– BAD DAY FOR LJ: Shares of Hong Kong-based jewelry manufacturer and retailer LJ International Inc. lost more than one-seventh of their value in over-the-counter trading Monday after the firm reported first-quarter earnings lifted only by a real estate gain and issued guidance for lower sales and earnings in the second quarter. Net income rose 69.1 percent during the three months ended March 31 to $1.1 million, or 5 cents a diluted share, from $627,000, or 3 cents, in the year-ago period. Excluding special items, such as a $2.2 million gain on the sale of investment property, earnings per share would have been 2 cents. Sales fell 10.9 percent to $30.4 million from $34.1 million in the 2007 period. For the second quarter, LJ said it expects net income, excluding a one-time litigation expense of about $400,000, of between 2 and 3 cents a diluted share, versus 5 cents in the 2007 period. Revenues are expected to drop to $31 million from $33 million in last year’s quarter. Yo Chuan Yih, chairman and chief executive officer, said the company continues to expect a profitable year despite “global economic weakness.” LJ shares ended the day at $2.79, down 48 cents, or 14.7 percent.
– NEW ALMAY FACE: Revlon Inc.’s Almay division has signed actress Leslie Bibb as its newest brand ambassador. Along with existing Almay representatives Elaine Irwin-Mellencamp and model Marina Theiss, Bibb will represent Almay worldwide, appearing in global multimedia campaigns — including TV, print, in-store and Internet efforts — for new and existing products. Bibb has appeared in films such as “Iron Man” and “Talladega Nights.” Her next film, “Confessions of a Shopaholic” is due next year.