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Prescriptions help boost Walgreen profit 10%

The pharmacy of a Walgreen's store in New York. (JB Reed/Bloomberg)

Buoyed by an increase in the number of prescriptions it fills, Walgreen Co. this morning reported a 10 percent increase in its second-quarter profits.

The Deerfield-based drug store giant said earnings grew to $739 million, or 80 cents a share, compared to $669 million, or 68 cents a share, in the quarter ended Feb. 28. Revenues rose 8.9 percent to $18.5 billion.

Still, the price of Walgreen Co. shares fell $2.76, or 6.6 percent, to $39.21 a share on Tuesday because some analysts were unhappy with the company’s profit margins and higher expenses in the quarter. Selling, general and administrative expenses jumped 8 percent in the quarter to $4.1 billion. Get the full story »

Neutral Tandem stock drops on 4Q results

Interconnection-services provider Neutral Tandem Inc. misses fourth quarter estimates on higher expenses, delivering a blow to its stock Monday.

Shares were down 18 percent in late afternoon trading, to $13.86. Get the full story »

Grainger sales rise 11% in February

W.W. Grainger Inc., a supplier of industrial maintenance and safety products, said Friday that daily sales in February rose 11 percent compared with a year ago. Get the full story »

Ulta stock soars on strong 4Q profits

Shares in Ulta Salon Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc. jumped more than 10 percent, to $46.47, in early afternoon trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Late Thursday, the company reported that its  fiscal fourth-quarter profit rose  49 percent and core results topped its upbeat expectations amid continued strength in same-store sales.

The company also forecast current-quarter earnings that beat the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters

Same-store sales propel Ulta’s profits up 49%

Ulta Salon Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc.’s  fiscal fourth-quarter profit jumped 49 percent, and core results topped its upbeat expectations amid continued strength in same-store sales.

Shares edged up 0.9 percent, to $42.50, after hours as the company also forecast current-quarter earnings of 29 to 31 cents a share, topping the 27-cent average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. The company predicted sales of $364 million to $370 million, compared to analysts’ $371 million. Get the full story »

Navistar reports 1Q loss on weaker sales

Navistar International Corp. reported a fiscal-first-quarter loss as results weakened at each of the commercial-truck maker’s main manufacturing segments. Still, Chairman and Chief Executive Daniel C. Ustian said encouraging industry trends should push full-year earnings to the high end of its previously projected guidance of $5 to $6 a share. Get the full story »

A.M. Castle Q4 loss narrows as pricing improves

Specialty metals and plastics distribution company A.M. Castle & Co posted a narrower quarterly loss on increased demand and improved pricing.

The Franklin Park, Illinois-based company said it expects sales growth rate in 2011 to be similar to 2010. Get the full story »

Taxes cuts into fiscal 4Q profits at Toys ‘R’ Us

Toys “R” Us Inc.’s fiscal fourth-quarter profit slid 15 percent due to a higher income-tax expense, which offset the toy retailer’s improved sales and margins.

On Friday, Chairman and Chief Executive Jerry Storch said the company has made investments throughout the year to drive growth, including the expansion of the e-commerce business internationally and increased levels of service in the company’s stores. Get the full story »

AB InBev earnings rise on higher sales

Some of InBev's brands. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

U.S. and Brazilian drinkers are paying more for their beer and moving to expensive brands, according to Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer.

The maker of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck’s reported a better-than-expected 22 percent improvement in fourth-quarter core profit on Thursday as higher prices and cost cuts offset lower volumes in the U.S. and slowing growth in Brazil.

It saw a first-quarter drag on volumes as high U.S. unemployment and floods in Brazil kept drinkers out of bars, but improvement thereafter. Get the full story »

Sauer Danfoss stock surges on Q4 profit

Shares of Sauer-Danfoss surged 28 percent on Thursday, a day after the maker of hydraulic and electronic systems for mobile equipment swung to a profit and forecast a strong 2011. Get the full story »

Ace Hardware, True Value report rise in 4Q results

From Crain’s Chicago Business | Oak Brook-based Ace Hardware and Chicago-based True Value Co. both reported strong fourth-quarter surges in earnings, but the gains weren’t enough to push the companies into the black for the year.

State Farm profit up; underwriting loss reported

Underwriting losses at the massive car-insurance business operated by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. widened in 2010, even as the biggest home and auto insurer in the U.S. raised prices. Get the full story »

Penney beats Street amid questions of rising prices

J.C. Penney Co. raised investor concerns about how much more profitable it can be after the department story operator said many of its expenses would stay flat as a percentage of sales this year.

Analysts also questioned how well Penney’s price-conscious shoppers will contend with higher gasoline and clothing prices. Get the full story »

Cobra Electronics reports rise in Q4 profit

Cobra Electronics Corporation, the Chicago-based mobile communication and navigation manufacturer, reported an increase in fourth-quarter net earnings today, compared with a year ago. The increase also served to boost the company into the black for the full year. Get the full story »

Sears continues to struggle as 4Q profit sinks

Sears' same-store sales fell 1.2 percent at U.S. stores open at least one year. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

Sears Holdings Corp.’s fourth-quarter profit fell 13 percent as the retailer continues to struggle with declining sales of appliances and apparel and its namesake Sears department stores.

In his annual letter to shareholders Thursday, Sears Chairman Edward Lampert called the financial results “unacceptable” and outlined a vision for the Hoffman Estates-based retailer operating smaller stores and expanding online. Get the full story »