Stocks in Motion: Conn's

Updated from 11:23 a.m. EDT

Shares of United Natural Foods ( UNFI) were among the Nasdaq's winners Tuesday, rising 1.2% after the company posted third-quarter results that beat expectations and raised its full-year sales forecast.

Excluding items, the natural foods distributor earned $10.8 million, or 26 cents a share, on sales of $534.3 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 25 cents a share on sales of $527.5 million. A year ago, the company earned $8.6 million, or 21 cents a share, on sales of $448.9 million. Looking ahead, United Natural Foods now expects full-year sales of $2 billion to $2.05 billion, up from previous guidance of $1.9 billion to $2 billion. Analysts are expecting sales of $2.02 billion. Shares traded up 39 cents to $34.39.

Conn's ( CONN) shares rose 0.8% after the company posted first-quarter earnings that were better than expected. The retailer posted earnings of $9.8 million, or 41 cents a share, on sales of $158.2 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 38 cents a share on sales of $149.7 million. A year ago, the company earned $7.8 million, or 33 cents a share, on sales of $134.9 million. Looking ahead, Conn's reiterated its full-year earnings outlook, saying that it believes that earnings in the range of $1.40 to $1.46 a share is achievable. Analysts are expecting earnings of $1.46 a share. Shares traded up 15 cents to $19.09.

Shares of Vitran ( VTNC) rose 7.8% after the company said it would acquire Chris Truck Line for $29.3 million in cash and stock. The company said that Chris Truck Line shareholders would receive $26.5 million in cash and $2.8 million in stock. Looking ahead, Vitran now expects 2005 earnings of $1.35 to $1.47 a share, up from previous guidance of $1.23 to $1.35 a share. Analysts are expecting earnings of $1.30 a share. Shares traded up $1.10 to $15.13.

Calpine ( CPN) rose 10.4% after the company said it agreed to sell its Saltend Energy Center for $925 million. The deal calls for a purchase price of $906 million, plus adjustments for working capital of about $19 million. Calpine is selling the British power plant to Britain's International Power and Japan's Mitsui & Co. The Saltend power plant was originally bought by Calpine in August 2001 for $810 million. Proceeds from the sale will be used to redeem two series of redeemable preferred shares for about $620 million. Shares traded up 28 cents to $2.98.

Shares of US Xpress Enterprises ( XPRSA) rose 11% after the company announced the sale of its airport-to-airport operations. As part of the deal, US Xpress will turn over its customer list and a noncompete agreement to Forward Air ( FWRD) in exchange for about $12.8 million in cash. US Xpress expects to record a pretax charge of about $2 million to $3.5 million. The company's airport-to-airport operations generated about $57 million in sales for the year ended Dec. 31, 2004. US Xpress plans to use the proceeds from the sale to pay outstanding debt. Shares traded up $1.21 to $12.21.

NYSE volume leaders included Sprint ( FON), up 43 cents to $23.69; Pfizer ( PFE), down 45 cents to $27.90; Lucent Technologies ( LU), down 2 cents to $2.81; Exxon Mobil ( XOM), down 60 cents to $56.20; General Electric ( GE), down 40 cents to $36.48; and American International Group ( AIG), down 85 cents to $55.55.

Nasdaq volume leaders included Intel ( INTC), down 43 cents to $26.96; Cisco Systems ( CSCO), down 39 cents to $19.40; Sirius Satellite Radio ( SIRI), up 4 cents to $6.01; Microsoft ( MSFT), down 27 cents to $25.80; Oracle ( ORCL), down 5 cents to $12.80; Applied Materials ( AMAT), down 23 cents to $16.42; Sun Microsystems ( SUNW), down 6 cents to $3.81; Google ( GOOG), up $11.27 to $277.27; and Tibco Software ( TIBX), up 1 cent to $6.34.

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