Markets & Finance

Zale CEO DiNicola to Retire


RBC Capital reiterates outperform on Stellent (STEL), saying business momentum is healthy, and the company is tracking to estimates.

Zale (ZLC) announced the chairman and CEO Robert DiNicola will retire. Merrill downgraded to near and long term buy from strong buy.

Fleming (FLM) says Kmart's closure of 14% of its store base only affects 9% of Fleming sales to Kmart -- less than 2.5% of Fleming's projected 2002 total sales. S&P keeps sell.

Alpharma (ALO) posted a $0.34 fourth quarter loss versus $0.43 earnings per share from operations, citing a transition in its Animal Health division. Alpharma sees breakeven Q1 2002 EPS, and $0.27 Q2 EPS. The company expects Q3 and Q4 to be well above year-ago levels. The drug maker also recalled Epinephrine, and based on current information, S&P thinks corrective action will be necessary.

Biogen (BGEN) is trading lower in premarket after Serono's (SRA) Rebif received FDA approval. Rebif, a treatment for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis, gained marketing approval by demonstrating clinical superiority over Biogen's Avonex in a study.

Schering-Plough (SGP) says the FDA accepted for filing its supplemental New Drug Applications to switch all indications and market all formulations of its Claritin brand of nonsedating antihistamine as over-the-counter products. Merrill downgraded to near-term neutral from buy. S&P maintains neutral.

Rent-A-Center RCII sees 1.00-$1.05 Q1 EPS, up 10% from prior guidance. Separately, the company agreed in principle to resolve all class action gender discrimination suits. SWS Securities raised estimates and the prices target.

Robinson Humphrey upgraded National Processing (NAP) to buy from outperform.

Albany Molecular (AMRI) is seen lower on news Schering-Plough (SGP) filed to bring Claritin to OTC status. Albany gets royalties from allergy drug Allegra sales. First Albany says the impact on Albany is hard to quantify.

Lehman sees a compelling buying opportunity on Alloy's (ALOY) pullback.

Lehman upgraded D&K Healthcare (DKWD) to strong buy from buy, and raised the $66 target to $70.

Merrill Lynch downgraded Granite Construction (GVA) to near term reduce/sell from neutral. On Thursday California voters approved the transfer of gas sales tax from a general fund to the state transportation fund.

Sun Microsystems (SUNW) reaffirmed prior guidance of slight sequential revenue growth for Q3, but this dependent on order rates in March. S&P, JP Morgan and CS First Boston maintain their buy ratings. Goldman maintains its recommended list rating.

Krispy Kreme (KKD) posted $0.14 vs. $0.08 Q4 EPS on 13% systemwide same store sales rise, and a 43% total revenue rise. The company sees $0.62 fiscal 2003 EPS $0.01 above consensus.

Intel Corp. (INTC) narrowed its Q1 revenue range to $6.6 billion-$6.9 billion from $6.4 billion to $7.0 billion; and says gross margins will be at the top-end of previous range. S&P maintains hold.

Williams Cos. (WMB) sees $2.15-$2.30 2002 EPS, including a financial impact from all restructuring steps, and $0.40-$0.45 EPS for Q1. Williams also expects to deliver 15% year over year EPS growth beginning in 2003.


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