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Wednesday's Winners & Losers: Estee Lauder

Shares of Talbots (TLB) were among the NYSE's winners Wednesday, rising 7% after the women's apparel retailer posted a narrower-than-expected second-quarter loss.

The company recorded a loss of $3.9 million, or 7 cents a share, including 14 cents a share in charges related to its acquisition of J. Jill and 3 cents for stock-options expense. Excluding these costs, Talbots recorded a profit of 10 cents a share. Analysts, who included the charges in their estimates, predicted a loss of 8 cents a share.

Sales totaled $571 million, as same-store figures rose 1.3%. Analysts expected slightly higher sales of $575.9 million. A year earlier, Talbots earned $18.9 million, or 35 cents a share, on sales of $449.6 million.

"Our second-quarter results were positively driven by strong sales of our core Talbots brand apparel, which started to gain traction in early April," said Talbots Chairman, President and CEO Arnold Zetcher in a statement. "We saw particularly strong selling trends across all Talbots brand channels throughout June and July, which offset much of the softness in sales of our J. Jill brand merchandise during the quarter."

For the second half, Talbots expects net earnings of 50 cents to 55 cents a share. Analysts target second-half earnings of 50 cents. Excluding charges and stock-options costs, the company projects earnings of 81 cents to 86 cents a share. Talbots shares recently were up $1.41 to $22.76.

Estee Lauder (EL) shares shed 4% after a tepid first-quarter guidance overshadowed the cosmetics company's better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter results. For the quarter ended June 30, Estee Lauder earned $44.5 million, or 21 cents a share, down from $66.6 million, or 30 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding various charges related to cost-cutting moves and tax items, Estee Lauder's earnings rose 15% to $108.8 million, or 51 cents a share. Earnings on this basis topped analysts' mean estimate of 48 cents. The company, which owns brands such as Clinique, Aveda and La Mer, said sales rose to $1.6 billion from $1.53 billion. That beat analysts' target of $1.56 billion.

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