Stocks in Motion: EZCorp

Updated from 11:52 a.m. EDT

Shares of General Cable ( BGC) were among the NYSE's big winners Wednesday after the company reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings and sales.

Excluding items, General Cable reported a profit of 9 cents a share on sales of $517.5 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had expected it to earn 8 cents a share on sales of $431.7 million. Though the company faced inflationary pressures during the second quarter, it said it was able to pass along price increases that allowed it to report solid earnings compared with those in the first quarter of the year.

Looking ahead, it said that it expects to post a third-quarter profit at or slightly above second-quarter results. Analysts are expecting it to earn 12 cents a share during the third quarter. Shares of the cable products maker traded up 85 cents, or 10.3%, to $9.12.

United Rentals ( URI) rose after it reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings and raised full-year guidance. Excluding items, it earned 42 cents a share on sales of $776 million. Analysts had expected it to earn 35 cents a share on sales of $777.5 million. The company said that strong performance in its general rentals segment and a substantial reduction in interest expense led to the strong quarterly results. Looking ahead, it now expects to earn $1.20 a share, up from its earlier guidance of $1 to $1.10 a share and above consensus estimates of $1.10 a share. Shares of United Rentals traded up 46 cents, or 2.4%, to $19.45.

Shares of Johnson Controls ( JCI) rose after an analyst at Robert W. Baird upgraded the shares to outperform from neutral. After raising its price target to $64, Baird said it would be a buyer of the stock up to $60. On Tuesday Johnson Controls reported a third-quarter profit of $1.15 a share on sales of $6.8 billion. Analysts had expected it to earn $1.15 a share on sales of $6.54 billion. Shares of Johnson Controls traded up $2.76, or 5.2%, to $56.31.

EZCorp ( EZPW) fell after it reported weak third-quarter earnings and sales and warned that full-year earnings would fall short of expectations. The payday loan company earned 2 cents a share on sales of $51.1 million during the third quarter vs. analysts' expectations of 9 cents a share on sales of $51.9 million. Looking ahead, it said that it would earn 65 cents to 68 cents a share for the full year vs. analysts' expectations of 75 cents a share. Shares of EZCorp traded down $1.74, or 18.5%, to $7.66.

Shares of Eastman Kodak ( EK) rose after the company reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings and raised its full-year earnings outlook. Excluding items, the company earned 88 cents a share on sales of $3.47 billion. Analysts had expected it to earn 59 cents a share on sales of $3.49 billion. Looking ahead, it now expects to post a full-year profit of between $2.39 a share and $2.69 a share, up from its previous guidance of $2.15 to $2.45 a share. Analysts had expected it to earn $2.20 a share. Kodak also said it would accelerate its previously announced cost-cutting program by cutting another 800 to 1,300 jobs during the second half of the year. Shares of Eastman Kodak traded up $2.25, or 9.1%, to $27.05.

NYSE volume leaders included Lucent ( LU), down 3 cents to $3.37; Motorola ( MOT), down $1.22 to $14.87; Nortel Networks ( NT), up 3 cents to $4.31; Texas Instruments ( TXN), down $1.13 to $20.63; and EMC ( EMC), down 11 cents to $10.75.

Nasdaq volume leaders included Microsoft ( MSFT), up 54 cents to $28.86; Sun Microsystems ( SUNW), down 32 cents to $3.79; Intel ( INTC), down 68 cents to $22.56; Oracle ( ORCL), down 15 cents to $10.35; and Sirius Satellite Radio ( SIRI), down 15 cents to $2.46.

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