Boeing Delivers Fourth-Quarter Loss, Blames Results on Strike

Boeing

(BA) - Get Report

shares are up over 2% today, despite the world's largest plane manufacturer reporting a fourth-quarter net loss of $56 million, or 8 cents a share, vs. a gain of $1 billion, or $1.36 a share, in the year-ago period.

The impact of the machinist strike was estimated at $1.09 a share, a 61 cents-a-share charge related to upsets in its 747 program, and a 9-cents-a-share contribution to a litigation-related reserve.

Looking ahead, management is forecasting EPS in the range of $5.05 to $5.35, while Wall Street was looking for earnings of $5.76.

We had removed shares of Boeing from our "Recommended" list back on Aug. 19, when the shares were trading at $63.64. The company has a 3.89% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $43.22. The stock has technical support at the $34 level, and if that fails to hold, we could possibly see $25 as a possibility. On the upside, the shares would have overhead resistance near the $52 to $53 level. We would look elsewhere for better investment opportunities.

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

McCormick May Sneeze in 2009

McCormick & Co.

(MKC) - Get Report

shares are up over 2% after the company reported fourth-quarter profit fell 6% to $82.5 million, or 62 cents per share, from $87.6 million, or 67 cents per share last year.

The seasonings company reported sales were up 5% to $906.9 million from $860.1 million a year earlier, boosted by acquisitions and higher prices.

Looking ahead, the company sees EPS in a range of $2.24 to $2.28 and sales growth between 2% and 4%, which means revenues may fall a bit light of consensus estimates of sales of $3.36 billion.

We have avoided shares of McCormick since our early June coverage began, when the stock was trading at $37.76. The company has a 3.09% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $31.04. The stock has technical support in the $26 to $28 price area -- and if that fails to hold -- again at the $22 level. We see initial overhead resistance at the $35 to $36 levels. We would remain on the sidelines for now.

McCormick & Co. is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars.

Novartis Shares Fall Despite 70% Profit Growth in the Fourth Quarter and Dividend Raise

Shares of

Novartis

(NVS) - Get Report

are down over 5% in early trading as the company reported profit in the fourth quarter jumped 70% to $1.54 billion from $904 million a year earlier. This was below some consensus estimates that were as high as $1.83 billion.

Overall, drug sales rose 5% to $6.43 billion -- pressured by the strengthening dollar over the quarter. Blood-pressure drug Diovan remains the company's bestselling drug at $1.42 billion. Cancer drug Gleevec -- the second-bestselling product -- contributed $890 million.

The company also announced it was boosting its dividend to $1.75 for 2008.

We had removed shares of Novartis back in September, when shares were trading at $52.91. The company will now have a dividend yield of 3.87%, based on Friday's closing stock price of $45.25. The stock has technical support at the $40 level. If that fails to hold, we could see the $30 to $31 level come into play. If the shares can bounce back, we see overhead resistance around the $50 to $52 levels. We would remain on the sidelines for now.

Novartis is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.3 out of 5 stars.

Legg Mason Posts Third-Quarter Loss of $1.49 Billion

Legg Mason

(LM) - Get Report

shares are bucking the rally and are down over 11% so far today after the company reported a third-quarter loss of $1.49 billion, or $10.55 per share, compared with profit of $154.6 million, or $1.07 per share, in the year-ago period.

The asset manager said sales dropped 39% to $720 million, from $1.19 billion in the year-ago quarter. Due to the company's continued efforts to reduce its Structured Investment Vehicle (SIV) exposure, it incurred a loss of $842.1 million. Total exposure to SIVs remaining in the money market funds has declined from approximately $10 billion in October 2007 to $1.4 billion -- through systematic reduction of positions.

Assets Under Management (AUM) were $698.2 billion, down 17% from $841.9 billion at Sept. 30, reflecting net client outflows and market declines. AUM was down 30% from $998.5 billion at Dec. 31, 2007.

We had removed Legg Mason from our "Recommended" list back on Sept.15, when the shares traded at $36.30. The shares were briefly on the "Recommended" list from the $39 level. The company has a 4.94% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $19.44. The company needs to hold the $15 to $16 levels technically. If it fails to, then the $7 to $8 price area is likely. If the shares can firm up, we see overhead resistance at the $25 area. We would look elsewhere for better investment opportunities at this time.

Legg Mason is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 2.9 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.