Shares of Valero ( VLO) were among the NYSE's winners Monday, rising 6% after the oil refiner posted strong third-quarter results and issued a fourth-quarter guidance that impressed investors. For the third quarter, the company earned $862 million, or $2.94 a share, on sales of $23.28 billion. Excluding items, the company would have earned $1.28 billion, or $4.37 a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of $4.23 a share on sales of $19 billion. A year earlier, the company earned $431 million, or $1.57 a share, on sales of $14.34 billion. Valero also said analysts' expectations for the fourth quarter are too low. "Given all these positive factors, it's clear that the current First Call consensus estimate of $3.67 per share for the fourth quarter is significantly too low. In fact, we estimate that in October alone we will earn around $2.30 per share," the company said. Separately, Valero said Bill Greehey will step down from his chief executive role at the end of the year to focus on his responsibilities as chairman. Bill Klesse, chief operating officer, will assume the CEO position on Jan. 1. "The timing couldn't be better," Greehey said regarding his role change. "At no point over the past 25 years has Valero achieved greater success than it has this year." Valero shares were trading up $5.94 to $105.44. Shares of Nam Tai Electronics ( NTE) fell 8% after the company posted solid third-quarter results but projected lower-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings. The company earned $18.8 million, or 43 cents a share, for the third quarter. Excluding items, the company's earnings rose to $15.3 million, or 35 cents a share, from $10.2 million, or 24 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts were expecting earnings of 25 cents a share, before items. Nam Tai's sales grew to $207.9 million from $138 million a year earlier, and beat analysts' average estimate of $175 million.
Looking ahead, Nam Tai forecast fourth-quarter earnings of 22 cents to 24 cents a share, before items, on sales of $190 million to $200 million. Analysts had been expecting earnings of 29 cents a share on sales of $195.8 million. The company said it is on track to exceed its 2005 sales growth guidance of 30% to 35%, but noted that it sees significantly lower gross margins in the fourth quarter amid increased market competition. Shares recently fell $1.90 to $22.25. Honeywell ( HON) rose 2% after the industrial conglomerate said it will sell its Clarke American security printing services business to M&F Worldwide ( MFW) for $800 million in cash. M&F will acquire all of the stock of Novar USA, the parent company of the security printing services business operated by Clarke American. The security printing business is the second of two non-core Honeywell businesses to be sold during the past six weeks. In September, Honeywell agreed to sell its Indalex Aluminum Solutions unit for $425 million in cash. Both units were part of Novar PLC, which Honeywell acquired earlier this year. Honeywell shares were recently up 59 cents to $34.19. Shares of Placer Dome ( PDG) jumped 19% after Barrick Gold ( ABX) offered to acquire the company for roughly $9.2 billion. The unsolicited offer values Placer Dome at $20.50 a share, representing a 24% premium to Friday's closing price of $16.51. Placer Dome shareholders will receive 87% of their compensation in stock, while the rest will be paid in cash. Barrick said it plans to mail the formal offer to Placer Dome shareholders as soon as possible. Placer Dome shareholders will be given 35 days to accept the deal once the formal offer is mailed. Shares of Placer Dome recently traded up $3.13 to $19.64, while shares of Barrick Gold fell $1.99 to $25.21.
OMI ( OMM) gained 1% after the operator of crude oil tankers announced a $70 million stock repurchase plan. The new plan replaces the company's recently completed $70 million buyback plan. Since the beginning of the year, OMI has bought more than 11.2 million shares at an average price of $17.79 a share. Shares recently rose 23 cents to $18.21. NYSE volume leaders included Lucent Technologies ( LU), up 3 cents to $2.82; Pfizer ( PFE), up 25 cents to $21.75; Wal-Mart ( WMT), up $1.65 to $47.15; Nokia ( NOK), up 34 cents to $16.63; Exxon Mobil ( XOM), down 5 cents to $56.26; Ford ( F), up 22 cents to $8.24 ; Citigroup ( C), up 22 cents to $46.12; and Time Warner ( TWX), up 28 cents to $18.03. Nasdaq volume leaders included Microsoft ( MSFT), up 17 cents to $25.70; Cisco Systems ( CSCO), up 34 cents to $17.48; Intel ( INTC), up 18 cents $23.51; Sun Microsystems ( SUNW), up 2 cents to $3.90; Sirius Satellite Radio ( SIRI), up 14 cents to $6.16; Oracle ( ORCL), down 7 cents to $12.64; JDSU ( JDSU), down 2 cents to $2.05; and Qualcomm ( QCOM), down 88 cents to $40.19.