Despite Lower Profit, Big Lots Shares Skyrocket on EPS Shares of Big Lots ( BIG) jumped more than 21% in late morning trading Wednesday, on the heels of a fourth-quarter earnings report that beat analyst expectations. The Columbus, Ohio-based closeout retailer said its fiscal fourth-quarter profit was $78.77 million, or 96 cents per share, compared with $92.02 million, or $1.04 per share, in the year-ago period. Income from continuing operations, which measures earnings in relation only to currently open business segments, was $81.8 million, or $1 per share, compared with $85.6 million, or 97 cents per share, last year.
On average, Wall Street analysts were expecting net income of 93 cents per share. This earnings beat came despite the fact that quarterly sales fell to $1.37 billion from $1.41 billion in the year-ago period. Same-store sales fell 3.2% from the previous year's levels. Big Lot's went on to forecast 2009 profit above analyst expectations. The company said it expects fiscal first-quarter earnings from continuing operations of 34 cents to 40 cents per share, and full-year 2009 earnings from continuing operations of $1.75 to $1.90 per share. On average, analysts were expecting quarterly earnings of 35 cents and full-year earnings of $1.70 per share. Shares of Big Lots are way off of all-time highs of $48 hit in 1997. The stock has technical support at the $7.50 to $10 price levels. If the shares can continue today's rebound, we see overhead resistance around the $18 to $20 level. We do not currently rate this non-dividend paying stock, but we do follow this discount-retailing chain closely.
Big Lots does not currently pay a dividend. U.S. Bancorp Cuts Quarterly Dividend Payout 88% Shares of U.S. Bancorp ( USB) were down over 6% in early trading after the company announced it would cut its quarterly dividend payout to 5 cents per common share from 42.5 cents per share. The dividend will be payable April 15, to shareholders of record as of March 31. Management said it will use the funds it preserves to continue to invest in and expand its business. We are on the fence with U.S. Bancorp right now. We recently removed the name from our "Recommended" list on Oct. 9, when shares were trading at $30.83. The company will now have a dividend yield of 1.59%, based on the new lower dividend payout and last night's closing stock price of $12.58. The stock does have technical support in the $8.50 to $10 price area. If the shares can rebound, we see overhead resistance at the $17 level. We would look elsewhere for a better investment opportunity at this time. U.S. Bancorp is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 2.5 out of 5 stars. Joy Global First-Quarter Results Top Estimates Shares of Joy Global ( JOYG) were up $2.15, or 13.69%, in late morning trading Wednesday, after the company reported better-than-expected fiscal first-quarter earnings results. The Milwaukee-based mining equipment maker said its first-quarter profit jumped 21% to $85.7 million, or 83 cents per share, compared with $71.1 million, or 65 cents per share, during the year-ago quarter. Sales increased by 18% to $754.9 million, from $640.3 million in the same period a year ago.
On average, Wall Street analysts expected a fiscal first-quarter profit of 76 cents per share and revenue of $782.3 million. Joy Global said that it expects demand for its original equipment, which represents half of its sales, to remain substantially below last year's levels. As a result, the company said it will reduce output to more appropriate levels. The company re-affirmed its previous financial guidance, but warned that economic conditions could lead to short-term volatility in its businesses. We had removed shares of Joy Global from our "Recommended" list back on July 22, when the stock traded at $68.97. The company has a 4.42% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $15.85. The company does have some long-term support in the $13 price area. If the shares can rebound, we see overhead resistance around the $23 to $25 price levels. We would remain on the sidelines for now. Joy Global is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.1 out of 5 stars. Toll Brothers Second-Quarter Loss Narrows, but Misses Analysts View Home building company Toll Brothers ( TOL) said Tuesday that its fiscal first-quarter loss narrowed from the previous year, but still missed Wall Street estimates. The Horsham, Pa.-based company reported a fiscal first-quarter loss of $88.9 million, or 55 cents per share, compared with a loss of $96 million, or 61 cents per share, in the year-ago period. On average, Wall Street analysts were expecting a loss of 52 cents per share.
These latest results included $156.6 million in writedowns, compared with $245.5 million in writedowns in the year-ago period. Toll Brothers said last month that its revenue declined 51% to $409.3 million, and that signed contracts on its new homes dropped 59%, with closings falling 45%. Home builders like Toll Brothers have been demolished in the past few years, as the credit crunch, combined with a real estate market implosion, has left the market with very few qualified buyers. In a move common to many companies nowadays, Toll Brothers declined to give any earnings guidance for fiscal 2009, citing uncertain economic conditions. Shares of Toll Brothers are way off their all-time high of $55 a share, hit in July 2005. The stock has technical support in the $10 price area. If the shares do stage a rebound, we see overhead resistance in the $22 to $26 price range. We do not currently rate this non-dividend paying stock, but we do follow the name closely as it is considered one of markets leading home-builder names. Toll Brothers does not currently pay a dividend. Be sure to visit our complete recommended list of the Best Dividend Stocks as well as a detailed explanation of our ratings system.