Updated from 10:54 a.m. EDTShares of Sirva ( SIR) were among the NYSE's losers Wednesday, falling 24.5% after the company posted third-quarter earnings and sales that fell significantly below expectations. It also warned that 2004 and 2005 earnings would miss. Excluding items, the moving-services company earned 34 cents a share on sales of $710.7 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 53 cents a share on sales of $818.7 million. The company said that its insurance and European operations hampered its results during the quarter. Looking ahead, Sirva forecast 2004 earnings of 85 cents to 87 cents a share. It blamed the weak outlook on higher reserves for insurance claims and poor market conditions in Europe. Analysts had been expecting Sirva to earn $1.17 a share. For 2005, Sirva forecast a profit of $1.25 to $1.30 a share, which is below the $1.47 that analysts had been expecting. Shares traded down $5.83 to $17.95. La-Z-Boy ( LZB) slumped 3.3% after the company posted second-quarter earnings that fell below expectations. The furniture maker earned 17 cents a share on sales of $533.7 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 21 cents a share on sales of $527.9 million. Looking ahead, the company said it continues to face high energy and raw material costs, rising interest rates, and indifferent consumer confidence. As a result, La-Z-Boy forecast third-quarter earnings of 11 cents to 14 cents a share, which includes a restructuring charge of 1 cent a share and up to 3 cents a share from the consolidation of variable interest entities. Excluding items, the company could earn anywhere from 15 cents to 19 cents a share. Analysts, however, had been expecting earnings of 25 cents a share during the third quarter. Shares traded down 47 cents to $13.86. Shares of Wet Seal rose 3.9% after the company announced the resignation of CEO Peter Whitford, and a $50 million cash infusion by investors led by the Connecticut hedge fund SAC Capital. Joseph Deckop, who will serve as interim CEO, will replace Whitford. Shares traded up 7 cents to $1.86.
Aramark rose 7.6% after it posted fourth-quarter earnings results above expectations. Excluding items, the food service provider earned 47 cents a share on sales of $2.62 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of 46 cents a share on sales of $2.61 billion. Looking ahead, the company forecast first-quarter earnings of 36 cents to 38 cents a share on sales of $2.6 billion to $2.7 billion. For the full year, it expects earnings of $1.50 to $1.60 a share on sales of $10.7 billion to $11 billion. Forecasts for both periods are in line with analysts' expectations. Shares traded up $1.80 to $25.45. Shares of Blyth ( BTH) fell 5.8% after the company warned that third-quarter earnings results would fall below expectations. The company forecast earnings of 70 cents to 74 cents a share. Analysts had been expecting earnings of 86 cents a share. Blyth blamed the earnings shortfall on disappointing North American sales, which were affected by high gasoline prices, hurricanes and other items. Shares of the candle maker traded down $1.85 to $29.95. NYSE volume leaders included Lucent , up 9 cents to $3.76; Pfizer ( PFE), down 52 cents to $27.47; Merck ( MRK), up 41 cents to $26.41; Motorola , up 51 cents to $17.18; Time Warner ( TWX), down 1 cent to $17.03; and Nortel Networks , unchanged at $3.58. Nasdaq volume leaders included Cisco ( CSCO), down $1.31 to $18.44; Intel ( INTC), down 22 cents to $22.86; Microsoft ( MSFT), down 4 cents to $29.73; Sun Microsystems ( SUNW), down 13 cents to $4.60; and Oracle ( ORCL), up 3 cents to $13.38.