Hot Stocks to Watch: MTSL, ANN, OPLK, CLSN, ASTI, EXPR

Wall Street signStocks are seeing small gains today with each of the major indexes closing in on 2012 highs. A couple of better than expected economic reports has stocks ending the week on a green note. Consumer sentiment saw a slight increase and hit its highest level since May according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey.

Many investors have been hopeful that another round of QE is coming, but with the recent run up in the markets many analysts are starting become less optimistic of further stimulus. Nomura Securities’ analysts have cut their outlook for another round of stimulus in September to 40%.

With about two hours left in the trading day the Dow is up 4 points, the Nasdaq is 7 points higher and the S&P is up about 0.30 points. [Read more...]

Active Stocks in Midday Trading: ASTM, ZLTQ, ANN, USU, DYN, HEK

stock market todayAastrom Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASTM) is up 20.88% today at $2.20. ASTM has traded 2.7 million shares so far today, more than 10 times its average volume. ASTM shares are up today after the company completed $40 million in financing. The company has a market cap of 86.54 million.

Zeltiq Aesthetics, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZLTQ) is up 14.13% in midday trading at $6.46. ZLTQ has traded 770 thousand shares so far today, 3 times its average volume. Canaccord Genuity initiated coverage on Zeltiq today and gave it a buy rating. The company has a market cap of 219.33 million. [Read more...]

Ann Inc. (ANN) Reports 3Q Skyrocketing Profits of 49%

Ann Taylor and Loft parent Ann Inc. (NYSE:ANN) revealed a stronger third-quarter profit that trumped Wall Street expectations, as e-commerce sales and strong in-store Loft revenue helped to offset higher expenses.

Ann Inc. based out of New York posted net income of $32.28 million, or 62 cents a share, compared with $24.2 million, or 41 cents a share, in the same quarter last year.
The 49% increase in earnings per share surpassed average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of 57 cents.

Ann Inc. reported revenue for the three months ended Oct. 29 was $564 million, up from $505.3 million a year ago, just missing the Street’s view of $566.5 million. The results were lifted by 5.5% growth in comparable sales, or those at stores open more than a year.

Kay Krill, President and CEO commented, “ANN INC. delivered another outstanding quarter, generating our fourth consecutive quarter of double-digit sales growth and our ninth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth in earnings and diluted earnings per share. Looking ahead to the balance of the fiscal year, we are on track to achieve another year of significant growth in sales and earnings.

“By brand, LOFT generated exceptional results, as compelling product and effective marketing drove significantly higher sales and profitability across all LOFT channels. The Ann Taylor brand delivered solid performance, reflecting outstanding results in the e-commerce channel, solid performance in the factory channel and softer-than-expected sales in the stores channel.”

Total net sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2011 were $564.0 million, compared with net sales of $505.3 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2010. By brand, net sales across all channels of the Ann Taylor brand totaled $229.7 million in the third quarter of 2011, compared with net sales of $223.2 million in the third quarter of 2010. At the LOFT brand, net sales across all channels were $334.3 million in the third quarter of 2011, compared with net sales of $282.1 million in the third quarter of 2010.

Ann Inc. reported the company ended the quarter with approximately $140 million in cash and cash equivalents.

ANN INC. is the parent Company of Ann Taylor and LOFT, two of the leading women’s specialty retail fashion brands in the United States. The Company operates 950 Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Factory, LOFT and LOFT Outlet stores in 46 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico as of October 29, 2011, as well as online at AnnTaylor.com and LOFT.com.

Shares of Ann Inc. were trading at 23.84, down 5.73% at 12:29 pm ET on Friday.

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