Trex ( TWP) saw its shares surge after the Winchester, Va., company beat Wall Street's first-quarter earnings expectations. The company, a maker of composite decking and railing, said sales rose 17.1% from a year ago to $105.3 million. Earnings fell to $4.2 million, or 29 cents a share, from $8.4 million, or 56 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting the company to post earnings of 24 cents a share on revenue of $113.8 million. Trex also affirmed its previously announced guidance for the first six months of the year, which calls for net sales of $220 million to $230 million and earnings of 57 cents to 62 cents a share. For the first half of last year, the company had sales of $173 million and earnings of 50 cents a share. Shares of Trex were rising $3.31, or 12%, to $30.77 in recent trading. American Retirement ( ACR), a Brentwood, Tenn., operator of senior-living communities, raised its 2006 guidance, lifting its shares Thursday. The company said it expects to earn 69 cents to 72 cents a share this year, after an estimated cost of 12 cents for share-based compensation. American had previously forecast 65 cents to 67 cents. American Retirement is scheduled to release its first-quarter results on May 4. Also, the company said it agreed to acquire the lessee's interest in a Denver community that American currently manages. Upon closing the purchase, the property will convert from a managed community to a leased community, and its operating results will be included in American's consolidated financial statements. Shares of American gained $1.80, or 7.7%, to $25.21 in recent trading. Gorman-Rupp's ( GRC - Get Report) shares advanced after the Mansfield, Ohio, maker of fluid-control equipment said its first-quarter sales and earnings were much stronger than a year ago.
The company had a first-quarter profit of $4.5 million, or 42 cents a share, up from $1.7 million, or 15 cents a share, a year ago. Sales rose 28.9% to $67.1 million. Gorman-Rupp reported a $98.6 million backlog, up 10.8% from a year ago. The company said nearly all of the current backlog is expected to ship during 2006. Shares of Gorman-Rupp were up $1.78, or 7.2%, to $26.68 in recent trading. Nash Finch ( NAFC) plummeted after the Minneapolis-based food-distribution concern missed Wall Street's first-quarter earnings expectations by a wide margin. The company posted earnings of $3.9 million, or 29 cents a share, compared with $7 million and 54 cents a share a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were looking for earnings of 64 cents a share. Sales totaled $1 billion, up from $882.2 million a year ago, primarily reflecting the company's acquisition of wholesale food distribution centers in Lima, Ohio, and Westville, Ind., from Roundy's Supermarkets. Nash Finch's shares were sinking $5.23, or 17.4%, to $24.90 in recent trading. EDO ( EDO), a New York-based defense contractor, reported a surprise first-quarter loss as production was delayed on its next-generation Warlock electronic force-protection system. The company posted a loss of $939,000, or 5 cents a share, compared with earnings of $2.9 million, or 16 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue rose 2.7% to $119.7 million. Analysts were expecting EDO to report earnings of 30 cents a share on revenue of $144.6 million. EDO also said there were delays in meeting certain milestones that resulted in a shift of about $11 million of revenue from the first to the second quarter. Earnings were also hit by $2.7 million of expenses related to legal matters and costs of $900,000 to account for stock-option grants.
For the full year, EDO lowered its revenue guidance and is now forecasting a top line of $680 million to $695 million, down from its previous estimate of $715 million to $730 million. Wall Street is looking for revenue of $720.1 million. Shares of EDO dropped $2.28, or 7.9%, to $26.55. Carlson Wagonlit said it plans to buy fellow business-travel agency Navigant International ( FLYR) for $16.50 a share, a 25% premium to the stock's last closing price. The transaction is valued at about $510 million, including the assumption of debt. The combined company will operate in more than 150 countries and have around 22,000 employees. Shares of Colorado-based Navigant jumped $2.85, or 21.6%, to $16.05 in heavy trading.