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Early Edge: Titan Machinery, Digital River, Apple Inc., and VeriFone Systems

TITN reports earnings, DRIV buys back stock, AAPL takes its patent spat to Tokyo, and PAY prepares to join the MID

by 9/8/2011 9:21:38 AM
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Checking out a few of today's hot stocks on the move, we've got the latest quarterly results from Titan Machinery Inc. (TITN), a stock buyback plan from Digital River, Inc. (DRIV), an update on the brewing patent battle between Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Samsung, and a Standard & Poor's seal of approval for VeriFone Systems, Inc. (PAY).

Titan Machinery

Titan Machinery Inc. (TITN - 27.36) banked a second-quarter profit of $6.29 million, or 30 cents per share, doubling its year-ago earnings of $2.71 million, or 15 cents per share. Revenue for the quarter climbed 48% to $310.8 million, while gross margin expanded to 18% from 17.2%. Analysts, on average, were expecting TITN to earn just 26 cents per share on $293 million in revenue.

TITN price chartLooking ahead, TITN hiked its full-year earnings forecast to a range between $1.56 and $1.66 per share, with revenue expected at $1.33 billion to $1.405 billion. The guidance may be a bit tepid for Wall Street's taste, with consensus expectations for fiscal 2012 calling for a profit of $1.64 per share on $1.41 billion in revenue.

Indeed, TITN has shed 1.3% in pre-market trading, with the stock at risk of surrendering a hard-won foothold above its 120-day moving average. This formerly supportive trendline was conquered on Wednesday for the first time since July 11.

If analysts are unimpressed by TITN's full-year forecast, the stock could be vulnerable to negative notes. According to Zacks, the shares have garnered five "strong buy" ratings from brokerage firms, compared to just two "holds" and zero "sells."

Digital River

Late Wednesday, Digital River, Inc. (DRIV - 18.99) announced that its board has approved a share repurchase plan worth up to $100 million. "This stock buyback plan reaffirms our confidence in the company's strategy and long-term growth potential and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to increasing shareholder value," said CEO Joel Ronning in a statement. No time limit has been set for the completion of the buyback plan.

DRIV has surged 9% ahead of the bell, putting the shares on pace to break out above their 10-day and 20-day moving averages. These short-term trendlines have pressured the stock dramatically lower since mid-July.

Given the equity's 44.8% year-to-date deficit, it's no surprise to find plenty of bears betting against DRIV. Despite a 14.3% decline during the past month, short interest still accounts for a hefty 9.9% of the security's float, representing four times DRIV's average daily trading volume.

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