Continental Airlines Shares Rise Despite $266 Million Loss in the Fourth Quarter

Continental Airlines

(CAL) - Get Report

shares are up over 4% so far today, despite the company losing $266 million or $2.33 per share, compared with a loss of $32 million, or 33 cents per share, a year ago.

The company's revenue was down 1.5% to $3.47 billion, just missing the consensus forecast of $3.49 billion. The company said its forecast trans-Atlantic bookings are running 6% to 7% points behind last year, and Pacific and Latin American flights are also filling less quickly.

Also, management expects first-quarter occupancy on its main airline to be 3.5% to 4.5% points lower than a year ago, which is a sign that traffic is falling faster than the airlines can cut flights.

The shares have technical support in the $10 to $11 price area, but if that fails to hold, then the $6 area is key. If the shares can firm up here, we see the $21 to $22 as the first spot the stock encounters overhead resistance. Then the $25 to $26 area would be next, if the first level can be surpassed. We do not rate the stock as it does not pay a dividend, but if the airline sector begins to firm up, this stock can be considered a go-to name to look at.

Continental Airlines does not currently pay a dividend.

Eli Lilly Profits Hit on ImClone Acquisition Charges

Shares of

Eli Lilly

(LLY) - Get Report

are down over 2% so far today, after the pharmaceutical company reported a fourth quarter loss of $3.63 billion, or $3.31 per share in the quarter. That compares with earnings of $854.4 million, or 78 cents per share a year ago -- mainly the result of its ImClone acquisition.

Revenue rose to $5.21 billion from $5.19 billion, despite sales of Zyprexa falling to $1.15 billion. The company's second best selling drug antidepressant Cymbalta had a sales gain of 15% to $721.2 million in the fourth quarter.

Looking ahead to 2009, management is backing its profit forecast of $4 to $4.25 per share for 2009. The consensus estimates are for $4.19 per share.

We added shares of Eli Lilly to our "Recommended" list on Oct. 23, when the stock was trading at $32.11. The company has a dividend yield of 5.01%, based on last night's closing stock price of $39.09. We are still positive on shares of Eli Lilly at this time, but we will track the company closely for any potential news affecting our ratings.

Eli Lilly is a "Recommended" stock at this time, holding a Rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Newell Rubbermaid Slashes Dividend After Fourth-Quarter Loss of $257 Million

Shares of

Newell Rubbermaid

(NWL) - Get Report

are trading flat so far today, after the company said it lost nearly $257 million in the fourth quarter, or 93 cents per share. A year earlier, Newell Rubbermaid earned $105.4 million, or 36 cents per share.

The company reported revenue fell 12% to $1.45 billion, down from $1.64 billion last year. Management said it is trying to react to the economic downturn in determining what costs it can reign in.

Looking ahead, the company sees EPS in the range of 7 cents to 12 cents for the first quarter and $1 to $1.25 for fiscal 2009. Analysts are currently at 17 cents for the quarter and $1.10 for the year.

We had removed shares of Newell back on July 9, when the stock was trading at $16.16. We had recommended the shares briefly from the $19 level. The company will now have a 4.56% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $9.21. Back on Dec. 17 we warned investors that the dividend payout amount at that time appeared to be in jeopardy, and we got the tough news today about the dividend cut. The company does have technical support in the $8 price area, but we would remain on the sidelines until we see the shares stabilize.

Newell Rubbermaid is not recommended at this time, holding a Rating of 2.8 out of 5 stars.

Altria Reports In-Line Profit, Halts Share Buybacks

Shares of

Altria Group

(MO) - Get Report

are flat so far today, after the tobacco company reported profit fell to $679 million, or 33 cents a share, from year-earlier earnings of $2.19 billion, or $1.03 cents a share -- which included Philip Morris results before spin-off.

The company shipped 40.8 billion cigarettes in the fourth quarter, down 2.1% from a year earlier. The company's market share slipped to 50.4% from 50.7%.

Management decided to halt share buybacks as it was trying to maintain flexibility while completing financing for its UST, smokeless tobacco company acquisition. The company said it may resume the buybacks in 2010. Looking ahead, the tobacco giant sees 2009 EPS in a range of $1.70 to $1.75. The consensus estimates are for $1.75.

We recommended shares of Altria on Jan. 4, when the stock was trading at $15.20. The company has a 7.62% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $16.80. We like the stock at these levels, but we are aware of the headline risk the company has, and therefore we do not recommend being overly aggressive with the shares. That said, we still think it can play a role in one's portfolio at this current time.

Altria Group is a "Recommended" stock at this time, holding a Rating of 3.5 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 Visit for more dividend stock ratings, picks, news, and analysis for long-term and income-seeking investors.