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.