Shares of Mills ( MLS) were among the NYSE's winners Wednesday, surging 18% after the mall owner agreed to be acquired by Brookfield Asset Management ( BAM). Brookfield will pay $21 a share for Mills, representing an 18% premium over its closing price of $17.77 Tuesday. The purchase price is equal to $1.35 billion; including the assumption of debt, the transaction is valued at $7.5 billion. The deal ends a nearly yearlong search by Mills for a buyer. Shares were trading up $3.24 to $21.01. Shares of Total Systems Services ( TSS) rose 10% after the merchant-services company's fourth-quarter results topped forecasts. The company earned $87.1 million, or 44 cents a share, on revenue of $503.9 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected earnings of 26 cents a share and revenue of $439.5 million. During the year-earlier quarter, the company earned $49.7 million, or 25 cents a share, on revenue of $420.7 million. For 2007, Total Systems now expects adjusted earnings to rise between 14% and 17%, up from an earlier forecast of 8% to 10% growth. Shares were adding $2.88 to $29.99. Progressive ( PGR) rose 1% after the auto insurer's fourth-quarter earnings beat expectations. The company earned $400.9 million, or 53 cents a share, up from $281.6 million, or 35 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts expected earnings of 50 cents a share. Net premiums earned, meanwhile, came in at $3.51 billion, slightly higher than $3.48 billion a year earlier. Net premiums written slipped to $3.19 billion from $3.25 billion a year earlier. Shares were up 21 cents to $23.59.
Parker Hannifin ( PH) shares climbed 7% after the industrial-products maker posted better-than-expected second-quarter results and raised its guidance. For the period ended Dec. 31, Parker Hannifin earned $193 million, or $1.64 a share, up from $129 million, or $1.07 a share, a year earlier. Sales increased to $2.51 billion from $2.16 billion. Analysts, on average, anticipated earnings of $1.40 a share and revenue of $2.45 billion. Looking ahead, Parker Hannifin now expects 2007 earnings from continuing operations of $6.35 to $6.75 a share, up from its prior target of $6.05 to $6.45. Wall Street expects full-year EPS of $6.38. Shares were trading up $5.83 to $84.20. Shares of Quanex ( NX) were up 6% after the maker of carbon and alloy products lifted its first-quarter earnings projection. The company now expects earnings of 45 cents to 50 cents a share for the quarter ending this month. Quanex's previous forecast called for earnings of 35 cents to 45 cents a share, while analysts projected earnings of 42 cents a share. The stock was gaining $2.05 to $36.82. SPX ( SPW) rose 3% after the company gave a 2007 forecast that exceeded analysts' projections. The company, which makes flow technology and test and measurement products, predicts earnings from continuing operations of $3.80 to $3.95 a share. SPX sees revenue of about $4.7 billion. Analysts project earnings of $3.59 a share and revenue of $4.59 billion. Shares were up $1.71 to $66.13.
Shares of Southwest Airlines ( LUV) fell 3% even after the carrier met fourth-quarter earnings expectations. Southwest's profit fell to $57 million, or 7 cents a share, from $70 million, or 9 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding certain items, earnings were $96 million, or 12 cents a share, matching Wall Street's target. Revenue rose to $2.276 billion from $2 billion, slightly missing analysts' average estimate of $2.280 billion. Shares were trading down 46 cents to $16.11. The NYSE's volume leaders were Ford ( F), up 13 cents to $8.07; Motorola ( MOT), up 50 cents to $18.65; Sprint Nextel ( S), down 15 cents to $17; General Electric ( GE), up 1 cent to $38.12; Corning ( GLW), down 60 cents to $19.45; and Exxon Mobil ( XOM), up 22 cents to $71.85. Nasdaq volume leaders included Intel ( INTC), down $1.11 to $21.19; Cisco Systems ( CSCO), down 79 cents to $27.25; Sun Microsystems ( SUNW), down 4 cents to $6.02; Level 3 Communications ( LVLT), down 30 cents to $6.31; Microsoft ( MSFT), up 21 cents to $31.37; and Symantec ( SYMC), up 7 cents to $17.86.