By Michael Baron, MarketWatch
Armstrong World Industries /zigman2/quotes/205703431/composite AWI +1.28% shares rose 11% Thursday after the company said it's initiated a review of its strategic options. It's retained Lazard Freres as its financial advisor and Weil, Gotshal & Manges as its legal advisor in the process.
Avici Systems Inc. shares climbed 13% after the company said it swung to a fourth-quarter net profit of $2.99 million, or 21 cents a share, boosted by strong product revenue growth. In the same period last year, the provider of networking equipment posted a net loss of $8.6 million, or 67 cents a share.
Capella Education shares gained 7.1% after the company said its fourth-quarter net profit rose to $5.7 million, or 39 cents a share, from $3 million, or 25 cents a share. Revenue at the online education services group rose 20.7% to $50.6 million in the quarter. The company said growth was driven by a rise in enrollments, with the number of active learners rising 23% to around 18,000 for the year as a whole. Capella said for 2007 it expects enrollment and revenue to grow 18% to 19%, with operating margins expected to be 10.5% to 11.5% of revenue.
Chordiant Software shares added 13% after the Cupertino, Calif.-based company reported a fiscal first-quarter net loss of $10.7 million, or 14 cents a share, vs. a net loss of $1.77 million, or 2 cents a share, last year. Excluding certain items, the company posted a loss of $2.7 million, or 3 cents a share. Revenue rose to $22.9 million from $22.6 million. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were expecting a per-share loss of 2 cents on revenue of $24.7 million. Chordiant raised its fiscal 2007 revenue forecast to a range of $120 million to $125 million.
EnPro Industries /zigman2/quotes/208375478/composite NPO +0.05% shares gained 9.6% after the company reported fourth-quarter earnings before items of $17.6 million, or 81 cents a share, on sales growth of 18%.
Elan shares rose 9% ahead of earnings due next week. In a note to clients, UBS today said it expects the company to report further swift uptake of the company's Tysabri multiple sclerosis treatment and an update on the progress of a treatment for Alzheimer's. Biogen Idec, Elan's partner in marketing Tysabri, said total sales of the drug came in at 430 million in the quarter ended Dec. 31.
FTI Consulting /zigman2/quotes/210037752/composite FCN +0.12% shares surged 14% after the Baltimore-based company posted fourth-quarter net earnings of $17.4 million, or 42 cents a share, down from $18.3 million, or 46 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue in the three months ended Dec. 31 rose to $216.8 million from $165.7 million. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were expecting a per-share profit of 37 cents on revenue of $194.4 million. FTI expects 2007 earnings of $1.74 to $1.84 a share. Analysts are looking for earnings of $1.76 a share.
Guess Inc. /zigman2/quotes/204246219/composite GES -0.69% shares climbed 12% after the company reported a profit of $45.7 million, or 99 cents a share, up from last year's profit of $25.8 million, or 57 cents a share. The casual-apparel retailer said revenues surged 25% to $346.4 million.
Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings /zigman2/quotes/203174601/composite LH +0.84% shares gained 7.5% after the company said its fourth-quarter earnings rose 17% to $103.7 million, or 81 cents a share, from $88.9 million, or 64 cents a share, a year earlier. The Burlington, N.C., provider of clinical laboratory services said that excluding $7.7 million in restructuring charges and other charges related to the retirement of the company's chief executive, the company earned $108.4 million, or 85 cents a share, compared with $93.1 million, or 67 cents a share, a year earlier. Laboratory Corp. said revenue for the quarter rose 9.3% to $898.6 million from $822.3 million a year ago. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected, on average, earnings of 72 cents a share on revenue of $874 million. In addition, Laboratory Corp. said it expects 2007 revenue growth of 11% to 13% and earnings of $3.93 to $4.09 a share.
Linktone Ltd. shares gained 5% after the company said it expects to make a firm offer to acquire MonsterMob Group Plc , a U.K.-based provider of wireless services including video-on-demand and ring tones. Shanghai-based Linktone said MonsterMob is holding a shareholders' meeting on Feb. 23 to consider a separate acquisition offer from a third party. If the company's shareholders do not approve the third party offer, and subject to further due diligence, Linktone said it would offer 0.3028 of its American Depositary Shares for each MonsterMob ordinary share.
Medimmune shares rose 6.1% after the company reported favorable results of a study of the use of its FluMist vaccine with children under five years of age. In addition, on Wednesday, investor Carl Icahn and his Icahn Management L.P. affiliate disclosed that they had bought 2.8 million Medimmune shares.
Molson Coors Brewing Co. /zigman2/quotes/205165133/composite TAP -0.02% shares gained 5.5% after the company reported sharply higher fourth quarter profit, buoyed by volume increases, an extra selling week and lower taxes. See full story.
Ness Technologies Inc. /zigman2/quotes/204170887/composite NSTC -0.41% shares gained 7.3% after the company said it anticipates generating a profit of $1 to $1.05 a share for 2007, on revenue pegged in a range of $560 million to $570 million. The profit forecast includes about 7 per diluted share for one-time expenses, which the company expects will be taken against first-quarter results. Excluding these one-time expenses, Ness Technologies forecast the current quarter's earnings in a range of 21 cents to 23 cents a share on revenue of $123 million to $129 million. Analysts' average profit projections, as compiled by Thomson Financial, stand at 23 cents a share for the first quarter and $1.02 for 2007, with average revenue estimates of $129 million and $560 million, respectively.
Northwest Airlines Corp. shares added 8% after the company filed additional details about what it will look like once the carrier exits bankruptcy, valuing itself at about $7 billion and planning to raise $750 million through a new stock offering. See full story.
Nutrisystem shares jumped 14% after the company said fourth-quarter earnings rose to $19.6 million, or 53 cents a share, from a year-earlier profit of $6.27 million, or 17 cents a share. The Horsham, Pa., diet-food company said revenue nearly doubled to $133.6 million, from $69.6 million a year earlier. It also said its board has approved the buyback of up to $200 million worth of its common stock.
Opnext shares surged 16% after the turned in a double-digit percentage gain in its initial public offering. See full story.