lowered first-quarter earnings guidance Wednesday to reflect lower vehicle production, pricing pressure and a preponderance of cars in its overall sales mix. GM now expects to report a loss of about $1.50 a share in the first quarter of 2005, excluding special items, compared with a previous target of breakeven or better. For the calendar year, GM expects to report earnings of approximately $1 to $2 per share, excluding special items, compared to a previous target of $4.00 to $5.00 per share.
Toys R Us
( TOY) will meet Wednesday to discuss strategic options, including two takeover offers for the retail chain that have been reported in recent days. Both Cerberus Capital and KKR have offered to take the toy store company private for $5.5 billion, the
Wall Street Journal
reported. The bids, which go beyond the board's originally intention of selling only Toys R Us' domestic toy outlets, are at or near the company's market price, recently reported on Instinet at $24.09 a share.
Procter & Gamble
affirmed its third-quarter earnings and sales guidance Tuesday, saying it remains on track to earn 60 cents to 62 cents a share on revenue that rises from a year ago in the high single digits. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were forecasting earnings of 61 cents a share on sales of $13.89 billion in the quarter, which ends March 31. P&G's stock closed at $52.92 Tuesday, down 33 cents, or 0.6%. It slipped another 2 cents to $59.20.
announced plans after the bell Tuesday to split its stock 2-for-1. The company will pay the extra shares as a 100% stock dividend on April 12 to stock of record March 28. The stock has risen steadily from the high $50s to the high $80s over the past 12 months and closed Tuesday at $87.05, a little less than $2 below its 52-week range.
swung to a big loss in its fourth quarter due to merger-related expenses. Excluding the items, however, the company earned $4.7 million, or 20 cents a share, beating the consensus estimate compiled by First Call by 2 cents. At $38.8 million, fourth quarter revenue was about $3 million light. The company predicted 2005 product revenue growth of 30% and said it sees strong sequential growth in earnings per share.