Lorillard Fourth-Quarter Profit Is Smoking

Tobacco-maker

Lorillard

(LO)

shares are up more than 3% in early trading, after the maker of Newport cigarettes reported fourth-quarter profit rose to $258 million, or $1.53 per share, from $213 million, or $1.23 per share, a year earlier.

The company said revenue rose 14% to $1.09 billion from $957 million a year ago on higher prices and volume.

The company shipped 9.43 billion cigarettes, up 8.2% from a year earlier, as the company's lower-priced offerings are attracting cash-strapped smokers.

We removed shares of Lorillard from our "Recommended" list back on Oct. 6, when they traded at $66.83. The company has a 5.91% dividend yield, based on Friday's closing stock price of $62.26. Investors still need to be aware of potential FDA tobacco regulation that if passed, can result in an adverse reaction to shares. We would remain on the sidelines.

Lorillard is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars.

Rohm & Haas Fourth-Quarter Profit Plummets 82%, Dow Chemical Deal Uncertain

Shares of

Rohm & Haas

(ROH)

are down about 2% in early trading, after the chemical maker reported fourth-quarter profit sank 82% to $32 million, or 17 cents per share, compared with $180 million, or 91 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

The company said sales fell 13% to $2.03 billion from $2.34 billion as the company felt the effect from several charges and a weakening economic environment.

The company is locked in a legal battle with

Dow Chemical

(DOW) - Get Report

, who was scheduled to acquire Rohm & Haas for $15.3 billion, but the deal was put on hold after a Kuwaiti company backed out of a $17.4 billion joint venture, impacting the deal from closing.

We removed shares of Rohm & Haas back on Sept. 15, when the stock traded at $74.41. We had them on the list since July 10 at $44.83. We felt the risk/reward made it wise to take the name off the table with little upside to be seen from that level.

At this point, it's a coin-toss as to what may happen with Dow Chemical. We'll watch it closely and keep investors posted of any potential opportunity.

The company has a 2.90% dividend yield, based on Friday's closing stock price of $56.50. If the deal does not happen, we could see shares perhaps test the $44 support level. We would look remain on the sidelines for now.

Rohm & Haas is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com rating of 3.2 out of 5 stars.

McDonald's Delivers Solid January Sales

Shares of

McDonald's

(MCD) - Get Report

opened slightly higher this morning, after the company said January global same-store sales are up 7.1%.

The company reported same-store sales in the U.S. grew 5.4% on the strength of McDonald's core menu and breakfast items. Sales in its Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa segment rose 10.2% due to strong growth in Australia, China and other countries.

McDonald's had been performing well in 2008, but has also benefited in recent months from consumers turning to lower-priced fare during the recession.

We have been recommending shares of McDonald's since June 9, when the stock was trading at $56.95. The company has a dividend yield of 3.42%, based on Friday's closing stock price of $58.46. The company has been a steady performer throughout the swoon the market has experienced. We like how the shares have performed so far on our "Recommended" list and would still hold the shares here.

McDonald's is a "Recommended" stock at this time, holding a Dividend.com rating of 3.6 out of 5 stars.

NYSE Euronext Posts $1.34 Billion Fourth-Quarter Loss, Provides No Guidance for 2009

Shares of

NYSE Euronext

(NYX)

are down 6% in early trading as the stock exchange operator reported a fourth-quarter loss of $1.34 billion, or $5.06 per share, compared to a profit of $156 million, or 59 cents per share, during the same quarter a year earlier.

The company said it would have recorded a profit had it not been for the $1.59 billion write-down on goodwill left over from its 2007 acquisition of European exchange Euronext.

The company said revenue rose to $1.22 billion from $1.1 billion during the same quarter a year earlier, as NYSE's matched volume of NYSE-listed stocks fell to 43% during the fourth quarter, from 54.3% during the year-ago period. The company's derivatives trading revenue, which represents a large part of NYSE Euronext's net sales, fell during the quarter as its European derivatives division saw a decline in revenue.

Management did not provide 2009 guidance, but did say it will halt share repurchases, but maintain its 30 cents per-share quarterly dividend.

We had removed shares of NYX from our "Recommended" list on Jan. 20, when they traded at $22.23. The stock was on the list at the price of $27.53. The company has a 5.24% dividend yield, based on Friday's closing stock price of $22.90.

The stock has technical support at the $14 to $17 price levels. If the shares can rebound, we see overhead resistance around the $29 to $30 levels. We are watching the stock closely as it is a name we liked a lot before the deletion from our favorites list.

NYSE Euronext is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com rating of 3.4 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.