the Federal Reserve approves the deal, the companies said.

Harbor Florida, which is the fifth-largest publicly traded bank in Florida, has $3.2 billion in total assets and 40 branches concentrated along the Central East Coast of Florida. The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter. Shares of Harbor Florida were trading up $6.58 to $44.13, while shares of National City were down 88 cents, or 2%, to $35.51.
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