Stocks in Motion: AutoNation

Updated from 11:19 a.m. EDT

The swooning software sector has grabbed headlines this week, but Friday's market action showed that some old economy companies are stumbling too.

Shares of AutoNation ( AN) were among the New York Stock Exchange laggards Friday after the auto retailer warned of soft second-quarter earnings.

Citing weaker-than-expected sales of Ford ( F) and General Motors ( GM) vehicles, the company now expects to earn 34 cents to 35 cents a share. That's down from its previous guidance of 38 cents to 40 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had expected AutoNation to earn 40 cents a share. The company also trimmed its full-year earnings outlook to a range of $1.35 to $1.40 a share, well short of the $1.44 a share analyst consensus.

Shares of AutoNation traded down 34 cents, or 2.1%, to $15.92.

Meanwhile, Arch Coal ( ACI) slumped after the coal producer warned that second-quarter earnings would fall short of expectations. It now expects to earn 20 cents a share, well short of previous guidance of 20 cents to 30 cents a share. Arch blamed rail service disruptions and production curtailments due to high mine inventory levels. The St. Louis-based company is working with the railroads to improve rail service during the second half of the year. Shares of Arch Coal traded down $1.95, or 5.4%, to $34.47.

The news wasn't all bad, though. Shares of Laidlaw International ( LI) rose after the company posted strong third-quarter earnings. The bus operator earned 33 cents a share, which is far ahead of the 24-cent estimate, while sales met expectations at $1.24 billion. Laidlaw said the strong results reflected the improved performance of its Greyhound Lines subsidiary. Shares of Laidlaw traded up $2.47, or 20.6%, to $14.48.

Dana ( DCN) rose after the auto parts maker agreed to sell its automotive aftermarket business to the Cypress Group for about $1.1 billion in cash. Dana said that it plans to use the proceeds to reinvest in its core businesses, contribute to its pension plans and to reduce debt. Dana is selling 52 facilities employing about 13,000 workers. Combined annual sales of these operations were about $2 billion in 2003. Shares of Dana traded up 74 cents, or 4%, to $19.16.

Equity Marketing ( EMAK) fell after the marketing services firm warned that it would report a second-quarter loss instead of a profit. It now expects to report a loss of 10 cents to 12 cents a share on sales of between $50 million and $51 million. It had said previously it would report a profit of 2 cents to 8 cents a share on sales of $53 million to $58 million, and analysts had expected it to earn 6 cents a share on sales of $55 million. The company attributed the shortfall to a number of programs being pushed out into the third and fourth quarter and to lower gross margins due to deferred shipments. Shares of Equity Marketing traded down $1.16, or 8.8%, to $12.

NYSE volume leaders included General Electric ( GE), up 47 cents to $32.17; Lucent ( LU), unchanged at $3.46; Nortel Networks ( NT), up 2 cents to $4.37; TXU ( TXU), down $1.68 to $38.77; and Texas Instruments ( TXN), up 51 cents to $22.80.

Nasdaq volume leaders included Microsoft ( MSFT), up 22 cents to $27.86; Oracle ( ORCL), up 11 cents to $11.03; Intel ( INTC), up 35 cents to $26.57; Sirius Satellite Radio ( SIRI), up 1 cent to $2.79; and Cisco ( CSCO), up 19 cents to $22.36.

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