Shares of Empire Resorts ( NYNY) were among Nasdaq's winners Wednesday, jumping 9% after the gaming company said the Department of the Interior issued a favorable letter regarding the development of a casino in the Catskills. The department's letter to New York Gov. George Pataki confirmed the validity of an agreement related to the transfer of land into a trust for development, and cleared the way for final approvals for the gaming facility, which is being developed by the company and a local Mohawk Indian tribe. "This letter has removed a good deal of uncertainty regarding our project's federal approvals," said Empire Resorts President and CEO David Hanlon in a statement. "There was conflicting information in play, but this clarification has erased all doubts." The company's shares were up 62 cents to $7.25. Nike ( NKE) reported a blowout second quarter but saw its shares fall due to disappointing orders. The sneaker and apparel maker earned $301.1 million, or $1.14 a share, in the quarter ended Nov. 30, compared with $261.9 million, or 97 cents a share, a year ago. Sales rose 10% from last year to $3.5 billion. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were forecasting earnings of $1.03 a share on sales of $3.44 billion. Nike said orders for future deliveries totaled $5.2 billion at the end of the quarter, up 2.5% from a year ago due mainly to currency fluctuations. The stock lost $3.91, or 4.4%, to $84.57. Warnaco ( WRNC) announced an agreement to buy the licensed Calvin Klein businesses in Europe and Asia, as well as a line of sportswear and accessories, for about $286 million. The apparel company expects the deal to add to fiscal 2006 earnings. Warnaco already distributes Calvin Klein products such as jeans, underwear and swimwear, and the company now expects the Calvin Klein business to generate more than $900 million in revenue beginning in 2006. Shares were trading up $2.38, or 10%, to $25.78.
Taser ( TASRE) traded with typical volatility after a judge in Texas dismissed a wrongful death suit concerning one of its stun guns. The company claimed the suit is the eighth such case to be dismissed in the past 18 months. Taser's shares also got a boost from an upgrade at brokerage Merriman Curhan, which cited its market position. The stock jumped 72 cents, or 11%, to $6.87. Shares of CarMax ( KMX) rose about 4% after the used-car retailer posted third-quarter results that beat Wall Street's expectation. For the quarter ended Nov. 30, the company's earnings rose to $26.4 million, or 25 cents a share, from $18 million, or 17 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue grew to $1.42 billion from $1.22 billion a year earlier, as comparable-store used unit sales rose 3%. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had a mean estimate for earnings of 21 cents a share and revenue of $1.4 billion. The earnings met the high end of CarMax's own guidance of 19 to 25 cents a share. For the fourth quarter, CarMax anticipates earnings of 25 cents to 31 cents a share, bracketing analysts' average forecast of 30 cents. The company projects same-store sales will range from a decline of 4% to growth of 2%. CarMax shares were up 98 cents to $28.49. The NYSE's top volume movers included Maxtor ( MXO), up $2.24 to $6.76; General Motors ( GM), up 12 cents to $19.97; Seagate Technology ( STX), up 25 cents to $19.85; Pfizer ( PFE), up 33 cents to $24.33; Western Digital ( WDC), up $2.17 to $17.73; Lucent Technologies ( LU), up 2 cents to $2.78; United Microelectronics ( UMC), up 4 cents to $3.15; Ford ( F), up 18 cents to $8.23; General Electric ( GE), down 7 cents to $35.47; Verizon ( VZ), up 19 cents to $30.73; and Time Warner ( TWX), up 8 cents to $17.82. Actively traded Nasdaq stocks included Cisco ( CSCO), down 6 cents to $17.25; Sirius Satellite Radio ( SIRI), up 18 cents to $6.77; Micromuse ( MUSE), up $2.60 to $9.81; Microsoft ( MSFT), down 5 cents to $26.81; Sun Microsystems ( SUNW), up 15 cents to $4.38; JDS Uniphase ( JDSU), up 6 cents to $2.50; Intel ( INTC), up 33 cents to $26.14; Oracle ( ORCL), down 4 cents to $12.24; Electronic Arts ( ERTS), up 23 cents to $53.34; and Dell ( DELL), down 1 cent to $31.24. Get Jim Cramer's picks for 2006.