Praxair jumps while Ethan Allen slumps

Two of Danbury’s most prominent publicly traded companies reported earnings Wednesday and got different reactions from investors.

Industrial gas supplier Praxair saw its shares jump more than 3 percent topping $113 for much of the day. But it settles for a gain of 2.88 percent adding $3.16 to close at $112.77. Furniture seller Ethan Allen Interiors dropped more than 5 percent on the day. Ethan Allen lost $1.74, or 5.46 percent, Wednesday to close at $30.12. (On a side note, Danbury-based FuelCell Energy finally cracked the $1 mark again, adding 5 cents to close at $1.04 Wednesday.)

Ethan reported net income fell 84 percent from a year ago, but the number seems a little misleading as the company logged a one-time $23 million tax benefit last year.

Retail sales were up slightly in the quarter for Ethan Allen.

At Praxair, earnings were also down from last year, but only slightly and that came because of charges related to the devaluation of Venezuelan currency. Overall, the company reported net income of $414 million for the quarter, or $1.38 per share. And Praxair reported a 2,000 tons per day deal in Alberta for Oxygen.

But William Blair analyst Ryan Merkel said the jump in shares was most likely a result of guidance that was not as bad as feared and “Praxair pointed to signs of positive momentum in the key Brazil market.”

William Blair has Praxair rated as outperform and, if Brazil is real, Merkel expects this could get the stock moving.

Praxair’s board also declared a quarterly dividend of 60 cents per share, unchanged from the previous quarter.  The dividend is payable on June 17, 2013 to shareholders of record on June 7, 2013.

Rob Varnon