Shares of Altria ( MO) were among the NYSE's top gainers Monday, rising 6% after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a government appeal to reinstate a potential $280 billion penalty against the cigarette industry. The civil racketeering case claimed that the tobacco industry deceived the public about the dangers of smoking. The Justice Department had hoped that the Supreme Court would review a U.S. appeals court decision that prevented the government from seeking the hefty penalty. In February, the appeals court said that the civil racketeering law allowed for financial penalties in criminal racketeering cases but not in civil cases. Shares of Altria, a Dow component, were recently trading up $4.36 to $75.02. Reynolds American ( RAI) shares gained $3.80, or 4.8%, to $82.54, while shares of Loews Corp. ( LTR), owner of tobacco company Lorillard Inc., rose $1.83, or 2%, to $90.13. Shares of Charles Schwab ( SCH) jumped 6% after the discount brokerage posted third-quarter results that topped forecasts. The company earned $207 million, or 16 cents a share, on sales of $1.14 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 15 cents a share on sales of $1.11 billion. A year ago, the company reported a loss of $41 million, or 3 cents a share, on sales of $1 billion. Last year's results included restructuring charges of $70 million and losses of $87 million stemming from discontinued operations. At the end of the third quarter, Schwab had total client assets of $1.17 trillion, up 16% from last year. The company's net new assets of $23.4 billion during the third quarter were up 80% from a year ago. Shares were recently trading up 83 cents to $13.96. Sears Holdings ( SHLD) rose 3% after the retailer said its board approved another $500 million share repurchase plan. The $500 million is in addition to the $66 million that Sears still has remaining under the $500 million buyback plan that it announced last month. Under the earlier program, Sears has bought about 3.65 million shares at an average cost of $118.86 a share. Shares recently rose $2.92 to $118.59.
Shares of Mattel ( MAT) fell 6% after the toymaker posted third-quarter results that fell short of expectations. The company earned $225.3 million, or 55 cents a share, on sales of $1.67 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of 61 cents a share on sales of $1.72 billion. A year ago, the company earned $255.8 million, or 61 cents a share, on sales of $1.67 billion. "Third-quarter results are disappointing as sales increases in much of our portfolio were offset by declines in the Barbie brand," the company said. "Overall, we continue to experience the effect of a difficult retail environment as well as cost increases." Shares were trading down 95 cents to $15. Transocean ( RIG) rose 3% after the company announced a $2 billion share repurchase plan. The offshore drilling contractor said the buyback would be funded with current and future cash balances; the company doesn't intend to use debt to repurchase shares. The buyback plan doesn't have an expiration date, though it may be suspended or discontinued at any time. Shares were trading up $1.65 to $57.20. Shares of Newell Rubbermaid ( NWL) rose 7% after the company announced the departure of its chief executive and said third-quarter earnings would meet or exceed its previous guidance. Joseph Galli, who had served as CEO since 2001, resigned by mutual agreement with the board, the company said. Mark Ketchum will serve as interim CEO until the company finds a permanent replacement for Galli. Newell Rubbermaid now expects earnings to be at the high end or above its previous guidance of 33 cents to 37 cents a share. Analysts are expecting earnings of 36 cents a share. The housewares maker also reiterated its full-year earnings forecast. Shares were up $1.56 to $23.40. NYSE volume leaders included Nortel Networks ( NT), up 22 cents to $3.52; General Motors ( GM), up $2.17 to $30.15; Lucent Technologies ( LU), up 10 cents to $3.16; Ford ( F), up 17 cents to $8.78; General Electric ( GE), down 8 cents to $34.26; Time Warner ( TWX), up 16 cents to $18.16; Pfizer ( PFE), down 6 cents to $24.26; and Motorola ( MOT), up 13 cents to $20.29. Nasdaq volume leaders included Microsoft ( MSFT), down 12 cents to $24.55; Intel ( INTC), up 11 cents $23.34; Cisco Systems ( CSCO), down 1 cent to $17.26; Sirius Satellite Radio ( SIRI), up 5 cents to $6.22; Oracle ( ORCL), up 13 cents to $12.44; Apple Computer ( AAPL), down 33 cents to $53.67; BioCryst Pharmaceuticals ( BCRX), up 52 cents to $17.27; Yahoo! ( YHOO), up 45 cents to $33.97; Sun Microsystems ( SUNW), down 1 cent to $3.97; and SanDisk ( SNDK), up $1.31 to $51.75.