Updated from 11:49 a.m. Shares of Shaw Group ( SGR) were among the NYSE's winners Friday, rising 6.6% after the company swung to a first-quarter profit that easily beat expectations. The engineering and construction services company earned $10.8 million, or 17 cents a share, on sales of $828.1 million. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 14 cents a share on sales of $762.5 million. A year ago the company posted a loss of $49.6 million, or $1.07 a share, on sales of $646.9 million. Shares traded up $1.03 to $16.57. ScanSource ( SCSC) rose 7.3% after the company said its second-quarter sales results would be better than expected. The company, which provides bar code scanner systems, said it expects to post sales of $363 million to $371 million. Analysts had been expecting sales of $356.9 million. A year ago ScanSource posted sales of $289 million. Full financial results will be released on Jan. 27. Shares traded up $4.40 to $64.35. Shares of Blyth ( BTH) rose 10.9% after the company raised its 2005 and 2006 earnings above analysts' expectations. The make of home fragrances and candles expects 2005 earnings of $2.13 to $2.18 a share. Analysts had been expecting earnings of $2.07 a share. For 2006, it expects earnings of $2.35 to $2.40 a share, ahead of the $2.24-a-share analysts had been expecting. Blyth said that sales trends in North America remain soft, while sales in Europe continue to be strong. Shares traded up $3.04 to $30.96. Darden Restaurants ( DRI) rose 3.7% after the operator of Red Lobster and Olive Garden posted a 14% gain in same-store sales for December. Traffic was up 12% to 13% at Olive Garden during December, while traffic at Red Lobster climbed 11% to 12%. A year ago Olive Garden posted a same-store sales increase of 3% to 4%; Red Lobster posted a same-store sales decline of 12% to 13% a year ago. Darden said a holiday shift added about 5 percentage points to the growth of both restaurants during December, as Thanksgiving moved from last year's fiscal December 2004 period and into fiscal November 2005 this time around. Shares traded up $1 to $28.37.
Shares of Taser International ( TASR) fell 17.7% after the company said it's being informally probed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The stun-gun maker said the SEC is seeking information pertaining to the safety of its products and a recent order received from avidson's, a Taser distributor. "We are confident our statements are supported by the safety studies of our products," the company said. As for Davidson's, which has been a Taser distributor since 1999, its "most recent order was received and shipped in the normal course of business in the fourth quarter of 2004," Taser said. Shares traded down $4.90 to $22.70. NYSE volume leaders included Lucent ( LU), down 7 cents to $3.50; Sprint ( FON), down 21 cents to $24.24; Pfizer ( PFE), up 1 cent to $26.30; Nortel ( NT), down 3 cents to $3.34; Nokia ( NOK), down 32 cents to $15.25; Qwest ( Q), up 9 cents to $4.52; Advanced Micro Devices ( AMD), up 20 cents to $19.92; and General Electric ( GE), down 22 cents to $36. Nasdaq volume leaders included Sirius Satellite Radio ( SIRI), down 39 cents to $7.10; Intel ( INTC), up 34 cents to $22.80; Microsoft ( MSFT), down 8 cents to $26.67; Cisco ( CSCO), down 13 cents to $18.72; Sun Microsystems ( SUNW), up 2 cents to $4.62; Oracle ( ORCL), up 11 cents to $13.33; and Symantec ( SYMC), up 61 cents to $23.79.