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In the news: Upset Weight Wachers workers, HP selling webOS, earnings from Home Depot, Steve Madden and more

Headlines this morning include earnings from Home Depot, United Therapeutics, Steve Madden and Cracker Barrel, Hewlett-Packard planning to sell its webOS unit to LG, unhappy workers at Weight Watchers and a former board member ordered to repay almost $7 million in legal fees to Goldman Sachs.

Home Depot
Home-Improvement retailer Home Depot (HD) reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of 68 cents per share on revenues of $18.25 billion. Analysts, on average, had expected the company to earn 64 cents per share on $17.72 billion in revenue. Same-store sales during the quarter rose 7 percent globally and 7.1 percent in the U.S. The company also announced a plan to repurchase $17 billion in common stock and a 34 percent increase in its quarterly dividend.

Weight Watchers
Weight-loss company Weight Watchers (WTW) is the latest company to face a backlash from low-wage workers. Employees of the company say the $18 base rate paid for running meetings has not been raised in more than 10 years and they are also not given a mileage reimbursement for the first 40 miles they drive each day. The New York Times reports some workers are upset that their pay can be roughly minimum wage, or less, while the company spends lots of money on television advertisements featuring highly paid endorsers like Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Hudson.

United Therapeutics
Drug-maker United Therapeutics (UTHR) reported fourth-quarter earnings of $1.60 per share, or $2.42 on an adjusted basis. Wall Street had expected the company to earn $1.28 per share. Revenue was $243.8 million, which topped estimates by nearly $10 million. Revenue from all three of the company's pulmonary hypertension products increased during the period as more people got prescriptions for the drugs.

Steve Madden
Net income at footwear maker Steve Madden (SHOO) was 74 cents per share in the fourth quarter on sales of $315.5 million. Analysts expected 71 cents on $315.2 million in sales. Same-store sales in the period rose 5.9% while gross margins also rose, hitting 39.3 percent from 35.5 percent. Looking forward, the company expects to earn from $2.95 to $3.08 per share with revenue growing between 6 percent and 8 percent in fiscal 2013. That implies revenue of about $1.3 billion to $1.33 billion. Analysts had expected earnings of $3.08 per share on $1.37 billion in sales.

Technology firm Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) is selling the webOS software it paid a pretty penny for when it acquired Palm for $1.8 billion three year ago. South Korean electronics company LG Electronics will acquire the unit, which will initially be used in a series of internet-connected televisions, but could be applied to other devices as well. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but HP has already taken $1.6 billion in charges related to the Palm acquisition. In addition to acquiring the core of webOS, LG is also getting a team of programmers in the deal.

Goldman Sachs
Former Goldman Sachs (GS) director Rajat Gupta was ordered by a federal judge to reimburse the bank for $6.22 million to help the bank cover legal expenses connected to his criminal trial for insider trading. Goldman attempted to acquire $6.91 million, but judge Jed Rakoff said the  bank was entitled to 90% of that. Gupta is currently appealing his conviction and two-year prison sentence in connection that he leaked confidential information to Raj Rajaratnam, the manager of hedge fund Galleon Group.

Cracker Barrel
Restaurant and old country store Cracker Barrel (CBRL) reported earnings of $1.47 per share, or $1.43 on an adjusted basis. Analysts had expected the company to earn $1.24 per share. Revenue was $7.02.7 million, up from $694.1 million. Same-store restaurant sales rose by 3.3 percent while same-store retail sales rose by 3.1 percent. Looking forward, the company said it expects earnings between $4.60 and $4.80 per share  in fiscal 2013, compared to a prior guidance for $4.50 to $4.70. Revenue is expected to be $2.6 billion to $2.65 billion. Analysts expect $4.65 per share on sales of $2.63 billion.

Bobby Raines

Bobby Raines is the Managing Editor of the Market Intelligence Center. He has degrees in Mass Communications and History from Emory & Henry College. Bobby worked at a mid-sized daily newspaper before making a switch to covering the financial industry full time in the years leading up to the financial crisis. He has been a member of the Fresh Brewed Media team since 2011 and has served as a writer and analyst. You can write to him at braines@marketintelligencecenter.com or follow him on Twitter: @BRatMICenter.