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Merck Doubles Profit; Arch Coal Heats Up First Quarter; Northwest Bankcorp Bolstered by Visa IPO; Profit Dives for Bank of America; National City Posts Loss, Slashes Dividend; Mattel Profit Drops; Strong Hasbro Results; Lowered Expectations for MF Global
- Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK) reported yesterday (Monday) that it its first-quarter profit rose to $3.3 billion ($1.52 per share), nearly double the $1.7 billion (78 cents per share) earned a year ago. The drug maker cited a $1.4 billion payment from AstraZeneca PLC, a partner drug company. Excluding that and other one-time items, Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based Merck earned 89 cents per share in the latest quarter the .
- Arch Coal Inc. (ACI) turned in one of its best quarters ever yesterday (Monday) after earnings nearly tripled in the first quarter to $81.1 million. The company earned just $28.7 million over the same period last year. With demand for coal rising due to Asia's rapidly expanding economies, Arch estimates that global coal demand will outstrip supply by 25 million to 35 million metric tons, according to .
- Northwest Bancorp Inc. (NWSB) reported first-quarter earnings of $12.6 million, up from $11.3 million last year, . The bank holding company said its profit in the latest quarter reflects a gain of $409,000 related to Visa Inc.’s (V) initial public offering.
- First quarter profit for Bank of America Corp. (BAC), the second largest bank in the United States, dropped 77%, the third consecutive quarterly profit decline and short of analysts’ expectations. “The first quarter was much worse than our expectations three months ago,” Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Lewis said on a conference call, Bloomberg reported. “It’s too early to strike up the band and say that happy days are here again.”
- Shares for Ohio-based bank National City Corp. (NCC) plummeted almost 28% yesterday (Monday) after the company slashed its dividend to 1 cent and agreed to sell a $7 billion stake in the company at a 40% discount to a group of investors. The bank’s previous dividend was 21 cents. The bank also reported a first-quarter loss of $171 million, BusinessWeek reported.
- Mattel Inc. (MAT), the largest global toymaker, announced its first loss in three years yesterday (Monday) due to higher production costs in China. Mattel posted a net loss of $46.6 million, or 13 cents per share for the first quarter, missing analyst estimates that had anticipated a 1 cent profit per share. The stock dropped over 8% to close at $20.00.
- Hasbro Inc. (HAS) posted a surprise gain yesterday (Monday) on the strength of movie-related toys such as Transformers action figures. The toy firm beat analyst expectation with a 13% increase in revenue to $704.2 million. Earnings were $37.5 million or 25 cents per share. The stock soared 9% to close at $34.65.
- Shares of MF Global Ltd. (MF) dropped over 10% yesterday (Monday) to close at $12.88 on news that several analysts lowered profit guidance on the exchange-listed futures and options broker. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial, on average, estimate a fourth-quarter loss of 6 cents per share, .