Agilent Posts $101 Million Second-Quarter Loss, but Adjusted EPS Is in Line

Measuring and testing company

Agilent

(A) - Get Report

said Thursday that it lost $101 million in the latest quarter, hurt by a big drop in its semiconductor testing unit.

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The Santa Clara, Calif., company reported a fiscal second-quarter net loss of $101 million or 29 cents per share, compared with a profit of $173 million or 47 cents in the year-ago period. Excluding special one-time charges, the company posted adjusted profits of $44 million or 13 cents per share.

Overall revenue in the quarter fell to $1.09 billion, down 25% from $1.46 billion in the same quarter last year. On average, Wall Street analysts were expecting profits of 13 cents per share, excluding items, on revenue of $1.07 billion.

Agilent said it sees fiscal 2009 revenue receding by 25% from 2008 to $4.33 billion. On average, analysts expect $4.48 billion. Agilent shares fell 59 cents or 3.2%, in morning trading Friday.

Shares of Agilent are way off of 52-week highs of $38 a share. The stock has technical support in the $12 to $15 price area. If the shares can firm up, we see overhead resistance around the $20 to $25 price levels. We do not currently rate this non-dividend paying stock, but we do follow the company closely.

J.C. Penney First-Quarter Net Falls 79%, Guides Below Street View

Famous department store retail chain

J.C. Penney

(JCP) - Get Report

said Friday that its first-quarter profit fell significantly from last year, hurt by a big one-time pension expense.

The Plano, Texas, company reported first-quarter net profits of $25 million or 11 cents per share, compared to earnings of $120 million or 54 cents per share in the year-ago period. Sales fell 6% to $3.88 billion from $4.13 billion in the same period last year. These results were enough to beat estimates. On average, Wall Street analysts expected a profit of 10 cents per share.

J.C. Penney said the latest results were hampered by a pension expense of $114 million, which equals 32 cents per share. Same-store sales, considered a key indicator of a retailer's health, fell 7.5% in the quarter, which the company partially blamed on weakness in its fine jewelry business.

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For the fiscal 2009, the company forecast earnings of 50 cents to 65 cents per share, well below Wall Street estimates of 76 cents per share.

J.C. Penney also said it expects to swing to a second-quarter loss of between 15 cents and 25 cents per share, with sales falling 7% to 10%, implying sales of $3.85 billion to $3.98 billion. The company also said it sees same-store sales declining 9% to 12%. On average, analysts expect a second-quarter loss of 9 cents per share on revenue of $3.94 billion.

J.C. Penney shares rose 73 cents or 2.8%, in morning trading Friday.

We removed shares of J.C. Penney from our "recommended" list back on Sept. 22,when shares were trading at $38.11. The company has a 3.00% dividend yield based on last night's closing price of $26.65.

The stock has technical support in the $20 to $22 price area. If the shares can firm up, we see overhead resistance around the $32 to $33 price levels. We would remain on the sidelines for now. J.C. Penney holds a Dividend.com DARS rating of 3.1 out of 5 stars.

Illinois Tool Works Reaffirms Second-Quarter Guidance

Industrial products and equipment maker

Illinois Tool Works

(ITW) - Get Report

reaffirmed its second-quarter guidance Friday even as it reported a 25% drop in operating income for the three months ending April 30.

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The Glenview, Ill., company reaffirmed its second-quarter profit guidance of 25 cents to 37 cents per share. In the same quarter last year, the company saw earnings from continuing operations of $1.01 per share. On average, Wall Street analysts expected second quarter earnings of 30 cents per share.

The company said that its second-quarter guidance assumes a 5% to 11% gain in revenue over the fiscal first quarter. ITW shares fell 22 cents or 0.65% in morning trading.

We have avoided shares of ITW since our early June coverage began and the shares were trading at $50.16. The company has a 3.65% dividend yield based on last night's closing stock price of $33.95.

The stock has technical support in the $26-29 price area. If the shares can firm up, we see overhead resistance around the $37 price area. We would remain on the sidelines for now. ITW holds a Dividend.com DARS rating of 3.0 out of 5 stars.

Nordstrom Shares Rally Despite First-Quarter Profit Drop

Shares of

Nordstrom

(JWN) - Get Report

are up nearly 6% in early trading after the high-end retailer reported first-quarter profits fell 32% to $81 million or 37 cents per share below last year's profit of $119 million, or 54 cents per share.

Revenue fell 9% to $1.71 billion, down from $1.88 billion one year ago, as same-store sales fell 13.2% overall. Looking ahead, management is raising 2009 EPS guidance to between $1.25 and $1.50 per share. It previously forecast a profit of $1.10 to $1.40 per share.

We have been avoiding shares of Nordstrom since our early June coverage began and the shares were trading at $33.99. The company has a 3.05% dividend yield based on last night's closing stock price of $20.95.

The stock has technical support in the $14 to $16 price area. If the shares continue their recent rebound, we see overhead resistance around the $24 to $25 price levels. We would remain on the sidelines for now. Nordstrom holds a Dividend.com DARS rating of 3.3 out of 5 stars.

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At the time of publication, the author had no positions in stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.

Tom Reese and Paul Rubillo are senior editors of Dividend.com. Visit Dividend.com for more dividend stock ratings, picks, news, and analysis for long-term and income-seeking investors.