Shares of Talbots ( TLB) were among the NYSE's winners Tuesday, soaring 20% after the apparel retailer narrowed its second-quarter loss forecast and offered a bullish second-half outlook. The company, which said that its integration of J. Jill is ahead of plan, expects to report a second-quarter loss of 8 cents to 10 cents a share. Previously, Talbots forecast a loss of 5 cents to 15 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call project a loss of 10 cents a share. As for the second half, Talbots is expecting stronger financial performance. "Both the Talbots and J. Jill brands have key initiatives in place that we believe will drive improved top and bottom line performance in the back half of 2006," the company said. Talbots sees second-half earnings of 50 cents to 55 cents a share. Analysts, meanwhile, project second-half earnings of 50 cents a share. For fiscal 2007, Talbots expects cost savings from the acquisition to total $30 million, up from its original forecast of $25 million. Shares were recently trading up $3.59 to $21.56. Shares of Harbor Florida Bancshares ( HARB) jumped 18% after the banking company agreed to be acquired by National City ( NCC) for $1.1 billion in stock. Harbor Florida will receive National City stock equal to $45 a share, representing a 20% premium to Harbor Florida's closing price of $37.55 on Monday. The exchange ratio for the merger will be based on the average closing price of National City's stock for the 10 trading days before the Federal Reserve approves the deal, the companies said. Harbor Florida, which is the fifth-largest publicly traded bank in Florida, has $3.2 billion in total assets and 40 branches concentrated along the Central East Coast of Florida. The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter. Shares of Harbor Florida were trading up $6.58 to $44.13, while shares of National City were down 88 cents, or 2%, to $35.51.
Shares of Pepsi Bottling Group ( PBG) rose 4% after the distributor of Pepsi products posted better-than-expected second-quarter results and increased its full-year volume growth forecast. The company reported second-quarter earnings of $148 million, or 61 cents a share, on revenue of $3.14 billion. Analysts expected earnings of 59 cents a share on revenue of $3.04 billion. Excluding stock-based compensation costs of 4 cents a share and a 3-cent expense related to the devaluation of the Turkish lira, the company would have earned 69 cents a share. A year earlier, the company earned $148 million, or 59 cents a share, on revenue of $2.86 billion. Pepsi Bottling now sees 2006 worldwide volume growth of about 4% and U.S. volume growth of about 3%. The company projects 2006 earnings of $1.82 to $1.88 a share. Analysts project earnings of $1.86 a share. On an adjusted basis, the company anticipates 2006 earnings of $2 to $2.06 a share. Pepsi Bottling now sees free cash flow of $510 million to $530 million for the entire year. Shares were trading up $1.26 to $33.61. Williams-Sonoma ( WSM) fell 5% after the home-goods retailer cut its second-quarter revenue guidance and said its chief executive will retire. The company now estimates second-quarter revenue of $823 million to $837 million, down from an earlier view of $842 million to $856 million. Analysts project revenue of $849.1 million. The company projects earnings of 25 cents to 27 cents a share, up from an earlier forecast of 20 cents to 22 cents a share. Analysts forecast earnings of 23 cents a share. "Although the second quarter is turning out to be more challenging on the top-line in the Pottery Barn brand than we previously expected, we are extremely pleased with the financial benefits that we are realizing from our ongoing operational and cost-containment initiatives," the company said. For the full year, Willams-Sonoma now sees earnings, including items, of $1.97 to $2.01 a share, up from an earlier view of $1.91 to $1.95 a share. Analysts project earnings of $1.97 a share. Separately, Williams-Sonoma said that CEO Ed Mueller will retire Friday. He'll remain as a director until the end of his term in May 2007. Chairman Howard Lester, meanwhile, will take over for Mueller. Lester, who will continue to serve as chairman, previously served as CEO from 1979 to 2001. Williams-Sonoma shares were trading down $1.58 to $31.97.
Shares of Mirant ( MIR) rose 2% after the energy company said that it would buy back up to $1.25 billion in stock through a "Dutch Auction" tender offer and laid out plans to sell its Philippines and Caribbean businesses. Mirant plans to buy up to 43 million shares of stock at prices ranging from $25.75 to $29 a share. The tender offer will be funded with cash on hand and through a term loan. Mirant said the sales of the operations in the Philippines and the Caribbean are expected to close by the middle of 2007. In the meantime, the businesses will be reported as discontinued operations beginning in the third quarter of this year. "As Mirant generates cash from these sales, it plans to continue returning cash to its shareholders while maximizing the value of its net operating loss carryforwards," the company said. Shares were trading up 48 cents to $27.28. ChoicePoint ( CPS) shares fell 9% after the company announced plans to sell three businesses. The company, which collects consumer information, plans to sell its direct marketing, forensic DNA and shareholder services businesses. "These changes will focus our resources and energies on those businesses that we believe have the greatest growth potential and leverage our core competencies," ChoicePoint said. "We also believe this sharper focus will allow us to strengthen our relationships with customers and enhance shareholder value." Shares were trading down $3.67 to $36.91. NYSE volume leaders included Lucent Technologies ( LU), down 10 cents to $2.24; EMC ( EMC), up 3 cents to $10.44; Pfizer ( PFE), down 43 cents to $23.44; Alcoa ( AA), down $1.58 to $31.83; Time Warner ( TWX), down 35 cents to $16.32; Nortel Networks ( NT), down 2 cents to $2.22; AT&T ( T), down 9 cents to $27.29. Nasdaq volume leaders included JDSU ( JDSU), down 9 cents to $2.07; Microsoft ( MSFT), down 37 cents to $23.13; Cisco Systems ( CSCO), down 57 cents to $18.40; Intel ( INTC), down 8 cents to $18.10; Sun Microsystems ( SUNW), up 7 cents to $3.89; Oracle ( ORCL), down 21 cents to $14.38; and Sirius Satellite Radio ( SIRI), up 3 cents to $4.31.