Tuesday's Winners & Losers: Focus Media
Focus Media (FMCN), a Chinese out-of-home advertising network, was among the Nasdaq's winners Tuesday, as shares soared 22.6% after a bullish analyst outlook following an internal audit.
Susquehana Financial initiated coverage of the stock with a positive rating, after the company's audit committee found no evidence of improper rebate payments to Everease, a third-party advertising agency. Focus Media subsequently filed its delayed annual report for the year ended Dec. 31. Shares were rising $5.65 to $19.41.
Grant Prideco (GRP), which makes equipment for oil and gas exploration, was slumping 2% after cutting its third-quarter outlook. The company now expects third-quarter earnings of between 95 cents and 97 cents a diluted share, below the $1.04 a share it previously saw. The company expects charges of $15 million, or 8 cents a share, due to consolidation of manufacturing facilities. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected earnings of $1.06 a share.
The company still expects revenue in-line with its earlier forecast of $550 million. Shares were dipping $1.10 to $54.67.Chemical maker Ashland (ASH) also was edging lower on pessimistic guidance. Shares were dipping 2%, after the company said it expected lower fourth-quarter operating income in two of its four units. Ashland, which did not offer EPS guidance for any of the four divisions, said it expects operating revenue of between $14 million and $16 million in its Performance Materials division, vs. $22 million in the year ago period. Its Ashland Distribution unit should have operating income of between $4 million and $6 million, compared to $33 million in the fourth quarter of last year. The company blamed the decline on shrinking margins in its commodity chemicals product line. On the positive side, the company expects record years for its Valvoline and Water Technologies units. That was not enough to rally the stock, however, which fell $1.21 to $60.09. Stone Energy (SGY) rose more than 5% after its board authorized a repurchase program covering up to $100 million of stock. The shares may be bought back from time to time in the open market or through privately negotiated transactions. The company said the repurchase is subject to business and market conditions, and it could be suspended or discontinued at any time. Shares of Stone, an oil and natural gas company, were rising $1.88 to $35.65.
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