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Ticker Shock: Microsoft, Juniper, Liz Claiborne All Looking Pretty


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


Asia was bloody red, with the Nikkei off more than 9%. Europe is showing me red as well, and, as you all know, we're off to a sharply lower open.

Let's just keep our fingers crossed.

Microsoft (MSFT)
After the close, good ol' Mister Softee reported its first-quarter numbers. And they didn't disappoint: The folks in Redmond turned in a profit of $0.48 per share, a penny north of estimates.

The company also offered up guidance for fiscal year 2009: It's looking for EPS of $2 to $2.10. Not terrible -- the Street is reportedly at $2.11 a share.

So, do I like the shares at these levels?

While I think the stock could get beaten like a rookie prizefighter in today's action, at around the $20 level, I'd have to say I do.

Juniper (JNPR)
After the close on Thursday, Juniper released its third-quarter numbers.

The California-based company reported an adjusted profit of $0.32 per share, which was a dime better than its EPS for the comparable period last year. It was also $0.02 north of what the Street had been looking for.

My take: I thought the numbers were solid, pure and simple. Again, it could take a hit in today's action as it did in after-hours action yesterday.

But do I like it? I'll give my best Sarah Palin impression as an answer: "You betcha." One thing, though: Where are all the insiders?

Liz Claiborne (LIZ)
Earlier today, Liz pre-announced its third-quarter numbers, with diluted EPS of $0.37 to $0.42, as compared with $0.60 for the same period last year. And that's not too shabby, since the Street is currently at $0.38.

Unfortunately, there's more to the story: For the full year, it's looking for an adjusted profit of $1 to $1.10 per share; analysts are at $1.33.

My take: I think the shares are nearing a bottom at this point. My interest is also perked up by the insider data. My only worry is that I don't see a near-term catalyst to move the shares higher.

Ingersoll Rand (IR)
On Friday morning, Ingersoll Rand released its third-quarter numbers. Not counting items, it put up $0.99 per share. Not terrific, but in line with expectations. And for the full year, it's looking for EPS from continuing operations of $3.35 to $3.55. Not great, considering what it could have been. But hey - for a stock that can be had for under $17, not too bad, either.

Have a great day, and a great weekend.
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