Shares of Shaw Group ( SGR) are down slightly after the company reported a profit of $36.3 million, or 43 cents a share, compared with $4 million, or 5 cents a share, a year earlier. The company's revenue rose slightly to $1.7 billion, on the back of a new nuclear power plant contract. Management said the majority of its operating segments continued to perform well, including record performance this quarter by its energy and chemicals segment. Revenue did come in just below the $1.75 billion consensus estimates. Looking ahead, the company sees 2009 EPS estimates in a range of $2.10 to $2.30, below the $2.70 consensus. Shares of SGR are way off of all-time highs of $75 hit in October 2007. The stock has technical support in the $20-$21 price area. If the shares can firm up here, we see overhead resistance around the $31-$36 price levels. We do not currently rate this non-dividend paying stock, but do follow the engineering company closely. Shaw does not currently pay a dividend.
J.C. Penney Lowers First-Quarter Loss Estimate; Shares Jump
Shares of retail clothing chain J.C. Penney ( JCP) were up $2, or 8.6%, in early trading Thursday, after the company indicated that its current-quarter losses wouldn't be as bad as originally expected. The Plano, Texas-based company said that same-store sales, considered a key indicator of a retailer's health, fell 7.2% in March. On average, analysts expected a 10.5% loss. The company also said that total sales fell 5.4% to $1.46 billion in the quarter. J.C. Penney now expects a first-quarter loss of 5 to 10 cents per share, much better than its earlier prediction for a loss of 20 to 30 cents per share.