Archive for August, 2008

Tiffany profit up, raises outlook; Zale posts loss (Reuters)

Thursday, August 28th, 2008 | Finance News

NEW YORK (Reuters) -
Upscale U.S. jeweler Tiffany & Co
(TIF.N) posted a higher-than-expected profit and raised its
full-year forecast on strong sales overseas, while middle-tier
Zale Corp (ZLC.N) posted a loss due to price markdowns.

Tiffany's U.S. sales have been weak recently as consumers
cut back on discretionary purchases, though its higher-income
clientele tend to be less affected by economic concerns than
people who frequent hard-hit jewelers such as Zale, Finlay
Enterprises
(FNLY.OB) and Signet Group (SIG.L).

But Tiffany, whose shares rose nearly 7 percent in
pre-market trading, said on Thursday it expects its U.S.
same-store sales to return to growth in the fourth quarter,
which includes the key holiday shopping season.

Net profit at Tiffany nearly doubled to $80.8 million, or
63 cents per share, in its fiscal second quarter, ended July
31, compared with $40.5 million, or 29 cents per share, a year
earlier.

Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 55 cents per
share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Tiffany's sales rose 11 percent to $732.4 million.

It raised its full-year earnings outlook, to a range of
$2.82 to $2.92 per share. Previously, it had forecast per-share
earnings of $2.80 to $2.90.

WEAKNESS SALES AT ZALE

Dallas-based Zale has suffered in recent months as even its
most avid shoppers resist buying jewelry due to rising prices
for necessities like food and fuel.

The company posted a quarterly loss of $4.9 million, or 15
cents per share, compared with a profit of $1.5 million or 3
cents per share a year earlier.

Zale's loss of 48 cents a share, excluding certain
benefits, was less than the 57 cents per share loss analysts
expected, according to Reuters Estimates.

Zale had expected margins to be hurt in the quarter as it
aggressively marked down jewelry to clear out inventory.

Total sales at Zale rose 6.1 percent to $456.2 million.

The company expects to earn $1.10 per share to $1.25 per
share for the full-year ending in July 2009. Adjusted for total
warranty sales, Zale expects to earn $2.35 per share to $2.50
per share.

(Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Derek Caney)

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MBIA jumps after deal to reinsure FGIC bonds (Reuters)

Thursday, August 28th, 2008 | Finance News

NEW YORK (Reuters) -
Shares of MBIA Inc. (MBI.N) jumped
before the open on Thursday after the bond insurer agreed in a
deal to reinsure $184 billion of municipal bonds backed by its
rival FGIC Corp.

MBIA's stock was up 18 percent at $14.12 a share, its
highest level since April.

(Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Kenneth Barry)

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Tiffany doubles 2Q profit on strong sales overseas (AP)

Thursday, August 28th, 2008 | Finance News

NEW YORK - Jewelry retailer Tiffany says second-quarter profit doubled, beating Wall Street expectations as sales rose by double-digit percentages in Asia and Europe.

The New York-based Tiffany & Co. said Thursday it earned $80.8 million, or 63 cents per share, in the three-month period ended July 31. That compares with $40.5 million, or 29 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Revenue rose 11 percent to $732.4 million from $662.6 million in the year-ago period.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected profit of 55 cents per share on revenue of $721 million. Those estimates typically exclude one-time items.

The company also raised its outlook for earnings in 2008.

Source