Shares of Pilgrim's Pride ( PPC) were among the NYSE's losers Tuesday, dropping 21% after the poultry company slashed its fiscal first-quarter earnings estimate and announced a restructuring of its turkey division. Pilgrim's Pride lowered its earnings projection for the December quarter to 36 cents to 41 cents a share from a prior forecast of 75 cents to 85 cents. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had an average estimate for earnings of 82 cents a share. The company attributed the weak results to a significantly worse-than-expected performance in Mexico and lower sales prices on chicken leg quarters. The company also withdrew its guidance for the rest of fiscal 2006. Pilgrim's Pride's first-quarter guidance excludes a one-time tax gain related to its Mexico operations and the restructuring of its turkey division. The company plans to stop production of ground turkey and cooked deli turkey breast meat at its Franconia, Pa., plant. The move is expected to help pretax earnings by $10 million to $15 million a year, and will result in about 300 job cuts. Shares of Pilgrim's Pride recently were down $6.90 to $26.26. Shares of Engelhard ( EC) shot up 22% after the German chemical company BASF ( BF) went public with an offer to buy the New Jersey-based supplier of surface and materials products for $4.9 billion. BASF proposed buying Engelhard for $37 a share, a 23% premium over Friday's closing price of $30.15. BASF said it has made efforts for a "friendly transaction," but Engelhard has rebuffed attempts at talks with the company. BASF also said it may raise its offer by $1 a share if it can find value beyond publicly available information. Shares of Engelhard recently were up $6.51 to $36.66. In the first day of trading following the split of media behemoth Viacom ( VIA), shares of CBS ( CBS) and the company retaining the Viacom name were trading up. The new CBS company includes the CBS television network, UPN, Paramount television and Viacom's outdoor advertising businesses. Viacom includes MTV Networks and Paramount Pictures. Viacom shares were up 69 cents, or 1.7%, to $40.69, while CBS shares jumped $1.80, or 7%, to $27.30.
VSE ( VSE) announced that it received a contract to provide maintenance and logistics services in support of U.S. Army equipment in Iraq and Afghanistan, sending the company's shares up 9%. The contract has a base year valued at $139 million, with an additional one-year option period valued at $212 million. VSE's subcontractor, ManTech ( MANT), will provide substantially all of the services ordered under the contract, while VSE will provide certain program management services. Shares of VSE were up $3.60 to $45.70, while ManTech shares were up 52 cents, or 1.9%, to $28.83. Shares of Mod-Pac ( MPAC) gained 8% after the maker of custom paperboard packaging said it signed an agreement with promotional products company Proforma to become a "preferred limited partner." The contract names Mod-Pac as a preferred supplier for Proforma's roughly 650 office locations. According to Mod-Pac, Proforma was recently named the second-largest distributor of printed materials. Mod-Pac expects the deal to add $2 million to $5 million to revenue in its first year. The company's shares were up 89 cents to $12.13. NYSE volume leaders Tuesday included Lucent ( LU), unchanged at $2.66; Pfizer ( PFE), up 50 cents to $23.82; General Motors ( GM), down 71 cents to $18.71; Wal-Mart ( WMT), down 91 cents to $45.89; Nortel Networks ( NT), up 10 cents to $3.16; General Electric ( GE), down 20 cents to $34.85; ExxonMobil ( XOM), up $1.34 to $57.51; Chesapeake Energy ( CHK), up $1.07 to $32.80; Motorola ( MOT), up 37 cents to $22.96; and Ford ( F), unchanged at $7.72. Actively traded Nasdaq stocks included Sirius Satellite Radio ( SIRI), down 21 cents to $6.49; Cisco Systems ( CSCO), up 11 cents to $17.23; Microsoft ( MSFT), up 8 cents to $26.23; Oracle ( ORCL), up 15 cents to $12.36; Intel ( INTC), up 3 cents to $24.99; Sun Microsystems ( SUNW), up 3 cents to $4.22; Apple ( AAPL), up $1.31 to $73.20; Sandisk ( SNDK), up $2.04 to $64.86; JDS Uniphase ( JDSU), down 3 cents to $2.33; and Yahoo! ( YHOO), up 19 cents to $39.37.