Shares of Universal Technical Institute ( UTI) were among the NYSE's winners Tuesday, jumping 14% after the provider of technical education training posted fourth-quarter results that topped Wall Street forecasts. The company earned $9.2 million, or 32 cents a share, on sales of $83.9 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected earnings of 28 cents a share on sales of $83.1 million. A year earlier, the company earned $6.7 million, or 23 cents a share, on sales of $69.5 million. Sales in the recent period were buoyed by higher average student enrollment and tuition increases, the company said. Looking ahead, Universal Technical sees fiscal 2006 sales growth of 19% to 21%. Analysts expect sales of $369 million, or sales growth of slightly less than 19%. Shares were trading up $4.28 to $34.96. Taser ( TASRE) climbed 17% after the stun-gun maker said the Securities and Exchange Commission closed an investigation into the company without recommending an enforcement action. The SEC had been investigating the medical safety of the Taser device and certain accounting and disclosure issues. The SEC continues, meanwhile, to investigate issues related to trading in the company's stock, the company said. Taser shares were up $1.04 to $7.16. Shares of Diebold ( DBD) rose 6% after Walden O'Dell resigned as the company's chairman and chief executive for "personal reasons." The maker of ATMs and electronic voting machines named President and Chief Operating Officer Thomas Swidarski as its new CEO, while director John Lauer will serve as non-executive chairman. Diebold also backed its guidance for fourth-quarter earnings of 50 cents to 60 cents a share, including 13 cents in restructuring charges. The company's shares were up $2.13 to $39.86. Shares of Best Buy ( BBY) slumped 11% after the consumer electronics retailer posted weaker-than-expected third-quarter earnings. The company earned $138 million, or 28 cents a share, on sales of $7.34 billion. Analysts expected earnings of 30 cents a share and sales of $7.34 billion. During last year's third quarter, the company earned $148 million, or 30 cents a share, on sales of $6.65 billion.
Looking ahead, Best Buy sees fourth-quarter earnings of $1.06 to $1.16 a share on same-store sales growth of 3% to 5%. Analysts project fourth-quarter earnings of $1.16 a share. Best Buy shares recently tumbled $5.44 to $44.40. Sabre Holdings ( TSG) shares jumped 9% after the travel-planning company issued 2006 guidance above Wall Street forecasts. Sabre, which owns the Travelocity Web site, expects earnings under generally accepted principles to be greater than $1.20 a share for 2006. On an adjusted basis, Sabre sees earnings of at least $1.70 a share, above analysts' projection of $1.59. Sabre expects revenue of $3 billion, compared with analysts' forecast of $2.82 billion. Shares were up $2.08 to $24.13. Asta Funding ( ASFI) rose 7% after the company posted fourth-quarter earnings that beat expectations. The company, which specializes in the purchase, management and liquidation of consumer receivables, earned $9 million, or 62 cents a share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30. Analysts expected the company to report earnings of 55 cents a share. Asta posted interest revenue of $20 million, above analysts' forecast of $18.3 million. In last year's fourth quarter, the company earned $6.5 million, or 46 cents a share, on interest revenue of $14.8 million. Shares were trading up $1.97 to $30.74. NYSE volume leaders included Pfizer ( PFE), up 74 cents to $21.68; ConocoPhillips ( COP), down $2.90 to $58.35; Burlington Resources ( BR), up $3.62 to $86.12; Cendant ( CD), down $1.54 to $16.84; Elan ( ELN), down 20 cents to $12.46; Chesapeake Energy ( CHK), up $1.29 to $33.76; Lucent Technologies ( LU), unchanged at $2.75; Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ), down 74 cents to $29.23; and Time Warner ( TWX), up 1 cent to $17.70. Nasdaq volume leaders included Sirius Satellite Radio ( SIRI), down 31 cents to $7.15; Microsoft ( MSFT), down 23 cents to $27.22; Intel ( INTC), down 17 cents to $26.45; Oracle ( ORCL), down 21 cents to $12.63; Cisco Systems ( CSCO), unchanged at $17.52; Sun Microsystems ( SUNW), up 2 cents to $4.37; Dell ( DELL), up 39 cents to $32.77; and JDSU ( JDSU), unchanged at $2.67.