Shares of ServiceMaster ( SVM) were among the NYSE's winners Tuesday, jumping 10% after the provider of pest control and lawn care services said it plans to explore strategic alternatives. The company has hired Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs as financial advisers. "Our board is open minded with respect to our future path and committed to maximizing value for our shareholders," the company said. "We intend to explore a range of strategic alternatives, which includes the possible sale of the company, with our financial and legal advisers as promptly as possible." ServiceMaster also said it expects to post low double-digit earnings growth during 2007. The company predicts that revenue growth will be in the mid- to high single-digit percentage range. Shares were trading up $1.17 to $13.07. American Woodmark ( AMWD) rose 1% after the maker of kitchen cabinets posted mixed fiscal second-quarter results. For the period ended Oct. 31, the company earned $9.2 million, or 57 cents a share, up from $6.2 million, or 37 cents a share, a year earlier. The earnings per share were a penny below Wall Street's expectation. Revenue fell to $210.8 million from $214.5 million, but topped analysts' forecast of $206.5 million. Looking ahead, American Woodmark forecast fiscal 2007 earnings of $2.40 to $2.50 a share, below analysts' projection of $2.59 a share. Shares recently changed hands at $38.15, up 41 cents to $38.15.
Shares of Jackson Hewitt Tax Service ( JTX) shed 2% after the tax preparation company reported a wider-than-expected second-quarter loss. For the quarter ended Oct. 31, the company recorded a loss of $15.5 million, or 46 cents a share, on revenue of $6.2 million. Analysts expected a smaller loss of 38 cents a share and revenue of $7.3 million. During the year-ago quarter, the company had a loss of $11.3 million, or 31 cents a share, on revenue of $9 million. Shares recently were down 80 cents to $34.95. Applebee's International ( APPB) shares fell 1% after the restaurant operator posted a 3.1% decline in system-wide domestic same-store sales for November. Same-store sales for domestic franchise restaurants fell 3%. Same-store sales for company restaurants, meanwhile, slid 3.1%, reflecting a decrease in guest traffic. Shares were down 27 cents to $22.30. Shares of Frontline ( FRO) dropped 4% after the crude oil shipper posted mixed third-quarter results and said it may see weakness in the fourth quarter. The company's third-quarter earnings rose to $98.8 million, or $1.32 a share, from $73.8 million, or 99 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose to $404.7 million from $291.5 million. Analysts expected earnings of $1.58 a share and revenue of $309 million. Frontline said the third quarter was stronger than expected, but it expects the fourth quarter will be weaker because of lower average daily time charter equivalent rates. Shares were trading down $1.65 to $35.70.
Shares of Koppers Holdings ( KOP) fell 4% after the maker of carbon compounds said that 1.75 million of its shares will be sold in a secondary offering. The shares are being offered by Saratoga Partners III, the company's largest shareholder, and affiliated companies. Saratoga will own about 20% of Koppers' outstanding shares after the offering. The shares were trading down 98 cents to $21.95. NYSE volume leaders Tuesday include Ford ( F), down 3 cents to $8.13; Lucent Technologies ( LU), up 3 cents to $2.56; EMC ( EMC), up 1 cent to $12.85; Nortel Networks ( NT), down 4 cents to $2.11; Pfizer ( PFE), down 4 cents to $26.93; Time Warner ( TWX), up 6 cents to $20.27; Motorola ( MOT), down 39 cents to $21.45; and CVS ( CVS), up 31 cents to $27.50. Nasdaq's top volume movers included Cisco Systems ( CSCO), up 87 cents to $26.67; Level 3 Communications ( LVLT), up 17 cents to $5.17; Microsoft ( MSFT), down 18 cents to $29.31; Sun Microsystems ( SUNW), down 6 cents to $5.30; Sirius Satellite Radio ( SIRI), down 8 cents to $4.04; Apple Computer ( AAPL), up 41 cents to $89.95; Intel ( INTC), down 12 cents to $20.90; and Oracle ( ORCL), down 1 cent to $18.91.