Earnings: Barnes & Noble | Bear Stearns

Book Sales Boost Barnes & Noble

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Barnes & Noble Inc. (BKS) Thursday said quarterly net profit rose about 6 percent, helped by strong sales of books.

The No. 1 book retailer's fourth-quarter net income was $123.0 million, or $1.76 per share, compared with $115.6 million, or $1.56 per share, a year before.

Barnes & Noble had earlier forecast a net profit of $1.72 per share to $1.76 per share.

Excluding a charge related to the impairment of assets from underperforming stores, Barnes & Noble earned $1.87 per share.

Fourth-quarter sales rose to $1.75 billion from $1.67 billion in the year-ago period, as sales increases at the company's namesake stores offset declines at its B. Dalton stores, due to store closings.

For the first quarter and full year the company expects same-store sales at Barnes & Noble stores to increase in the low single-digit range.

The company said it expects earnings per share of 10 cents to 14 cents for the first quarter and $2.20 to $2.30 for the year. The forecast includes 9 cents per share in expenses related to a new distribution center but excludes stock option expenses.

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Bear Stearns Profit Up 36%, Beating Expecations

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bear Stearns Cos. (BSC) said Thursday its quarterly profit rose 36 percent, easily beating expectations, on strong equities activity and investment banking results.

Profit jumped to $514 million, or $3.54 a share, in the fiscal first quarter ended Feb. 28, from $379 million, or $2.64 a share, a year earlier. Net revenues was $2.2 billion, up 19 percent from last year.

Analysts, on average, expected earnings of $2.96 a share on revenue of $2.06 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

Earlier this week, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) set the bar for investment bank earnings, when it posted record profit and revenue that trounced expectations.

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. followed with its own record profit, but failed to beat Wall Street estimates by as wide a margin as Goldman.

The Goldman and Lehman results reflected an exceptionally strong trading environment, booming merger and acquisition activity, and rising investment gains.

Sales of equity derivatives helped push institutional equities net revenues to a record $488 million, up 56 percent from the year-ago quarter.

Strong merger and acquisitions activity pushed investment banking revenues up 36 percent to $297 million.

Fixed income revenues, always the biggest driver of Bear's results, rose 3 percent to a record $889 million.

Bear Stearns shares gained $1.79, or 1.3 percent, to $136 on the Inet electronic trading system from the close of $134.21 Wednesday.