Tickers: April 23
A Polk County judge has declined to reconsider a 3-year-old lawsuit brought by Phoenix C & D Recycling Inc. against Metro Waste Authority. In January, District Judge Donna Paulsen rejected a Phoenix claim for $5 million in damages and other allegations related to Metro Waste’s decision to reject ground-up construction and demolition debris at its landfill in eastern Polk County. On Tuesday, Paulsen rejected a post-trial motion to reconsider elements of the January ruling.
Iowa Workforce Development Deputy Director Joseph Walsh was scheduled to testify this morning before the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee on the impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on unemployed Iowans. Walsh was expected to focus on issues including the recently passed unemployment modernization bill and the need to invest in upgrading Iowa workers’ skills. Iowa was the first state to pass all of the provisions attached to the Unemployment Insurance Modernization Act, which was part of the federal recovery bill; the changes give Iowans an additional $25 per week in unemployment benefits.
Dice Holdings Inc. reported that revenues in the first quarter declined 25 percent to $29.6 million from the first quarter of 2008 due to a significant decline in recruitment activity, which affected Urbandale-based Dice.com and eFinancialCareers. Operating income was down 26 percent to $7.7 million, which included a $7.3 million, or 25 percent, reduction in operating expenses. Net income was $3.9 million, or 6 cents per share, compared with $4.3 million, or 6 cents per share, a year ago. Since the first of the year, the company has utilized its cash to reduce its debt by more than $30 million.
HNI Corp. had a net loss for the first quarter of $11.9 million, or 27 cents per share, as sales declined 28 percent to $405.7 million. Acquisitions added about $10.8 million, or 1.8 percentage points, to total sales. Total selling and administrative expenses, including restructuring charges, were down $32 million, or 18.5 percent, as the company implemented several cost-control initiatives. However, it recorded $5.1 million in restructuring costs related to the shutdown and consolidation of its production operations in South Gate, Calif., and closure of several hearth retail and distribution locations. A conference call took place this morning. For a replay, dial (800) 475-6701, access code 995174.
Principal Financial Group Inc.’s shares rose above $14 and were up more than 2 percent this morning after a Fox-Pitt Kelton analyst began coverage of the company with an “outperform” rating, the Associated Press reported. Analyst Mark Finkelstein set a target price of $20 on Principal’s stock and said in a research note that the company has “one of the most valuable franchises” among life insurers and is strong in its pension and asset management businesses as well. However, he noted that the Des Moines-based insurer faces higher risk from its investment portfolio and exposure to mortgage-backed securities than many of its competitors and faces short-term debt issues, including commercial paper obligations. Finkelstein believes Principal needs at least $1 billion in capital, but could likely get it through sources such as the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program or other forms of debt or equity.
Muscatine-based Iowa First Bancshares Corp. had net income in the first quarter of $1.04 million, or 91 cents per share, a first-quarter record. A year earlier, the company’s net income was $981,000, or 84 cents per share. Earnings were up despite $270,000 in higher provisions for loan losses. The bank had an unprecedented volume of loans underwritten and sold to secondary markets during the quarter. Meanwhile, total assets declined $11.5 million, or 2.8 percent, while total deposits decreased $16.5 million, or 5 percent, compared with the end of first quarter 2008.
Rockwell Collins Inc.’s board of directors has declared a quarterly dividend of 24 cents per share on its common stock, payable June 8 to shareholders of record on May 18.