General Cable shares fall on weak 1Q guidance

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (AP) — Shares of General Cable Corp. tumbled Monday after the wire maker reported fourth-quarter results that matched Wall Street predictions, but issued lower-than-expected guidance for the current quarter.

General Cable expects the first quarter to be its weakest of the year, hurt by problems in Europe, the Mediterranean and its “rest of the world” market. It projected an adjusted first-quarter profit of 22 to 32 cents per share on $ 1.55 billion to $ 1.60 billion in revenue.

Analysts, on average, expect a profit of 48 cents per share on $ 1.66 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

General Cable also said that it still plans to restate its results for the third quarter of 2011 to correct accounting errors related to an inventory theft in Brazil. The company said that its review of the accounting errors found that a substantial part of what was previously believed to be system-related accounting errors actually resulted from the theft.

Because of the restatement, the company didn’t provide year-ago figures for its fourth-quarter and 2012 results.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, the Highland Heights, Ky.-based company posted a fourth-quarter loss of $ 17.3 million, or 35 cents per share. Excluding one-time items adjusted profit was 28 cents per share.

Revenue rose 6 percent to $ 1.60 billion.

Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 28 cents per share on $ 1.61 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

General Cable shares fell $ 2.81, or 8.2 percent, to $ 31.36 in afternoon trading, after dropping as low as $ 31.18 earlier in the session. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock has traded between $ 23.73 and $ 35.23.

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Leap shares fall on weak revenue, customer losses

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Shares of Leap Wireless International Inc. fell Wednesday after the cellphone carrier reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue and a net loss of subscribers.

The San Diego company posted a loss of $ 74.3 million, or 96 cents per share, compared with a loss of $ 84.4 million, or $ 1.10 per share, in the same quarter the year before.

Revenue fell about 1 percent to $ 756 million from $ 767.4 million, as service revenue fell 4 percent to $ 700.2 million.

Analysts, on average, expected a loss of $ 1.45 per share on $ 773.2 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Leap lost a net 337,035 customers during the quarter compared with the addition of a net 178,889 customers in the year-ago period. The company attributed the losses to the discontinuation of a prepaid wireless product and the scaling back of its national retail presence to fewer and more productive retailers and locations.

The company’s Cricket brand lost a net 202,000 customers, as generally soft demand for prepaid cellphone services and higher average selling prices for the company’s phones kept new customers from signing up and offsetting the service cancelations of others.

For the full year 2012, Leap posted a loss of $ 189.3 million, or $ 2.45 per share, compared with a loss of $ 314.6 million, or $ 4.11 per share, in 2011. Revenue rose to $ 3.14 billion from $ 3.07 billion.

Leap shares fell 42 cents, or 7 percent, to $ 5.70 in morning trading, after dropping as low as $ 5.60 earlier in the day. Over the past 52 weeks, Leap shares have traded between $ 4.28 and $ 11.29.

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Blue Nile shares fall on weak 4Q results

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Blue Nile Inc. tumbled Wednesday after the online diamond and jewelry seller announced a lower-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and issued a weak earnings forecast for the full year.

THE SPARK: For the quarter ended Dec. 30, Seattle-based Blue Nile earned $ 4.9 million, or 39 cents per share. Analysts polled by FactSet expected 46 cents per share. Revenue rose 21 percent to $ 136.1 million, below average predictions of $ 144.9 million.

While the company issued a better-than-expected profit outlook for the current quarter, it full-year earnings prediction of 75 cents to 85 cents per share and revenue guidance of $ 400 million to $ 470 million fell short of average analysts’ predictions of a profit of 95 cents per share and $ 456.6 million in revenue.

THE BIG PICTURE: Blue Nile said its holiday season sales of non-engagement jewelry were lower than expected, partially as a result of weaker consumer spending on discretionary items.

For the overall quarter, U.S. sales of engagement jewelry surged 31 percent to $ 73.6 million, while U.S. sales of non-engagement jewelry rose just 5 percent to $ 42.5 million. International sales jumped 27 percent to $ 20 million.

THE ANALYSIS: Janney Capital Markets analyst Shawn Milne backed his “Neutral” rating for Blue Nile, saying that while its focus on boosting profitability and sales of non-engagement jewelry is fine, he remains concerned about the company’s growth predictions for this year because it will face tougher profit and sales comparisons.

THE SHARES: Down $ 1.12 or 4 percent, to $ 29.85 in afternoon trading, after dropping as low as $ 28.90 earlier in the day. Over the past 52 weeks, the company’s shares have traded between $ 22.94 and $ 43.71.

Over the past year, the shares lost about 28 percent of their value.

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Dun & Bradstreet reports 4Q results, shares fall

SHORT HILLS, N.J. (AP) — Dun & Bradstreet Corp.’s shares sank in extended trading Monday after the company reported that its fourth-quarter profit came in below market expectations, hindered by weakness in its North American business.

The company, based in Short Hills, N.J., makes money selling credit and business data to financial firms, government agencies and others.

Dun & Bradstreet earned net income of $ 96 million, or $ 2.20 per share, for the period that ended Dec. 31. That compares with $ 93.4 million, or $ 1.93 per share, a year ago. It earned $ 2.38 per share on an adjusted basis, excluding one-time items.

Total revenue fell 7 percent to $ 463.1 million. Its total revenue for the prior year includes results from businesses that were sold or shut down. After adjusting for those, its revenue fell a more modest 1 percent.

Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting the company to earn $ 2.46 per share on revenue of $ 477.9 million.

The company’s Chairman and CEO Sara Mathew said that 2012 proved to be a challenging year and Dun & Bradstreet was not satisfied with its top line performance. However, she said the company is pleased with the completion of its new data supply chain and will make substantial investments in data and analytics in the future to drive growth in North America.

For 2012, the company earned $ 295.4 million, or $ 6.43 per share, on revenue of $ 1.66 billion.

Dun & Bradstreet said it expects its earnings per share to increase 8 to 11 percent for the 2013 before any charges. It expects its core revenue for the year will increase 0 to 3 percent, before the effect of foreign exchange.

Analysts forecast 2013 earnings per share of $ 7.90 on revenue of $ 1.71 billion, on average.

The company also said it plans to continue to make an effort to improve its efficiency and effectiveness, including consolidating vendors or eliminating funding for activities with little return on investment. The company expects to find $ 70 million to $ 80 million through these measures in 2013 and expects to incur pretax restructuring charges totaling $ 17 million to $ 22 million related to the initiatives.

Shares sank $ 4.78, or nearly 6 percent, to $ 80.51 in after-hours trading on the news. Its shares increased 79 cents to close regular trading at $ 85.28.

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Caterpillar 4Q earnings fall by half

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Caterpillar says fourth-quarter net income fell by half because of slower growth in China and economic issues in the U.S. and Europe.

Still, its adjusted profit and revenue were better than analysts expected.

Caterpillar Inc. makes construction and mining equipment as well as power generators, so its growth rises and falls with the world’s economy.

For the fourth quarter, Caterpillar earned $ 697 million, or $ 1.04 per share. That was down from a profit of $ 1.55 billion, or $ 2.32 per share a year earlier.

Revenue fell 7 percent to $ 16.08 billion as dealers reduced inventory.

The most recent quarter included a charge of 87 cents per share to write down a new purchase in China. Not counting that, analysts surveyed by FactSet had been expecting a profit of $ 1.70 per share.

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