Shares of Global Payments ( GPN) were among the NYSE's winners Friday, rising 5% after the financial transactions processor posted better-than-expected third-quarter results and raised its fiscal-year projections. For the quarter ended Feb. 28, the company earned $30.1 million, or 36 cents a share, on revenue of $225.2 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected earnings of 34 cents a share and revenue of $217.7 million. During the year-earlier quarter, the company earned $21.6 million, or 27 cents a share, on revenue of $195.5 million. "We are once again pleased with our solid quarterly financial results, which primarily reflect continued strength in our North American direct merchant channels and our DolEx-branded consumer money transfer channel," the company said. Looking ahead, Global Payments now sees fiscal 2006 earnings of $1.48 to $1.51 a share, before charges, up from its previous forecast of $1.41 to $1.47 a share. The company projects revenue of $896 million to $903 million. Analysts project earnings of $1.48 a share and revenue of $891.9 million. Shares were trading up $2.65 to $53.52. Shares of Ruth's Chris Steak House ( RUTH) fell 3% after the restaurant chain operator reiterated its first-quarter earnings guidance. The company continues to project earnings of 24 cents to 26 cents a share, including stock-based compensation costs. The company sees total revenue, including restaurant sales and franchise revenue, of $65.1 million to $65.3 million. Analysts project earnings of 26 cents a share and revenue of $63.5 million. For the first quarter, company-owned same-restaurant sales rose 6.8%. Ruth's Chris expects to release its first-quarter results during the week of April 24. Shares were trading down 76 cents to $23.24. Mohawk Industries ( MHK) fell 3% after the flooring maker cut its first-quarter earnings outlook. The company now sees earnings of $1.03 to $1.05 a share, down from an earlier view of $1.17 to $1.26 a share. Analysts project earnings of $1.22 a share. "The revision is attributable to the Mohawk segment which had higher than expected LIFO accounting charges and lower than anticipated growth in sales and margins for the period," the company said. The LIFO charge is expected to be $13 million to $15 million, up from $6 million during the year-earlier quarter. The company said that sales were hurt by a soft retail replacement business, which is the company's largest channel in the carpet category. Shares were trading down $3.13 to $82.19.
Exploration Co. ( TXCO) fell 9% after the oil and gas exploration company agreed to sell 3 million shares of stock at $10.50 a share, raising $31.5 million, as part of a private placement. The price represents a 16% discount to Thursday's closing price of $12.43. The company plans to use proceeds from the offering to fund drilling and development activities at several of its sites and for general purposes. Shares were trading down $1.16 to $11.27. Shares of Zoltek ( ZOLT) rose 7% after the carbon-fiber maker announced a grant from the Hungarian government. The company will use the $14.5 million grant to modernize a unit's Hungarian facility and establish a research and development center there. The expansion will allow Zoltek to hire an additional 600 employees over the next few years. "This grant is a critical element supporting modernization and expansion of the facility," the company said. "We believe that our Hungarian plant, in turn, will play a leading role in the production of carbon fibers used in commercial and industrial applications in European and world markets." Shares were trading up $1.61 to $23.10. NYSE volume leaders included Lucent Technologies ( LU), down 3 cents to $3.06; Nortel Networks ( NT), down 2 cents to $3.05; General Motors ( GM), down 36 cents to $20.70; General Electric ( GE), up 20 cents to $34.85; Metlife ( MET), down 28 cents to $48.46; and Time Warner ( TWX), down 12 cents to $16.73. Nasdaq volume leaders included Intel ( INTC), down 5 cents to $19.65; Cisco ( CSCO), unchanged at $21.97; Microsoft ( MSFT), up 18 cents to $27.41; JDSU ( JDSU), up 4 cents to $4.17; Himax Technologies ( HIMX), down 21 cents to $8.79; Apple Computer ( AAPL), up 20 cents to $62.95; Level 3 Communications ( LVLT), down 1 cent to $5.14; and Sun Microsystems ( SUNW), up 3 cents to $5.18.