Markets & Finance

Sniffing Trouble at Aviron


Shares of Aviron (AVIR) plunged following the resumption of trading July 30. Trading was halted on July 27. A U.S. FDA committee says data for the company's FluMist is not sufficient to support the safety of the vaccine at this time. S&P cut its opinion on Aviron to hold. CE Unterberg put its model under review. Morgan Stanley cut its price target.

Adobe Systems (ADBE) shares were lower after the company said its Q3 revenue forecast of flat growth could be at risk due to weaker economic conditions. S&P and UBS Warburg reiterated their strong buy ratings on the stock.

AG Edwards upgraded DST Systems (DST) to buy from accumulate on weakness. The company was unavailable for comment.

Humana Inc. (HUM) posted $0.15 vs. $0.11 Q2 EPS despite a 12% revenue decline.

Mercury General (MCY) posted $0.49 vs. $0.47 Q2 EPS on a 12% rise in net premiums written.

Pemco Aviation (PAGI) posted $0.84 vs. $0.59 Q2 EPS despite a 9.6% revenue decline.

AG Edwards downgraded Cornerstone Properties (CNO) to sell from buy.

Salomon SB upgraded Deere & Co. (DE) and CNH Global (CNH) to buy from neutral.

Heller Financial (HF) agreed to be acquired by the GE Capital unit of General Electric (GE) for $5.3 billion in cash, or $53.75 per share.

US Airways (U) and UAL Corp. (UAL) announced the termination of the proposed deal whereby UAL would acquire US Airways. UAL agreed to pay a $50 million termination fee.

Tommy Hilfiger (TOM) posted $0.10 vs. $0.10 Q1 EPS on 11% lower revenues. With contribution of Tommy Europe, the company believes the $1.60 fiscal 2002 EPS consensus estimate is achievable. The company says the Q2 consensus EPS estimate should be reduced by $0.01-$0.02.

Terra Networks (TRLY) posted a narrower EBITDA loss for Q2 on a 34% revenue rise. Terra notes euro 180 million Q2 revenue surpassed the euro 165-170 million guidance given by the company.

Goldman Sachs reported downngraded its rating on Lehman Bros. (LEH).

Merrill Lynch reportedly downgraded DaimlerChrysler (DCX) to near term reduce from neutral.

An FDA committee unanimously recommended that the agency approve Eli Lilly's (LLY) Forteo as treatment for osteoporosis in postmenopausal women; the committee issued a 5-5 split vote as to treatment to increase bone mass in men with the disease.

Lydall Inc. (LDL) posted $0.20 vs. $0.18 Q2 EPS from continuing operations despite 14% lower sales. For Q3, the company does not expect to meet year ago's $0.22 2000 EPS from continuing operations; the company lowered its 2001 EPS from continuing operations forecast to $0.62-$0.72.

Williams Cos. (WMB) posted $0.69 vs. $0.63 Q2 EPS on a 20% revenue rise. The company is comfortable raising previous EPS guidance for 2001 to approach the current Street estimate of $2.32.

Gene Logic (GLGC) posted a $0.35 Q2 loss per share vs. a $0.19 loss as higher operating expenses offset a 41% revenue rise. The company says the increase in revenue was the result of subscriptions to its GeneExpress Suite of databases.

Swiss Re agreed to acquire Lincoln National's (LNC) reinsurance operation for $2 billion.

Exelixis Inc. (EXEL) filed a shelf registration for $150 million in stock.


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