Marriott, Herbalife, Dell and BHP Making Headlines

Andrew Klips  |

Stocks on Wall Street plugged ahead on Tuesday after taking a sabbatical on Monday in observance of the Presidents’ Day holiday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 53.91 points (+0.39%), the broader S&P 500 climbed 11.15 points (+0.73%) and the tech-rich Nasdaq rose 21.56 points (+0.68), despite getting no help from Apple, Inc. (AAPL) who shed 17 cents per share (-0.04%) to close at $459.99.

Some notable news after the closing bell included:

Marriott Intl, Inc. (MAR), which operates its namesake hotel chain as well as Courtyard, Ritz-Carlton and Renaissance, reported a 28 percent hike in fourth-quarter profit to $181 million, or 56 cents per share, up from $141 million, of 41 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2011.  Revenue for the quarter nudged upward to $3.76 billion from $3.69 billion in Q4 2011. Both figures topped analyst expectations of EPS of 55 cents on revenue of $3.67 billion. Shares closed the regular session down by 40 cents at $40.83 and are slipping lower in extended trading as well, to $40.50 on minimal volume.

Herbalife Ltd (HLF) reported fourth-quarter net income of $117.8 million, or $1.05 per share, topping last year’s quarter of $105.4 million, or 86 cents per share. Net sales for the quarter increased to $1.1 billion, a 20 percent increase over the year prior quarter. The figures topped Wall Street (and probably Bill Ackman’s) predictions of $1.03 EPS and revenue of $1.05 billion. Looking ahead, Herbalife said it expects EPS for all of 2013 in the range of $4.45 to $4.65, a slight increase from its previous guidance. Interestingly, the company noted in its outlook comments that it “Guidance for the year also excludes one-time costs of $10 million to $20 million, mostly legal and advisory services, relating to the Company’s response to information put into the marketplace by a short seller which information the Company believes to be inaccurate and misleading.” Shares of HLF closed the regular session ahead by $1.00 at $37.91 and have added to it, trading after-hours at $39.80.

Dell Inc. (DELL) said that fourth-quarter revenue tallied $14.3 billion, down 11 percent from the year prior quarter’s $16.0 billion. Non-GAAP net income was 40 cents per share, down 22 percent from 51 cents per share in the last year’s quarter. It may have been the fifth straight quarter of declining profits for Dell, but it still beat analyst expectations of 39 cents per share in earnings and revenue of $14.1 billion. Shares closed trading down by just 1 cent at $13.81 and have eked higher to $13.84 in extended trading.

On the resignation front, mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) said that chief executive Marius Kloppers is stepping-down on May 10. Kloppers will be replaced by Andrew Mackenzie, BHP Billiton’s head of base metals. Huge write-downs, falling profits and failed acquisition attempts have plagued Kloppers, who assumed the position just before the financial collapse a few years ago. In the first half of the latest fiscal year, net profit has plunged 58 percent for BHP, from $9.9 billion in the same period the year earlier to $4.2 billion. Touching on a subject from an article this morning, Kloppers said in August that he was forgoing his bonus for 2012 in light of the company’s write-downs and performance. Shares of BHP closed the trading day ahead by 90 cents at $80.46 and have climbed to $81 in after-hours trading.

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