Updated from 11:18 a.m. ESTShares of Ethan Allen ( ETH) were among the NYSE's losers Wednesday, falling 4.5% after the company turned in second-quarter earnings and sales that missed Wall Street expectations. The furniture company earned $23.3 million, or 64 cents a share, on sales of $245.3 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 67 cents a share on sales of $250.7 million. A year ago it earned $24.4 million, or 64 cents a share, on sales of $241.2 million. The company said that additional costs of $1.1 million related to ramped-up distribution of its Ethan Allen direct-mail magazine dinged earnings by 2 cents a share during the quarter. Ethan Allen distributed over 11 million magazines during the second quarter, a jump of 33% over historical levels. As a result of the added distribution, retail division comparable-store-written sales increased 5.7%. Shares traded down $1.72 to $36.28. Maytag ( MYG) tumbled 10.4% after the company announced the departure of two high-level executives and said that it would no longer sell its Maytag-branded appliances at Best Buy ( BBY). William Beer, a 31-year veteran of Maytag, and Thomas Briatico, a 30-year veteran of the company, will leave Maytag on Jan. 31. Both men were named executive vice president in June 2004 and played pivotal roles Maytag's "One Company" restructuring initiative. The restructuring combined systems, facilities and personnel from Maytag Appliances, Hoover and Maytag's corporate office "to form a leaner, more efficient organizational structure," Maytag said. Maytag's decision to pull its Maytag-branded appliances had to do with poor sales of its white goods business at Best Buy. "We have a good business relationship with Best Buy. However, our white goods business with the specialty retailer has significantly declined over the years," Maytag said. "At this time, it does not make sense to continue selling our major appliances at Best Buy." Maytag's major appliance sales through Best Buy represented about 1% of Maytag's overall sales during 2004. Shares traded down $1.94 to $16.73. Shares of Northwest Airlines ( NWAC) fell 4.4% after the airline disappointed Wall Street with a wider loss. Excluding items, the company posted a loss of $359 million, or $4.14 a share, on sales of $2.75 billion. Analysts were expecting a loss of $3.96 a share on sales of $2.76 billion. The airline company said that heavy taxation and fees during the quarter continued to plague its results. During the fourth quarter, Northwest Airlines paid $278 million in transportation fees and taxes. The company says it will be working with Congress and the Bush administration in an effort to "minimize the impact of ticket taxes on our industry." Shares traded down 37 cents to $8.04.
Despite posting a 67% increase in fourth-quarter earnings and a 27% jump in sales, Fastenal ( FAST) fell Wednesday. The industrial supplies company earned $33.3 million, or 44 cents a share, on sales of $318.5 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 40 cents a share on sales of $318.3 million. A year ago Fastenal earned $19.9 million, or 26 cents a share, on sales of $251.6 million. Shares traded down $3.24 to $59.15. Shares of Amphenol ( APH) rose 5.3% after the company posted fourth-quarter earnings and sales results that beat expectations. The maker of electronic connectors earned $45.6 million, or 51 cents a share, on sales of $404 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 49 cents a share on sales of $393.7 million. Looking ahead, and assuming a continuation of the current economic climate and stable currency exchange rates, the company expects earnings to grow by 18% to 23% during 2005; sales are expected to grow by 9% to 12%. Analysts had been expecting earnings of $2.12 a share, or earnings growth of 16.5%, on sales of $1.67 billion, or growth of about 9%. Finally, Amphenol declared a 3-cent dividend -- its first ever -- that will be paid to shareholders of record as of March 15. Shares traded up $1.85 to $36.96. NYSE volume leaders included Lucent ( LU), down 28 cents to $3.42; Motorola ( MOT), down $1.23 to $16.20; Pfizer ( PFE), down 42 cents to $24.88; Nortel ( NT), down 14 cents to $3.10; and EMC ( EMC), down 54 cents to $13.36. Nasdaq volume leaders included Sirius Satellite Radio ( SIRI), down 43 cents to $5.81; Aastrom Biosciences ( ASTM), up 70 cents to $4.05; Cisco ( CSCO), down 59 cents to $18.15; Intel ( INTC), down 34 cents to $22.60; Sun Microsystems ( SUNW), down 28 cents to $4.17; and Microsoft ( MSFT), down 34 cents to $25.98.