Thursday's Early Winners & Losers: Brightpoint's Bright Spot

The wireless-device distributor posts a third-quarter profit.
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Priceline.com

(PCLN)

climbed in after-hours trading Wednesday when the Norwalk, Conn.-based company saw a drop in third-quarter earnings, but still beat Wall Street's expectations.

The online travel company posted income of $47.8 million, or $1.05 a share, compared with $170.6 million, or $3.71 a share, a year earlier. The year-ago results included a $158.6 million tax benefit. Excluding items, the company earned $30.2 million, or 72 cents a share, compared with $19.3 million, or 47 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue climbed 21.1% to $313.5 million. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for a profit of 67 cents a share on sales of $302.1 million.

Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, the company said it expects a roughly 15% increase in revenue and pro forma net income between 36 cents and 42 cents a share. Shares were trading up $2.60, or 6.4%, to $43.

Amkor Technology

(AMKR) - Get Report

gained after the Chandler, Ariz.-based company, which provides semiconductor-packaging and testing services, swung to a third-quarter profit. The company posted income of $52.8 million, or 27 cents a share, compared with a loss of $19.5 million, or 11 cents a share, a year ago. Sales increased 30% to $714 million. Wall Street was expecting earnings of 24 cents a share on revenue of $691.4 million.

For the fourth quarter, the company said it expects income in the range of 20 cents to 24 cents a share with sales down 3% to 5% from the third quarter. Analysts are looking for earnings of 21 cents a share. Shares were trading up 95 cents, or 12.7%, to $8.44.

Brightpoint

(CELL)

gained as the Plainfield, Ind.-based wireless-device distributor swung to a third-quarter profit.

The company earned $8.8 million, or 17 cents a share, in the latest quarter, reversing last year's loss of $6.2 million, or 12 cents a share. Revenue increased 16% to $633.7 million. Income from continuing operations was $8.9 million, or 18 cents a share, compared with $8.3 million, or 17 cents a share, in the third quarter of 2005. Wall Street was looking for an adjusted profit of 18 cents and sales of $590.5 million.

For the fourth quarter, the global wireless industry should sell 5% to 7% more devices than the estimated 243 million units sold in the third quarter. "Based on our most recent outlook, I now expect the units handled by Brightpoint for 2006 to be in the range of 53 million to 55 million units," said Robert J. Laikin, chairman and chief executive of Brightpoint.

"On a year-over-year basis, we are on track to grow faster than the global wireless-device industry in terms of unit growth," he continued. "As I look toward 2007, I remain bullish on the global wireless-device industry and expect a sell-in range of 1.05 billion to 1.15 billion units for 2007, representing high double-digit growth year over year." Shares were trading up 52 cents, or 4.5%, to $12.16.

Essex

(KEYW) - Get Report

surged on news that the Columbia, Md.-based signal-processing company signed a definitive merger agreement with a subsidiary of

Northrop Grumman

(NOC) - Get Report

. Northrop Grumman will acquire Essex for $24 per share in cash in a deal valued at about $580 million, which includes the assumption of Essex's debt. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2007.

Separately, Essex posted third-quarter earnings of $2.4 million, or 10 cents a share, compared with $2.2 million, or 10 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue increased 56% to $66.5 million. Analysts were looking for earnings of 10 cents a share on $58.4 million in revenue. The company increased its 2006 revenue guidance to a range of $250 million to $260 million, up from an earlier forecast of $240 million to $250 million. Wall Street is looking for $246.4 million. The company also affirmed its 2007 revenue guidance of $330 million to $350 million, while analysts are calling for $345.6 million. Shares were trading up $3.52, or 17.6%, to $23.50.

Jupitermedia

(JUPM)

tumbled after the Darien, Conn.-based research company reported a sharp drop in third-quarter earnings.

The company posted income of $1 million, or 3 cents a share, compared with $60.4 million, or $1.62 a share, a year ago. Net income for the third quarter of 2005 included a gain of $29.1 million, net of income taxes, related to the sale of Jupitermedia's Search Engine Strategies events and ClickZ.com Network, as well as a $23.5 million benefit from the reversal of the valuation allowance related to deferred income tax assets.

Revenue increased 6% to $33.8 million. Wall Street was looking for earnings of 8 cents a share on revenue of $35.9 million. Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, the company expects earnings of 6 cents a share on revenue of $33 million to $34 million. Shares were falling $2.60, or 28.6%, to $6.50.

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

soared after the San Jose, Calif., networking-gear company boosted revenue guidance for the second straight quarter. For its fiscal first quarter ended last month, the company made $1.61 billion, or 26 cents a share, up from $1.26 billion, or 20 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue rose to $8.18 billion from $6.55 billion a year earlier. Excluding certain items, latest-quarter adjusted earnings were 31 cents a share.

Analysts were looking for a 29-cent profit on sales of $7.9 billion. The company said it expects to see 24% to 25% revenue growth for the second quarter, reflecting the contributions of cable networker Scientific Atlanta, acquired by Cisco this past spring. Wall Street was looking for 21% growth. Shares were trading up $1.98, or 7.9%, to $27.08.

Imax

(IMAX) - Get Report

plummeted after the digital-theater company rolled out its latest debacle. The Toronto-based company lost $11 million, or 28 cents a share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30, reversing the year-ago profit of $2 million, or 5 cents a share. Revenue slid to $21 million from $33 million a year earlier, a drop Imax said was "primarily because it did not install any theatre systems in the third quarter." Analysts were looking for a penny-a-share loss on revenue of $38 million.

"In addition to the slipping of installations, the company's 2006 third-quarter performance was affected by the disappointing box office performance of

Ant Bully

and higher-than-anticipated SG&A due to increased legal expenses and costs related to the company's previously reported process of exploring strategic alternatives," Imax said. The company put itself on the block March 9, briefly sending its shares above $10. But the stock has since nose-dived, taking a nasty drubbing back in August when the company disclosed that it had failed to find a buyer. There was more such talk Wednesday.

"While the company did not find a buyer willing to acquire Imax at terms initially sought by the board of directors, the special committee of the board has since authorized the investment banks Allen & Co. and UBS to explore interest existing at a lower valuation than originally sought," Imax said. "As part of this ongoing process, the company remains committed to exploring additional interest as appropriate."

Imax added that it is "still responding to informal inquiries from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Ontario Securities Commission regarding the company's timing of revenue recognition," though it believes its bookkeeping was virtuous. Shares fell 69 cents, or 14.3%, to $4.15.