Evening Update: The Earnings Parade Continues

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With the market's close,

Pepsico

(PEP:NYSE) finally popped open its plans to get out of the restaurant business. It confirmed that it will pursue a plan to spin off its restaurant subsidiaries, which includes Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. While Pepsico said it hadn't finalized details of the transaction or the structure of the new company, it added that it doesn't plan to assign existing debt to the new company. It also said it is examining the sale of its food systems unit.

Cascade Communications

' (CSCC:Nasdaq) fourth-quarter earnings, announced after the close, beat

First Call

estimates by a penny but apparently didn't satisfy investors. Traders were selling off the stock in an after-hours scramble. Shares fell sharply, with bids being made at 54 by 4:45 p.m., with modest upward bias.

Meanwhile,

Gateway 2000

(GATE:Nasdaq) said its fourth-quarter earnings rose to $1.12 a share from 74 cents in the year-earlier period, but it also noted that its sees flat profit margins this year. And it said its goal is to post net income equal to 5% of revenue. First Call estimates had pegged the number at $1.01.

Silicon Graphics

(SGI:NYSE) posted a second-quarter loss of seven cents a share, including charges, vs. net income of 30 cents a share a year ago. Excluding the charge, the company earned one cent in the most recent quarter. That's a penny better than the First Call estimate. It said the quarter's shipments didn't meet its expectations.

Shiva

(SHVA:Nasdaq) posted fourth-quarter net income of five cents a share, down sharply from 15 cents a share a year ago and a penny under the First Call estimate. The most recent quarter's results were at the low end of what Shiva told investors on Jan. 7 to expect.

Two steel companies reported fourth quarter earnings.

National Steel

(NS:NYSE), the nation's fifth biggest steelmaker which has suffered recently from internal turmoil, said its net income in the period climbed to 52 cents a share from 28 cents a share a year ago. That number easily beat the First Call estimate of 31 cents a share. The much-smaller

Weirton Steel

(WS:NYSE) posted a loss of 29 cents, compared with net income of seven cents a share in the year-earlier period. The figure was just a hair below analysts' projection of a 30 cent lost.

North Face

(TNFI:Nasdaq) said it earned 12 cents a share, more than double the year-ago's five cents and beating the First Call estimate of 9 cents.

Ralston Purina

(RAL:NYSE) earned $1.32 a share in its first quarter, compared with $1.23 a share in the year-earlier period. That number beat the $1.27 First Call estimate.

National Standard's

(NSD:NYSE) first quarter earnings slid to 14 cents from 81 cents, but the year-ago period included a gain of 66 cents.

By Erle Norton

enorton@thestreet.com