Shares of Media General ( MEG) were among the NYSE's losers Thursday, sliding 5% after the publishing company posted mixed second-quarter results. The company earned $20.2 million, or 85 cents a share, beating Thomson First Call's average analyst estimate of 82 cents a share. Media General's revenue totaled $230.1 million, short of analysts' target of $245.8 million. A year earlier, the company earned $19 million, or 80 cents a share, excluding a one-time gain, on revenue of $222.8 million. Looking ahead, Media General sees its publishing division posting revenue growth of 5% in the third quarter. Its broadcast division, meanwhile, is expected to post total time sales growth of about 60%. Shares were recently trading down $2.25 to $39.85. Polaris Industries ( PII) fell 2% after the maker of snowmobiles posted mixed second-quarter results and warned that third-quarter earnings would be below expectations. The company recorded earnings from continuing operations of $22.7 million, or 53 cents a share, on revenue of $384.3 million. Analysts expected earnings of 53 cents a share, with revenue of $397.8 million. During the year-earlier quarter, the company earned $29.1 million, or 66 cents a share, on revenue of $442.3 million. Polaris projects third-quarter earnings from continuing operations of $1.03 to $1.08 a share, short of Wall Street's forecast of $1.16 a share. The company expects revenue to be down 3% to 5%. Analysts project revenue of $534.1 million, or a decline of about 2%. Shares were trading down 84 cents to $39.81. Shares of International Paper ( IP) traded actively after the paper manufacturer announced a $3 billion stock repurchase plan. At Wednesday's closing price of $32.12, the repurchase plan represents about 20% of the company's outstanding shares. International Paper said it expects to start buying stock during the third quarter and plans to purchase a significant amount of shares before the end of the year. "In addition to returning value to our shareholders through the share repurchase, we are reducing debt to strengthen our balance sheet and we are exploring attractive reinvestment opportunities that will improve our global uncoated paper and packaging businesses," International Paper said in a press release. IP plans to spend about $6 billion to $7 billion on debt repayment and possible voluntary cash contributions to its U.S. pension fund. Shares were recently trading down 13 cents to $31.99.
PepsiCo ( PEP) rose 1.4% after the beverage and snack maker posted better-than-expected second-quarter results. The company earned $1.36 billion, or 80 cents a share, on revenue of $8.6 billion. Analysts anticipated earnings of 77 cents a share on revenue of $8.3 billion. A year earlier, the company earned $1.19 billion, or 70 cents a share, on revenue of $7.7 billion. For all of 2006, Pepsi projects earnings of at least $2.95 a share. The company expects cash provided by operating activities to exceed $6.2 billion. Analysts forecast 2006 earnings of $2.96 a share. Pepsi shares were trading up 89 cents to $61.99. Shares of AmerUs Group ( AMH) rose 1% after the life insurance and annuity products company agreed to be acquired by British insurance company Aviva for about $2.9 billion in cash. The price works out to $69 a share, representing a 10% premium to AmerUs Group's closing price of $62.51 on July 6, the day before the companies said they were in merger talks. The deal is expected to close before the end of the year. Shares of AmerUs were recently up 40 cents to $66.90. Barnes & Noble ( BKS) shares fell 2% after the book retailer said it is reviewing its stock-option practices after a shareholder filed a lawsuit alleging improprieties in the company's options issuances. The suit names both current and former Barnes & Noble executives, as well as certain board members. The company said it believes there is no merit to the complaint and that its options issuances have been "entirely appropriate." Still, the company plans to have its audit committee review its practices. Shares were down 56 cents to $34. NYSE volume leaders included Lucent Technologies ( LU), down 2 cents to $2.17; Wal-Mart ( WMT), down $1.05 to $44.10; SAP ( SAP), down $3.31 to $47.03; EMC ( EMC), up 4 cents to $10.13; General Electric ( GE), down 23 cents to $32.83; Motorola ( MOT), up 21 cents to $19.21; and Pfizer ( PFE), down 29 cents to $22.89. Nasdaq volume leaders included Microsoft ( MSFT), down 19 cents to $22.45; Intel ( INTC), down 7 cents to $17.81; Sun Microsystems ( SUNW), down 2 cents to $3.98; Oracle ( ORCL), down 13 cents to $14.09; Cisco Systems ( CSCO), up 3 cents to $18.29; Apple Computer ( AAPL), up 1 cent to $52.97; Dell ( DELL), up 13 cents to $22.51; Applied Materials ( AMAT), up 4 cents to $15.72; JDSU ( JDSU), down 6 cents to $2.12; and Ciena ( CIEN), down 1 cent to $4.06.