Shares of Conn's ( CONN) were among the Nasdaq's winners Monday, rising 7% after the retailer said its results would not be hurt by Hurricane Rita. As of Sunday, 50 of the company's 55 stores were operational. What's more, all of Conn's distribution centers and service facilities, with the exception of its Beaumont, Texas, location, were operational as well. The company expects all of its facilities to reopen once city services are restored. Conn's said that sales in August, the first month of its fiscal third quarter, climbed 25% compared with a year ago. Same-store sales, meanwhile, climbed 12%. Through Sept. 24, sales were about $40 million for the month of September. The results for September were already above last year's results. "We expect that once all stores in the storm-affected area are fully operational, we will experience a positive sales impact resulting from the consequences of the storm," the company said. Shares were recently trading up $1.96 to $28.77. Chico's ( CHS) rose 7% after the women's clothing chain said it only sustained limited damage from hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The company, which operates 40 stores in the Gulf Coast region, said that six stores remain closed in the New Orleans area. Other stores in the region, according to the company, are running at reduced sales levels as the region continues to recover. "We are pleased to see that our same store and overall sales levels have remained solid during this period as we respond to the effects of the hurricanes," the company said. Same-store sales during September are currently in the mid-double-digit percent range, it said. Chico brand same-store sales are up in the high-single- to low-double-digit percent range, while same-store sales at its White House/Black Market brand are up in the mid-50% range. Shares were trading up $2.49 to $36.30.
Shares of Walgreen ( WAG) fell 3% after the company posted fourth-quarter results that fell below Wall Street expectations. The drugstore operator posted earnings of $329 million, or 32 cents a share, on sales of $10.49 billion. Excluding a charge related to Hurricane Katrina and a gain related to litigation settlements, the company would have earned $363.3 million, or 35 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 37 cents a share on sales of $10.59 billion. A year ago, the company earned $324.4 million, or 32 cents a share, on sales of $9.43 billion. Shares were trading down $1.22 to $41.29. Alpha Natural Resources ( ANR) traded actively after the company said that third-quarter results would be hurt by weather in the Gulf of Mexico. The bad weather will result in a shortfall in metallurgical coal exports and lower-than-expected output from contractor-operated mines, the company said. The company said that sales volumes from its contractor operations are running about 28% below plan during the third quarter. As a result of the shortfall, the company said, it has been forced to buy coal at a higher cost, so that it can meet commitments to its customers. "While we have been affected by certain outside forces beyond our control, we simply have not reacted quickly enough," Alpha said. Looking ahead, the company now expects adjusted full-year earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $200 million to $210 million. Previously, the company said that it would post adjusted EBITDA of $210 million to $230 million. Finally, the company said it acquired coal reserves and operations affiliated with privately held Nicewonder in southern West Virginia and southwestern Virginia. The purchase price was $316.2 million. The acquisition is expected to be accretive to earnings and boost Alpha's operating results and free cash flow going forward. Shares were trading up 41 cents to $31.70.
Shares of NL Industries ( NL) rose 19% after Real Money columnist Jim Cramer spoke highly of the company on CNBC's "Mad Money" television show Friday. Cramer said the company is likely to benefit from a shortage of titanium dioxide. Hurricane Katrina dealt a blow to Du Pont's ( DD) titanium dioxide plant, knocking out 5% of the world's supply of the ingredient, which is used in paint and toothpaste, until at least early 2006. As a result, Cramer believes that NL, which holds a significant interest in titanium dioxide producer Kronos Worldwide ( KRO), will benefit from price increases. Cramer also said that he likes the company because the two analysts who follow it are bearish. Cramer thinks both analysts will have to raise their earnings estimates if price hikes related to titanium dioxide go through. Finally, Cramer said the stock is still safe to buy, despite a 12% jump in the share price on Friday. Shares were recently trading up $3.15 to $19.17. NYSE volume leaders included Lucent Technologies ( LU), up 2 cents to $3.11; Pfizer ( PFE), up 31 cents to $25.18; Nortel Networks ( NT), up 5 cents to $3.19; Advanced Micro Devices ( AMD), up 89 cents to $23.87; and Delphi ( DPH), down 51 cents to $2.95. Nasdaq volume leaders included Oracle ( ORCL), down 2 cents to $12.43; Intel ( INTC), down 14 cents to $24.24; Microsoft ( MSFT), up 12 cents to $25.39; Cisco Systems ( CSCO), up 3 cents to $18.08; and Sirius Satellite Radio ( SIRI), down 5 cents to $6.65.