Will These 3 Company Earnings Spark a Rally or Sell Off?

Walgreens Co. (NYSE:WAG): Published its results for the third quarter today. The retail drug store operator and general merchandiser recorded a rise net income to $603 million (65 cents/share) vs. $463 million (47 cents/share) in the same quarter a year earlier, a gain of 30.2% from the year earlier quarter. Walgreens inched out analyst estimates in both earnings per share and revenues, (EPS at $.62 per share v. $.61 expected, revenues of $18.37 billion v. $18.33 expected).  The company has now seen net income rise in three-straight quarters. In the second quarter, net income rose 10.5% and in the first quarter, the figure rose 18.6%. Gross margins grew 0.4 percentage point to 28.1%. President and CEO Greg Wasson commented on the results, saying, “We are pleased with our very solid performance in the third quarter as we were able to meet our financial goal of double-digit growth in earnings per share. Our business strategies resulted in strong quarterly sales and increased cash flow.” Walgreens’ shares were down over 4% in trading today.

Lookout for competitors: drugstore.com, inc. (NASDAQ:DSCM), Graymark Healthcare Inc (NASDAQ:GRMH), CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE:CVS), Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE:RAD), Target (NYSE:TGT), Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Medco Health Solutions Inc. (NYSE:MHS).

Barnes and Noble Inc. (NYSE:BKS): reported its results for the fourth quarter today. The booksellers’ losses widened to $59.4 million ($1.04/diluted share) from $32 million (loss of 58 cents/share) in the same quarter a year earlier, despite revenues that rose 4% to $1.37 billion YoY. The company fell short of the mean analyst estimate of a loss of 91 cents/share. Estimates ranged from a loss of 67 cents per share to a loss of $1.09 per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $1.39 billion. BKS shares were hammered in trading today, closing down nearly 6%.

Watch for these competitors: Books-A-Million, Inc. (NASDAQ:BAMM), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY), Overstock.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:OSTK), Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT), Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ:COST), Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY), Target (NYSE:TGT) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).

Carnival Corporation (NYSE:CCL): The cruise and vacation company operating leisure cruise ships reported results for the second quarter today, beating the mean analyst estimate of 23 cents/share. Estimates ranged from 19 cents per share to 24 cents per share. It beat the average revenue estimate of $3.52 billion. Net income for the cruise line fell to $206 million or 26 cents per diluted share from $252 million or 32 cents per diluted share in the year earlier quarter. A drop of 18.3% YoY. Chairman and CEO Micky Arison spoke on the company’s most recent quarter, saying, “Our North America brands’ revenue yields increased three percent in the second quarter while yields for our Europe, Australia and Asia brands were up slightly (constant dollars), having been affected by the geo-political events which unfolded in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as the earthquake and nuclear disaster in Japan. The revenue yield improvement was more than offset by higher fuel prices which cost the company approximately $150 million, or $0.19 per share.” CCL shares ended the day up over 4.2%.

Competitors to Watch: Carnival plc (NYSE:CUK), Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE:RCL), Wyndham Worldwide Corp. (NYSE:WYN), Priceline.com (NASDAQ:PCLN).