Barrick Gold Posts $468 Million Fourth-Quarter Loss on Impairment Charges

The world's largest gold producer,

Barrick Gold

(ABX)

, said Friday that it lost $468 million in the fiscal fourth quarter, hurt by $773 million impairment charges.

The Toronto-based gold company said it lost 53 cents per share, compared with a profit of $537 million, or 61 cents per share, in the year-ago period. The latest quarter's results included 89 cents per share in impairment charges.

Excluding those one-time charges, the company saw an adjusted profit of 32 cents per share, while analysts, on average, were expecting 33 cents.

Revenue for the quarter increased to $2.11 billion, up 10% from the $1.92 billion the company earned in the same period a year ago.

Barrick's full-year 2008 income was $785 million, or 89 cents per share, down from $1.12 billion, or $1.28 per share, in 2007. Full-year revenue rose 25%, however, to $7.91 billion from $6.33 billion.

As of the end of 2008, Barrick said it had gold reserves of 138.5 million ounces, up 11% from the end of the previous year. The company said that gold production would slow slightly in 2009, but pick back up again in 2010.

We have avoided shares of Barrick Gold since our early June coverage began, when the stock was trading at $42.07. The stock has a dividend yield of 1.10%, based on last night's closing stock price of $36.44. The stock has technical support around the $22 level.

If the stock can continue its recent rebound, we see overhead resistance around the $40 to $42 price area. If that level can be beat, $50 would be next. We would remain on the sidelines for now, but Gold is racing higher and the mining stocks should be monitored closely.

Barrick Gold is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.2 out of 5 stars.

Career Education Shares Rise 20% After Fourth-Quarter Profit Triple

Shares of educational services company

Career Education

(CECO) - Get Report

skyrocketed up over 20% in afternoon trading Friday, on the heels of the company's latest earnings report, which easily beat Wall Street estimates.

Although the company's quarterly revenue fell 5.2% from year-ago levels, its profit more than tripled because it incurred fewer costs related to school closures.

For the fiscal fourth-quarter 2008, Career Education said it earned $31.2 million, or 35 cents a share, compared to $8.8 million, or 10 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue fell by 5.2% to $431.8 million from $455.3 million.

On average, analysts expected profit of 20 cents a share on revenue of $435.5 million.

For the full year 2008, profit rose to $60.1 million, or 67 cents a share, compared with $59.6 million, or 63 cents a share in 2007, when the company had more shares outstanding.

Shares of Career Education were ramping 19% higher this morning, but are way off of 2004 highs of $70 per share. The stock has technical support around the $12 to $14 price area. If the stock can continue to rebound, we see overhead resistance around the $27 level. We do not currently rate this non-dividend paying stock, but we are following the stock and the rest of the online education space closely.

Career Education does not currently pay a dividend.

J.C. Penney Reports Fourth-Quarter Profit Drop 51%

Shares of

J.C. Penney

(JCP) - Get Report

were trading flat this morning, following the company's fourth-quarter report showing profit fell 51% to $211 million, or 95 cents per share, for the three months ended Jan. 31. That compares with $430 million, or $1.93 per share, a year earlier.

The company's revenue fell 10% to $5.76 billion from $6.39 billion, with same-store sales falling 10.8%. The company said it took further steps to significantly reduce its inventories and operating expenses to offset current economic conditions.

We had 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 5.36% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $14.92.

The stock has technical support around the $10 to $11 price area. If the shares can firm up, we see overhead resistance around the $24 price level. We would remain on the sidelines for now.

J.C. Penney is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.1 out of 5 stars.

Lowe's Fourth-Quarter Profit Falls 60%

Home-improvement retailing giant

Lowe's

(LOW) - Get Report

is down about 3% in early trading today, after the company reported its fourth-quarter profit plummeted 60% to $162 million, or 11 cents per share, in the three months ending Jan. 30, from $408 million, or 28 cents per share, during the same period last year.

The company's revenue fell 4% to $9.98 billion from $10.4 billion a year ago, as same-store sales fell a disappointing 9.9%. The company said economic pressures on consumers intensified during the fourth quarter, resulting in a further decline in consumer confidence and dramatic reductions in consumer spending.

Looking ahead, management sees 2009 earnings of $1.04 to $1.20 per share, which is below current analyst expectations for $1.27 per share.

We removed the shares of Lowe's from our "Recommended" list back on Sept. 17 at $24.40 a share, after recommending the stock on Aug. 8, when it was trading at $20.94. The company has a 2% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $16.98.

The stock has key technical support at the $15 level. If that fails to hold up, we could see the $10 level come into play. If the shares can firm up, we see overhead resistance around the $23 level. We would remain on the sidelines for now.

Lowe's is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.1 out of 5 stars.

Be sure to visit our complete recommended list of the Best Dividend Stocks as well as a detailed explanation of our ratings system.

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.