Earnings Reports for Aug. 17

Target said net income before items in the second quarter ended July 29 rose to $257 million, or 28 cents a diluted share, compared with $228 million, or 24 cents a diluted share. Year-ago figures reflect a two-for-one stock split on July 19.

Analysts polled by research firm First Call/Thomson Financial had expected Minneapolis-based Target to report a profit of 28 cents a share.

“We are pleased with our financial performance in the second quarter,” Bob Ulrich, chairman and chief executive officer of Target, said in a statement. “In addition, we remain comfortable that we will deliver full-year results consistent with our stated goal of 15 percent average annual earnings per share growth.”

Total revenues in the quarter rose to $8.25 billion, compared with $7.69 billion in the year-ago quarter. Sales in its upscale discount Target Stores unit rose 9.9 percent to $6.5 billion.

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Ralph Lauren Posts Better Bottom Line

Polo Ralph Lauren, the clothing designer and retailer, said today that its first-quarter earnings per share rose by one penny, beating analysts’ expectations, though net income slipped.

Polo said its earnings in the three months ended July 1 were $24.0 million, or 25 cents per diluted share, versus $24.1 million, or 24 cents per share, in the year-earlier period, which included a $3,967,000 or 4 cent per share change from the cumulative effect of an accounting change. Average shares outstanding dipped to 97.1 million in the current year period from 99.5 million a year before.

Analysts had been expecting a profit of 24 cents per share, according to research firm First Call/Thomson Financial.

Net revenue rose 12 percent to $487.3 million from $434.4 million a year before. Licensing revenue rose to $52.4 million from $47.9 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2000, driven by the acquisition of its European licensee, increased sales in the full-price Polo retail stores and strong demand in the women’s and children’s licensing businesses.

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United Loses $50 Million Over Labor Woes

United Airlines — which has canceled thousands of flights because of labor woes, bad weather and air traffic control system problems — said today that crew-related disruptions cost the world’s largest airline $50 million in the second quarter.

The company, whose parent is UAL, is trying to mitigate the impact by reducing its flight schedule by about 2 percent through September, according to UAL’s quarterly report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

United canceled 614 flights over the weekend and had many hundreds more delayed. It will cancel 3 percent of its flights, or about 2,000 of them, in September. BACK TO TOP

Applied Materials’ Income Doubles

Applied Materials, the No. 1 maker of semiconductor manufacturing equipment, reported fiscal third-quarter profits today that breezed past expectations, paced by an 83-percent surge in sales.

For the period ended July 30, Applied said that net income more than doubled to $603.8 million, or 70 cents a share, from profit from operations of $256.1 million, or 31 cents a share, a year ago. Sales rose to $2.73 billion from $1.49 billion. There were no one-time items in the just-completed quarter.

On that basis, the results topped the consensus analyst forecast of 68 cents a share, according to First Call/Thomson Financial, which tracks such figures.

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