Stocks in Motion: LeapFrog

Updated from 12:13 p.m.

Shares of LeapFrog Enterprises ( LF) were among the NYSE's losers Wednesday, falling 10% after the company posted a fourth-quarter loss, cut about 180 jobs in an attempt to restore profitability, and announced a management shuffle.

The toymaker posted a loss of $9 million, or 15 cents a share, on sales of $255.3 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting the company to post a profit of 18 cents a share on sales of $288.8 million. A year earlier the company posted earnings of $44.2 million, or 72 cents a share, on sales of $331.4 million. LeapFrog said that operational issues and increased operating costs, which were compounded by a lack of retailer reorders during the company's critical Thanksgiving period, led to a difficult year.

As for the job cuts, which took place in early February, the company said they are part of its realignment plan to restore profitability, and strengthen its infrastructure and business processes.

Finally, LeapFrog said that Fred Forsyth, its chief operating officer, has resigned and that it is in the process of hiring a new supply chain expert. LeapFrog also announced the hiring of Rob Moon as chief information officer. Shares traded down $1.21 to $10.90.

Ultimate Electronics ( ULTEQ) fell 42.9% after the company, which filed for bankruptcy protection in January, posted poor fourth-quarter sales, announced the departure of its CEO, and warned that its common shares would likely be worthless as a result of the bankruptcy filing.

The consumer electronics retailer posted fourth-quarter sales of $195.9 million, well below the $217.2 million that analysts were expecting. Comparable-store sales, meanwhile, fell by about 19%. A year ago the company posted sales of $243.2 million. Ultimate Electronics said that Mark Wattles, who most recently served as the company's chairman, would replace CEO David Workman. Seven other individuals who have previous experience working with Wattles will join Wattles' management team later this week.

Aside from the management changes and fourth-quarter sales, Ultimate also announced final approval for its $118.5 million debtor-in-possession financing. The company said that based on testimony at the DIP financing hearing "it appears unlikely that the outcome of the company's reorganization will result in any value for the holders for our common stock." Shares traded down 84 cents to $1.12.

Shares of Brady ( BRC) rose 14.1% after the label and sign maker posted fourth-quarter earnings and sales that beat expectations and raised its 2005 financial guidance. The company earned $20.6 million, or 41 cents a share, on sales of $196.2 million during the fourth quarter. Analysts were expecting earnings of 30 cents a share on sales of $190 million.

Looking ahead, Brady now expects 2005 earnings of $1.55 to $1.60 a share on sales of $790 million to $810 million, up from previous guidance of $1.35 to $1.41 a share in earnings on sales of $780 million to $800 million. Analysts had been expecting earnings of $1.42 a share on sales of $798.3 million. Shares traded up $4.01 to $32.47.

Monarch Casino & Resort ( MCRI) rose 4.1% after the casino operator posted fourth-quarter earnings and sales that were ahead of expectations. The company earned $3.9 million, or 41 cents a share, on sales of $31.2 million. One analyst polled by Thomson First Call was expecting earnings of 36 cents a share on sales of $29.5 million. In January, Monarch said that it would post earnings of 36 cents a share on sales of $31 million. A year ago the company earned $1.8 million, or 19 cents a share, on sales of $28.3 million.

The company said that it continues to benefit from strong local population growth, especially in south Reno, Nevada, and increased bookings at the Reno-Sparks convention center, which is located next door to Monarch's Atlantis Casino Resort. Shares traded up $1.58 to $40.21.

Shares of Yankee Candle ( YCC) fell 12.4% after the candle maker posted fourth-quarter earnings and sales that disappointed Wall Street. The company earned $48 million, or $1 a share, on sales of $218.9 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of $1.05 a share on sales of $234.7 million. A year ago Yankee earned $44.9 million, or 88 cents a share, on sales of $205.1 million.

Looking ahead, Yankee Candle forecast first-quarter earnings growth of 10% to 14% on sales growth of 8% to 11%. A year ago the company earned 21 cents a share on sales of $106.5 million. Analysts are expecting first-quarter earnings of 25 cents a share. Shares traded down $4.17 to $29.60.

NYSE volume leaders included Pfizer ( PFE), down 27 cents to $24.95; Lucent ( LU), down 5 cents to $3.34; ExxonMobil ( XOM), up $1.56 to $58.48; Qwest ( Q), down 7 cents to $3.97; Coca-Cola ( KO), up 65 cents to $43.30; and Motorola ( MOT), down 27 cents to $15.73.

Nasdaq volume leaders included Intel ( INTC), down 33 cents to $24.14; JDS Uniphase ( JDSU), down 11 cents to $1.91; Applied Materials ( AMAT), up 1 cent to $17.50; Cisco ( CSCO), down 21 cents to $17.71; and Microsoft ( MSFT), down 14 cents to $25.79.

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