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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