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Major Movers on March 12; PAY, URBN, YUM, COST, AAPL, RHT

Shares of VeriFone Systems Inc. (NYSE: PAY) gained on Tuesday after the card payment machine maker said that its CEO Douglas Bergeron will step down from his position. Bergeron, who served as the CEO for VeriFone for last 12 years, will be replaced by current chairman Richard McGinn on an interim basis. The Company said that it has formed a committee to find Bergeron’s successor.

Shares of Urban Outfitters Inc. (NASDAQ: URBN) edged up after the clothing retailer, late last evening,  reported more than twofold increase in quarterly profits, thanks to strong online sales although earnings per share fell a penny short of Street’s estimate. For the fiscal fourth quarter ended January 31, Urban Outfitters reported earnings of $82.5 million or 56 cents per share, up from a profit of $39.3 million or 27 cents per share, in the same quarter of last fiscal year.  Revenue during the period climbed to $856.8 million from $730.6 million, in the year-earlier quarter. Analysts polled by FactSet Research, on average, were expecting earnings of 57 cents a share on revenue of $850.5 million.

Shares of Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) gained on Tuesday after the parent company of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut said that same-store sales in China fell less-than-expected in the months of January and February although Chinese consumers still remain reluctant to eat at its KFC stores following last year’s negative publicity.

Back in December, a TV report in China disclosed that the food regulatory authority of China found high amount of hormones and antibiotics in some of its chicken products at KFC stores located at different places. Subsequently, widespread call for a boycott of KFC products in China weighed heavily on its sales, with last two weeks in December witnessing sharp plunge in sales. At that time, Yum Brands issued a profit warning, saying that same-store-sales in China might decline by 25% in first two months of 2013; however, the Company said that it slumped 24% at KFC stores while at Pizza Hut stores it rose 2%.

Shares of Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ: COST) edged higher on Tuesday after the warehouse club chain reported strong fiscal second quarter results. Costco, which has consistently handed better-than-expected quarterly results in the recent past amid shaky macroeconomic environment in the U.S., prompting more and more Americans to make purchases at bulk, benefitted one again in the recently concluded quarter. Higher gas prices, increase in payroll taxes and tax refunds delays has taken its toll on the top line of many retailers in first two months of 2013, however Costco benefitted as it sells merchandizes at much cheaper prices. Revenue during the period soared 8.3% while revenue from membership fess jumped 15%.

Shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) fell on Tuesday after Jefferies lowered its price target on the stock to $420 from $500, but maintained a “hold” rating.

Shares of Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT) slumped after  Citigroup slashed its rating on the business software maker to “neutral” from “buy” , citing absence of any major source for strong revenue growth.

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