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Shares of

Constellation Brands


were among the


losers Friday, falling 6% after the wine and spirits company's fourth-quarter sales missed expectations.

For the quarter ended Feb. 28, the company earned $55.7 million, or 24 cents a share, on net sales of $1.05 billion. Excluding items, the company earned $86.9 million, or 36 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected earnings of 36 cents a share on sales of $1.12 billion. During the year-earlier period, Constellation earned $45.2 million, or 20 cents a share, on sales of $1.04 billion. Excluding items, the company earned $73.2 million, or 31 cents a share, during the year-earlier quarter. During the recent period, the company's wine sales totaled $767 million, a 3% decline from a year ago. Beer and spirits sales increased 16% to $280.9 million.

For the first quarter, Constellation anticipates reported earnings of 25 cents to 28 cents a share. Excluding certain items such as restructuring and acquisition-related charges, the company predicts earnings of 30 cents to 33 cents a share on a comparable basis. Analysts project earnings of 33 cents a share, before items. After the earnings report, Stifel Nicolaus downgraded the company's shares to hold from buy. Shares were trading down $1.47 to $23.99.



rose 2% after the coffee giant posted a 10% jump in March same-store sales. The company said results were helped by strength in seasonal espresso and core handcrafted beverages, as well as its brewing products sale and the later Easter. Total sales increased 24% to $743 million. "While we are very pleased with both net revenues and same store sales growth in March, we recognize that same store sales growth at this level is not sustainable," the company said. "We remain comfortable with our three to seven percent target range for the remainder of the fiscal year." Shares were trading up 84 cents to $38.29.

Shares of

Dollar Tree Stores


rose 1% after the discount retailer backed its previously issued first-quarter sales guidance. The company continues to project sales of $845 million to $870 million. Analysts, meanwhile, forecast sales of $851.2 million. Shares were trading up 41 cents to $28.32.

Shares of



fell 7% after the transportation company posted second-quarter earnings that fell below expectations. The company reported earnings of $34 million, or 34 cents a share, for the quarter ended Feb. 28. Earnings from continuing operations came in at $37.8 million, or 38 cents a share, while revenue totaled $789 million. Analysts expected earnings from continuing operations of 39 cents a share on revenue of $776.3 million. During the year-ago period, the company earned $236.2 million, or $2.28 a share, on revenue of $763.7 million. On a continuing operations basis, the company earned $20.7 million, or 20 cents a share, during the year-earlier quarter.

Looking ahead, Laidlaw sees 2006 earnings from continuing operations of $1.30 to $1.50 a share on 1% to 3% revenue growth. Analysts project earnings of $1.44 a share and revenue of $3.1 billion, or revenue growth of about 2%. Shares were down $1.94 to $26.44.



rose 3% after the company lifted its first-quarter earnings guidance. The company now sees earnings of 36 cents to 38 cents a share, up from an earlier view of 32 cents to 35 cents a share. Analysts project earnings of 36 cents a share. During the year-earlier quarter, the company earned 33 cents a share, including a 3-cent charge from senior note repurchases. "We experienced stronger than expected performance primarily in our premium luxury business in March," AutoNation said.

The company also said that it now expects a previously announced equity and debt tender offer to add 13 cents to 15 cents a share to earnings on a full-year basis, up from an earlier view of 8 cents to 10 cents a share. AutoNation attributed the increase to an improved mix of financing sources, as well as lower-than-expected interest rate spreads. Shares were trading up 63 cents to $22.72.

NYSE volume leaders included

Lucent Technologies


, down 9 cents to $3.11;

Nortel Networks


, up 1 cent to $3.07;

Annaly Mortgage


, down 8 cents to $11.80;

Time Warner


, down 3 cents to $16.66;

Tenet Healthcare


, down 17 cents to $8.87;

Texas Instruments


, down 30 cents to $33.33;

General Electric


, down 1 cent to $34.50; and



, down 19 cents to $24.90.


volume leaders included

Sun Microsystems


, up 6 cents to $5.30;

Sirius Satellite Radio


, up 2 cents to $5.43;

Apple Computer


, down $2.17 to $69.07;



, up 1 cent to $19.39;

Brocade Communications Systems


, up 11 cents to $6.94;



, down 3 cents to $4.10;



, down 4 cents to $4.87;



, up 6 cents to $21.24;

Research In Motion


, down $3.08 to $81.30; and



, down 14 cents to $27.42.