Shares of Laidlaw International ( LI were among the NYSE's winners Thursday, rising 9.6% after the transportation company, which operates Greyhound Lines, posted second-quarter earnings that were ahead of expectations. The company posted earnings from continuing operations of $20.7 million, or 20 cents a share on sales of $763.7 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected earnings of 10 cents a share. A year ago the company posted earnings from continuing operations of $3.8 million, or 4 cents a share, on sales of $761.6 million. The quarter benefited from improved margins, better weather and favorable insurance and claims costs. Shares traded up $2 to $22.94. Harrah's Entertainment ( HET rose 8.7% after the casino operator said that first-quarter earnings would be better than expected. The company expects to post adjusted earnings of 95 cents to 99 cents a share, well ahead of the 83 cents that analysts had been expecting. A year ago the company earned 76 cents a share. The company's Horseshoe gaming portfolio, which was acquired in July 2004, will add about 7 cents to 8 cents a share to first-quarter results, the company said. Harrah's said strong organic growth continued during the first quarter and predicted that same-store sales growth would come in at around 6%. Shares traded up $5.51 to $69.07. Shares of West Marine ( WMAR fell modestly after the boating supplies retailer warned that its first-quarter loss would be wider than expected. Excluding items, the company expects to post a loss of 24 cents to 25 cents a share. Analysts had been expecting a smaller loss of 19 cents a share. A year ago the company posted a loss of 15 cents a share. West Marine also posted sales of $125.6 million, below last year's sales total of $129.2 million, and below the $129.6 million that analysts had been expecting. Same-store sales dropped 6.6% during the quarter compared to a year ago when the company posted a same-store sales gain of 10.2%. The most recent results were hurt by bad weather, which delayed seasonal boat preparation activity, the company said. Shares traded down 13 cents to $21.03.
Cache ( CACH fell 11.7% after the women's clothing retailer cut its first-quarter earnings outlook. The company now expects earnings of 10 cents to 11 cents a share, down from previous guidance of 21 cents to 23 cents a share. Analysts had been expecting earnings of 22 cents a share. The company posted sales of $62.9 million. Analysts had been expecting sales of $65.7 million. Results were hurt by weaker-than-expected March sales. The company posted flat comp-store sales, which was below the company's guidance of a mid single digit increase. Looking ahead, Cache forecast second-quarter earnings of 20 cents to 22 cents a share on sales of $65 million to $67 million, below Wall Street expectations of 32 cents a share on sales of $72.4 million. Shares traded down $1.60 to $12.06. Shares of Nordson ( NDSN - Get Report) fell 5.6% after the company trimmed its second-quarter sales forecast. The company now expects sales growth of 4% to 6%, down from an earlier forecast of 6%. Sales volume is expected to be up 1% to 3%, with the rest of the expected increase coming from favorable currency translation. Earnings expectations for the second quarter will be affected by the gross margin impact of the sales revision, the company said. Softness in Japanese and European order activity within the company's adhesive business segment led to the sales revision. Shares traded down $2.01 to $34.18. NYSE volume leaders included Pfizer ( PFE, up 4 cents to $26.90; Lucent Technologies ( LU, up 7 cents to $2.68; Wal-Mart ( WMT, down 60 cents to $48.90; Sprint ( FON, up 51 cents to $23.73; Rite Aid ( RAD, up 24 cents to $4.01; and Merck ( MRK, up 60 cents to $33.49. Nasdaq volume leaders included Microsoft ( MSFT - Get Report), up 43 cents to $25.10; Intel ( INTC, up 36 cents to $23.41; Cisco Systems ( CSCO, up 38 cents to $18.15; Siebel Systems ( SEBL, up 43 cents to $8.69; and Oracle ( ORCL, up 7 cents to $12.45.