Updated from 11:28 a.m. EDTShares of Walgreen ( WAG) were among the NYSE's winners Monday, rising 5.2% after the company posted first-quarter results that topped expectations. Excluding items, the retail chain earned $323.2 million, or 31 cents a share, on sales of $9.9 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 29 cents a share on sales of $9.89 billion. A year ago, the company earned $254.9 million, or 25 cents a share, on sales of $8.72 billion. Walgreen said that prescription sales, which accounted for 65% of sales during the quarter, and general merchandise sales led to the strong quarterly earnings. Shares traded up $2.01 to $40.38. TiVo ( TIVO) rose 4.3% after the company previewed a service that lets subscribers transfer television programs from their TiVo box to a laptop. The service is available at no extra charge. TiVo said content that is copy protected, including pay-per-view, video-on-demand and commercial DVDs, will not be transferable to a laptop. Shares traded up 25 cents to $6.12. Shares of Marsh & McLennan ( MMC) traded actively Monday after Banc of America Securities raised the stock to buy. The firm said investors are worrying too much about the insurance scandal, arguing that much of the lost business will be recouped through higher upfront commissions and other fees. Looking ahead, Banc of America raised its 2006 earnings estimates on the company to $2.60 a share from $2.45 a share. The firm also raised its price target on the stock to $39 a share from $29 a share. Shares ended the day unchanged at $32.90. Kmart ( KMRT) rose 1.2% after the company reported a 10% improvement in earnings for November and December. The company posted a profit of $250 million on a same-store sales decline of 4.6%. For December, Kmart posted a same-store sales decline of 2.6%. The company, which reported a 12.8% same-store sales decline during the third quarter, said it was pleased with its latest results. "We are pleased with the significant improvement in the rate of our same-store sales decline," it said. "We are implementing numerous initiatives to grow sales and increase profits in 2005." Shares of Kmart traded up $1.15 to $100.10.
Shares of Six Flags ( PKS) rose 4.7% after Lehman Brothers raised its rating on the stock to overweight from equal weight. Lehman also raised its price target to $7 a share from $4. The firm said new attractions and rides in 13 of the company's 18 U.S. theme parks, coupled with Six Flags' attendance outlook, gives shares a favorable risk/reward profile. Lehman also raised its 2005 estimate for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to $300 million from $275 million, citing a strong capital spending program by the company, improved consumer confidence, a recovery in destination theme parks in 2004, and easier national weather comparisons in spring 2005. Shares traded up 25 cents to $5.62. NYSE volume leaders included Pfizer ( PFE), down 44 cents to $26.45; Lucent ( LU), up 2 cents to $3.78; General Electric ( GE), up 9 cents to $36.59; Merck ( MRK), down 88 cents to $31.26; Nortel ( NT), up 8 cents to $3.55; and Wal-Mart ( WMT), up 53 cents to $53.35. Nasdaq volume leaders included Sirius Satellite Radio ( SIRI), down 14 cents to $7.48; Sun Microsystems ( SUNW), down 28 cents to $5.11; Biopure ( BPUR), up 10 cents to 69 cents; Intel ( INTC), down 32 cents to $23.07; Microsoft ( MSFT), up 2 cents to $26.74; Oracle ( ORCL), down 31 cents to $13.41; and Cisco ( CSCO), unchanged at $19.32.