2:30PM NY, U.S. Market Movers
) shares gained 6.7% after a JPMorgan said the stock is priced attractively following an extended skid.
Fortress Investment Group
) rose 6% on the possible takeover target. The company raised $634 million when it completed its highly anticipated IPO last month. Fortress has $30 billion in assets under management: private equity, hedge funds and publicly traded real estate vehicles known as castles. Investors are betting that the hedge fund''s IPO will open the floodgates for more hedge funds and alternative investment vehicles to go public.
Last week speculation swirled that private equity giant Blackstone Group was preparing for a public offering of about 10% of the company. Reports speculated that the deal could value the company at anywhere from $20 billion to $40 billion.
Fremont General Corp.
) is selling a $4 billion portfolio of sub-prime home loans to unnamed buyers, which should result in a $140 million pretax loss. Shares jumped 15.3%. The company said it''s received a first installment of $950 million in the deal, with other sales agreements expected over the next several weeks.
) was upgraded to buy from neutral at Goldman Sachs and the stock climbed 13.5%.
ICF International Inc.
) shares climbed 18.8% after the announcement that its fourth-quarter revenue more than doubled, driven by a large Hurricane Katrina-related contract. The company swung to a fourth-quarter profit of $9.21 million, or 65 cents per share, from a loss of $1.03 million, or 11 cents per share, a year earlier.
Stein Mart Inc.
) posted essentially flat earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter, as higher expenses offset a more modest rise in sales. Net income came in roughly flat at $21.1 million, or 48 cents per share. Sales rose 8% to $461 million compared with $427.4 million in the same period a year earlier. Same-store sales rose 0.9%. Shares climbed 9.8%.
Telestone Technologies Corp.
), which sells wireless network services and communications gear in China, shares surged 17.4% after it reported strong fourth-quarter profit and sales. The company reported net income of $1.6 million, or 19 cents per share, compared with $1.4 million, or 17 per share, a year ago. Sales jumped to $7.4 million versus $5.5 million in the year-ago period.
Velocity Express Corp.
) signed a multi-year contract renewal, representing more than $13 million in annual revenue, with its largest financial services customer. The company didn’t name the customer. Shares jumped 19.2%.
) shares jumped 15.7% after the maker of parts for the avionics and defense industries said that its second-quarter net earnings increased to $155,000, or 6 cents per share compared with $69,000, or 3 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Revenue climbed to $4.44 million versus $3.57 million in the same period a year earlier.
), aerospace supplier and maintenance provider, said that its fiscal third-quarter profit surged 68%, driven by increased revenue, outsourcing and better industry conditions. Quarterly net income rose to $15.3 million, or 36 cents per share, compared with $9.1 million, or 24 cents per share, in the prior year. Revenue grew to $271 million, up 21% from $223.4 million in the previous year. The quarter''s results included $16.5 million from the sale of two aircraft at book value.
) fell 8.6% after the company posted disappointing third-quarter results and cut its 2007 guidance. For the quarter, the uniforms maker earned $76.7 million, or 48 cents per share, on revenue of $905.4 million compared with the year-earlier quarter when the company earned $76.6 million, or 45 cents per share, on revenue of $836.4 million. The company cut its revenue projection to a range of $3.68 billion to $3.73 billion from an earlier view of $3.77 billion to $3.85 billion.
), a maker of equipment used in microelectronics fabrication, shares got stung 15% after the company projected a third-quarter loss, partly due to a weak semiconductor market. The company said it expects a third-quarter loss of $3 million to $4 million.
U.S. Auto Parts Network
) shares plunged 40.6% after the company reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $20,000, or breakeven per share, compared with net income of $2.06 million, or 16 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Revenue, more than doubled, reached $36.8 million from $15.7 million in the prior-year period. The company forecast first-quarter results in a range of a 2 cent-loss to breakeven on revenue of $39 million to $41 million, and forecast 2007 earnings of 5 cents to 17 cents on revenue of $170 million to $185 million.
2:15PM NY – The Fed left its target for short term rates unchanged at 5.25%.
For the sixth meeting in a row, the Federal Open Market Committee left its target rate for the fed fund rates unchanged at 5.25%. The Fed lifted the target rate to 5.25% on June 29th, 2006 and since then for six meetings the Fed has left the target rate unchanged.
Recently estimate of GDP for the fourth quarter of the year 2006 was revised lower to 2.2% from 3.5%. Weakening consumer spending and reluctance to increase capital spending by businesses played a part in the lowering the estimate for the economic growth.
The Fed officials have issued upbeat assessment of the economy as late as January of this year, but since then the sub prime lending problems have emerged and housing starts and home sales have been anemic. Retails sales have also been lower than expected for the last two months in a row.
Core CPI and wholesales inflation are still running above the target level of most officials and private economists’ estimates. Core CPI for February was reported at 2.7% above the Fed comfort level of 2% and Producers Price Index was reported at 1.3% for the month of February.
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