Cablevision Posts $321 Million Fourth-Quarter Loss on Write-Downs

Cablevision Systems

(CVC)

said it lost $321.4 million during the fiscal fourth quarter, hampered by a massive write-down on its newspaper assets.

The company posted a $321.4 million loss, or $1.11 per share, for the fourth quarter, compared with year-ago profit of $6.64 million, or 2 cents per share. Total revenues for the quarter rose 11% from the year-ago period to $2.05 billion.

On average, Wall Street analysts expected revenue of $2.06 billion.

The latest results included impairment charges totaling $402.4 million related to Cablevision's acquisition of

Newsday

from

Tribune

.

The good news in the report concerned the company's growing subscriber base. Cablevision added 22,800 digital video subscribers, 28,200 broadband subscribers and 53,400 digital voice subscribers during the fiscal fourth quarter 2008.

We have avoided shares of Cablevision since our early June coverage began, when the stock was trading at $26.94. The company has a 2.99% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $13.37. The stock has technical support at the $8 to $9 level. If the shares can stabilize, we see overhead resistance around the $18 to $19 levels. We would remain on the sidelines for now.

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

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Safeway Earnings Fall Short of Expectations

Food and drug retailer

Safeway

(SWY)

on Thursday delivered a fourth-quarter earnings report that fell shy of analyst estimates.

Fiscal fourth-quarter net income was $338 million, or 79 cents per share, up from $301.1 million, or 68 cents in the year-ago period. Total revenue climbed 3% to $13.82 billion from $13.36 billion.

Despite the gains, the earnings fell short of Wall Street's expectations. On average, analysts expected earnings of 81 cents per share on revenue of $14.3 billion.

For the full year 2008, net income jumped 9% to $965.3 million, or $2.21 per share, from $888.4 million, or $1.99 per share, in the previous year.

Safeway also maintained its 2009 profit outlook of $2.34 to $2.44 per share, which falls above Wall Street estimates of $2.31 per share.

Safeway shares were down $2.66, or 12.6%, in afternoon trading Thursday.

We have avoided shares of Safeway since our early June coverage began, when the stock was trading at the $31 level. The company has a dividend yield of 1.50%, based on last night's closing stock price of $21.12. The stock has technical support around the $16 level. If that fails to hold, we could potentially test the $9 to $10 mark. If the shares can bounce back, we see overhead resistance around the $24 level. We would look elsewhere for a better investment opportunity at this time.

Safeway is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 2.8 out of 5 stars.

Cliffs Natural Resources Fourth-Quarter Profit Drops 44% on Charges

Cliffs Natural Resources

(CLF) - Get Report

shares were down more than 6% in early trading Thursday, after the company reported fourth-quarter profit that declined 44% from the year-ago period due to various one-time charges.

The Cleveland-based mining, iron ore, and coal company said fourth-quarter net income was $53.9 million, or 47 cents per share, down from $93.7 million, or 88 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

These results included various one-time charges totaling $209.1 million, or $1.24 per share. The charges were related to a merger termination, currency hedging, and investment losses.

Revenue for the quarter rose 17% from the year-ago period to $916.3 million, helped by strong sales in the company's Asia and North America iron ore divisions.

We had removed shares of Cliff Natural back on Aug. 11, when the stock was trading at $90. The company has a dividend yield of 1.82%, based on last night's closing stock price of $19.19. The stock has technical support in the $10 to $13 price range. If the shares can firm up, we see overhead resistance around the $29 to $31 price area. We would remain on the sidelines for now.

Cliffs Natural Resources is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 2.9 out of 5 stars.

Express Scripts Shares Drop, Despite 49% Fourth-Quarter Profit Growth

Shares of

Express Scripts

(ESRX)

were down 6% in early trading, despite the pharmacy benefits company reporting fourth-quarter profit rose 49% to $206.8 million, or 83 cents per share, up from a profit of $138.5 million, or 54 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Revenue slipped slightly to $5.51 billion from $5.55 billion in the previous year's fourth quarter. The company reported use of lower-cost generic drugs rose to 67.3% from 63.7%. The company makes more on its bottom line from generic drugs.

Looking ahead, management reaffirmed its outlook for 2009 earnings of $3.63 to $3.73 per share. Consensus expectations are for $3.67 per share.

Shares of Express Scripts are 30% off their all-time high of $78 a share, hit in September of last year. The stock has technical support at the $43 to $48 price range. If the shares can firm up, we see overhead resistance around the $61 to $62 price area. We do not currently rate this non-dividend stock, but it is a key name in the pharmacy benefits industry.

Express Scripts does not currently pay a dividend.

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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.