Sysco Misses Revenue Expectations; Shares Hold Steady

Shares of

Sysco Foods

(SYY) - Get Report

are up nearly 5%, despite the company seeing a 10% drop in second-quarter profit to $237.7 million, or 40 cents a share, compared with $264.1 million, or 43 cents a share, a year earlier.

The food distributor reported revenue of $9.15 billion for the quarter, which came in below analyst expectations of $9.21 billion. Management reported food costs rose by about 7% in the second quarter, while expenses related to life insurance and pension matters contributed to an increase of about $9.5 million in operating expenses.

We removed shares of Sysco from our "Recommended" list back on Oct. 6, when the stock traded at $29.72. The company has a 4.31% dividend yield, based on Friday's closing stock price of $22.29.

The stock has long-term technical support in the $19 to $20 area on the downside and overhead resistance of $30 to $32 on the upside. We would remain on the sidelines for now.

Sysco Foods is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars.

Corn Products Slashes 2009 Outlook on Higher Corn Costs and Dollar Concerns

Corn Products International

(CPO)

reported fourth-quarter earnings that were flat compared to last year, but substantially reduced its 2009 full-year profit outlook.

For the fourth quarter, the company reported earnings of $46.4 million, or 61 cents per share. A year ago, the company's earnings came in at $46.1 million, or 61 cents per share. Analysts had been expecting earnings, on average, of 64 cents per share.

The company, which manufactures a wide variety of corn-based products for industrial and commercial users, also cut its 2009 earnings outlook. Corn Products now anticipates full-year earnings of $2.10 to $2.60 per share, compared with analyst estimates of $3.14 per share.

The company cited a strengthening dollar, lower co-products credits and uncertainty over pricing and volume for the lowered outlook.

We removed Corn Products from our "Recommended" list back on Sept. 2, when the shares were trading at $42.91. The company has a 2.42% dividend yield, based on Friday's closing stock price of $23.15.

The stock has technical support in the $12 to $14 price area. If the shares can rebound, we see overhead resistance around the $27 to $30 level. We would remain on the sidelines for now.

Corn Products is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.1 out of 5 stars.

Humana Stock Jumps, Despite Drop in Fourth-Quarter Profit

Shares of health benefits company

Humana

(HUM) - Get Report

are up nearly 10% in early afternoon trading Monday, fueled by the company's optimistic 2009 outlook.

Humana said in its earnings report Monday morning that its fourth-quarter profit dropped 28% from the year-ago period. Humana earned almost $174.1 million, or $1.03 per share, during the fourth quarter 2008, compared with $243.2 million, or $1.43 per share, during the same period in 2007. The company cited higher claim expenses, lower investment income, and a loss in its commercial business for the profit decline.

Analysts had been expecting fourth-quarter earnings of $1.07 per share, on average.

For the full-year 2008, Humana said its net income reached $647.2 million, which is down 22% from the $833.7 million the company earned in 2007. Revenue, however, was up 14.5% to $28.9 billion in 2008.

In contrast to its 2008 results, Humana was extremely optimistic in its 2009 guidance. The company said it expects earnings-per-share numbers between $5.90 and $6.10 for 2009 -- significantly higher than the full-year EPS of $3.83 it delivered in 2008.

Shares of Humana have technical support at the $29 level. If that level fails to hold, we could see the $22 to $24 levels. If the shares can continue its recent bounce, we see overhead resistance at the $49 to $51 level. We do not currently rate this non-dividend paying stock, but we do follow the stock as a gauge for health care services industry.

Humana does not currently pay a dividend.

Mattel Shares Hit Hard After Poor Fourth-Quarter Results, Large Inventory Builds

Mattel

(MAT) - Get Report

shares are down over 15% so far this morning after the company's fourth-quarter profits fell to $176.4 million, or 49 cents a share, from $328.5 million, or 89 cents a share, a year earlier.

The company missed EPS estimates by 22 cents after reporting overall sales dropped 11% to $1.94 billion. The company cited consumers buying fewer toys in the weeks leading up to the holiday season, as well as the effects from a stronger dollar.

A big issue that is also popping up is the level of inventory the company has, up 13.3% from a year ago to $485.9 million.

We removed shares of Mattel from our "Recommended" list on Oct. 6, when the stock traded at $17.53. The company has a 5.29% dividend yield, based on Friday's closing stock price of $14.19. The next are of technical support for the shares are in the $9.50 to $10 price area.

If the shares can rebound, we see overhead resistance in the $16.50 to $17.00 price range. We would look elsewhere for better investment opportunities.

Mattel is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.2 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.