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Ticker Shock: Sears, Beazer, Palm Going South for Winter


Tuesday's top stories and stocks with potential to move.


Let's not have a repeat of yesterday.

As we slept, Asian markets took a shellacking. The Hang Seng was off almost 5%, the Nikkei more than 6%. So far, at least, things are looking up Stateside.

Here's what's on my daily radar:

Sears Holdings (SHLD)
Earlier today, the retail giant came out and showed its softer side, so to speak, with its third-quarter numbers. Excluding items, it lost $0.90 per share - way worse than the $0.49 analysts had been expecting. Meanwhile, at roughly $10.7 billion, sales came in south of the $10.93 billion estimate. Things were less impressive on the same-store sales side, dropping 10.6%.

The company offered up the following release:

"The Board of Directors has approved the repurchase of up to an additional $500 million of the company's common shares. This authorization is in addition to the $72 million worth of shares that currently remain available for repurchase under the company's existing repurchase program."

I'm reluctant to be against Eddie Lampert and crew, but see no compelling reason to get involved in the stock right now. Retail is a tough space. Shares could go higher, but they could also dip lower, owing to the lousy economy and tax-loss selling.

Beazer Homes (BZH)
Apparently if you build it, they may or may not come: The well-known homebuilder reported a fourth-quarter net loss from continuing ops of $12.32 a share.

Also the company reported that its backlog sales value as of September 30th was $326.6 million, which was down sharply from the $838.8 million it reported at Sept 30, 2007.

As I pointed out earlier, the company's cancellation rate was 45.7% in the fourth quarter. While not terrific, that's still better than the 68.1% it saw in the comparable period last year.

Long story short, I just can't find the motivation to dabble in this stock - not without seeing some sort of catalyst emerging.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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