Lorillard Shares Jump on EPS Beat

Lorillard ( LO) just reported its third-quarter profit fell 2.8%, but the company's earnings still beat analysts' estimates.

Lorillard beat EPS estimates by 2 cents on higher prices and market-share gains. The cigarette maker, which has brands such as Newport, Kent and True, saw its wholesale shipment volumes in the quarter rise 4.5% to 10.09 billion units.

We had removed shares of LO from our "Recommended" list on Oct. 6, when shares traded at $66.83. The company has a 6.33% dividend yield, based on Friday's closing stock price of $58.13. The current election as well as potential FDA tobacco regulation have made us cautious on these shares. We would look at other tobacco plays, such as Altria ( MO), Reynolds American ( RAI) and Philip Morris International ( PM) as better risk/reward plays.

Lorillard is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars.

Alberto-Culver Profit Soars on One-Time Gain

Alberto-Culver ( ACV) just reported a huge gain in its fourth-quarter profit as it recorded a one-time gain of $110.7 million for the sale of its Cederroth consumer products business to a private-equity firm.

The maker of hair care and other consumer products saw its revenue rise 7.3% to $386 million. The company also just completed the acquisition of the Noxzema skin care company.

The company believes its lower-priced hair products may be positioned well for the consumer spending slowdown.

We have avoided shares of ACV since our early June coverage began, when shares were trading at $26.80. The company has a low dividend yield of 1.20%, based on Friday's closing stock price of $21.67. The company is trading at nearly 18 times 2009 estimates, so we think the shares are more than fairly priced. We would look for a better entry point, if we were to consider adding the shares to our "Recommended" list.

Alberto-Culver is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.3 out of 5 stars.

FPL Group to Cut Back on Capital Spending, Reduces Outlook

FPL Group ( FPL) just reported a revenue gain of 18% in the quarter to $5.39 billion but is taking steps to cut its capital spending.

Management said that because of current economic conditions, it will be reducing capital expenditures to $5.3 billion from $7 billion in 2009. This will include deferring new-project development at FPL Energy, including wind energy projects.

As for the outlook, the company sees EPS in the range of $3.83 to $3.93, which surrounds the $3.87 consensus estimates number.

We had removed shares of FPL on Sept. 2, when they were trading at $59. The company has a dividend yield of 4.12%, based on Friday's closing stock price of $43.20. We think the shares have limited upside at the moment and would look elsewhere for better investment opportunities in the market.

FPL Group is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.3 out of 5 stars.

Arch Coal Earnings Soar, but It Cuts Full-Year Outlook

Arch Coal ( ACI) just came out with third-quarter earnings that more than tripled, but the company is cutting its outlook.

The company's EPS was 9 cents ahead of consensus estimates, as revenue came in at $769.5 million.

Management is citing cooler weather patterns and the slowing U.S. economy, which have impacted coal consumption. The company is lowering its guidance again, now seeing EPS coming in at a range of $2.30 to $2.55 for 2008, down from its revised forecast of $2.50 to $2.85 per share in July.

We had removed ACI from our "Recommended" list on July 17, when shares traded at $54.80. The company has a low dividend yield of 1.51%, based on Friday's closing stock price of $18.50. We would look to the energy space as a sector for potential short-term trade opportunities at this point. We will keep investors posted of what we see attractive as opportunities present themselves.

Arch Coal is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.0 out of 5 stars.

Be sure to visit our complete recommended list of the Best Dividend Stocks as well as a detailed explanation of our ratings system.

At the time of publication, the author had no positions in stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.

Tom Reese and Paul Rubillo are senior editors of Dividend.com. Visit Dividend.com for more dividend stock ratings, picks, news, and analysis for long-term and income-seeking investors.

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