Stocks to Watch: Nike, KB Home, Darden (Update 1)

NEW YORK -- Nike ( NKE), the sneaker maker, posted third-quarter profit ahead of consensus estimates.

Beaverton, Ore.-based Nike earned of $560 million, or $1.20 a share, on revenue of $5.85 billion for the quarter ended Feb. 29, beating the average earnings estimate of analysts of $1.17 a share on revenue of $5.82 billion.

Gross margin came in at 43.8% for the quarter, down from 45.8% a year earlier.

"Our relentless focus on innovation delivered powerful new products and services for athletes and consumers, and continues to drive value to our shareholders," said Mark Parker, president and CEO, in a statement. "The environment remains volatile, but I'm optimistic about the future. We're starting a great season of major sports events and we have a pipeline full of innovation to fuel growth over the long term."

Shares were up 0.5% to $111.50 in premarket trading on Friday.


KB Home ( KBH), the homebuilder, said revenue for the quarter ended Feb. 29 totaled $254.6 million, much lower than analysts' views of $337.7 million.

KB Home reported a quarterly loss of $45.8 million, or 59 cents a share; analysts were expecting a loss of 24 cents.

The announcement was a huge disappointment given that analysts were expecting the company to blow past expectations. The company posted a profit in the November-ended quarter after three straight quarterly losses, leading some to believe it had seen a turnaround along with the broader housing market.

Shares were plunging 6.6% to $10.50 in premarket trading.


Darden Restaurants ( DRI), the parent of Red Lobster and Olive Garden, reported third-quarter earnings of $1.25 a share, up from $1.08 a year earlier, and slightly above analysts' expectations of $1.24 a share.

Sales were $2.16 billion, beating the forecast $2.14 billion.

The restaurant group said that sales grew 4.1% compared to the period a year earlier at Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse amid favorable weather conditions, underlying business strength and deceleration in food cost inflation over the year.

Darden also announced a quarterly cash dividend of 43 cents a share, payable on May 1.

Shares were rising 0.4% to $52.01 before the bell.


US Airways ( LCC), seeking support for a possible American Airlines merger, is discussing a takeover plan with some creditors of the bankrupt carrier and their advisers, people with knowledge of the talks told Bloomberg.

Executives have laid out details of US Airways' proposal for a combined airline to some members of the unsecured creditors committee and gotten a positive reception, the people told Bloomberg. The goal would be to complete a merger before AMR, American's parent, exits Chapter 11.

US Airways shares were up 0.4% to $7.36.


Micron Technology ( MU), the chipmaker, posted a fiscal second-quarter loss of $224 million, or 23 cents share, on revenue of $2.07 billion.

Analysts were looking for a loss of 19 cents a share on revenue of $2.02 billion.

The stock was falling more 4.3% to $8.34.


Bank of America ( BAC) has begun a pilot program that will offer some of its mortgage customers facing foreclosure a chance to stay in their homes by becoming renters instead of owners.

Launched this week, the pilot program -- "Mortgage to Lease" -- will be offered to less than 1,000 Bank of America customers in test markets in Arizona, Nevada and New York.


-- Written by Joseph Woelfel and Chao Deng

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Joseph Woelfel

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