Markets & Finance

Viropharma Delayed as FDA Rejects Cold Treatment


Viropharma (VPHM) is delayed after an FDA advisory panel reportedly rejected the company's Picovir for the treatment of the common cold in adults.

Nabi Biopharmaceuticals (NABI) will redeem all of its 6 1/2% Convertible Notes for cash, and notes that the redemption will eliminate all its debt.

S&P cut the long-term corporate credit ratings on U.K. utility Avon Energy Partners Holdings to triple B from triple B+. Firstenergy (FE) is the current owner of AEPH, although Aquila is set to buy 79.9% of the company.

RBC Capital raised the price target, and reiterated its outperform rating on J Jill Group (JILL). On Monday the company upped its Q1 EPS guidance to $0.16-$0.18 on $72M sales.

XM Satellite (XMSR) is seen lower on an item in its 10-K that an auditor raised as a "going concern" issue.

Resources Connection (RECN) posted $0.12 vs. $0.19 Q3 EPS from operations on a 14% revenue drop. Merrill downgraded to near-term neutral from buy.

United Rentals (URI)announced the sale of eight million shares by senior management.

Goldman Sachs (GS)posted a better than expected $0.98 vs. $1.40 Q1 EPS despite a 40% revenue decline. BoA initiates coverage with buy, Merrill Lynch with strong buy, and Morgan Stanley with market perform. Salomon Smith Barney kept its neutral rating.

Based upon sales trends through mid-March, CDW Computer (CDWC) projected Q1 results to be at the mid-to-lower end of earlier guidance of $975M-$1.025B sales, and $0.43- $0.47 EPS.

Alloy (ALOY) posted $0.21 vs. $0.04 Q4 EPS (pro forma, basic) on 51% higher revenues, and sees $0.09-$0.10 for Q1, and $0.83-$0.91 fiscal 2003 EPS (pro forma, basic). WR Hambrecht, and CIBC World keep their strong buy rating.

UBS Warburg downgraded Waters Corp. (WAT) to buy from strong buy. On Monday a jury found Waters' Quattro Ultima mass spectrometers infringed a patent, and set damages at $47.5M.

Procter & Gamble (PG) expects Q3 EPS to exceed prior guidance on strong volume and cost performance. Core EPS is expected to achieve the double-digit level and exceed current analysts' consensus estimates.

Gemstar-TV Guide (GMST) posted $118.6M vs. $112.3M Q4 EBITDA despite a 3.5% revenue decline, and posted a $0.51 Q4 loss vs. a $0.31 loss. Gemstar says co-president, president and co-COO Peter Boylan will resign. The company also sees about 50% Q1 revenue growth in its interactive platform sector.

Accenture (ACN) sees $0.23 Q2 EPS from operations, above the $0.21 analyst consensus. Accenture will sell substantially all of its minority ownership interests that could cause volatility in its future EPS, and will take a $212M Q2 charge.

General Motors (GM) reiterated $1.20 Q1 EPS guidance, excluding Hughes and any special charge related to GM's restructuring. The company also sees $3.50 2002 EPS.

Electro Scientific (ESIO) posted a $0.08 Q3 loss, excluding items and a tax credit, on a 73% revenue decline. The company remains cautious about its near-term outlook for capital equipment demand. UBS Warburg and CS First Boston cut estimates.

Estee Lauder (EL) sees lower than expected $0.18-$0.21 Q3 EPS on a 2%-3% sales rise, and $1.10-$1.15 fiscal 2002 EPS on a 1%-2% sales rise.

Robertson Stephens downgraded Solectron (SLR) to market perform from buy, and cut the target to $9-$11.

Ivex Packaging (IXX) agreed to be acquired by Alcoa Inc. (AA) in adeal valued at about $790M. Ivex holders will receive $21.50 per share in cash.

Raytheon (RTN) will record an additional charge of $88M for discontinuing operations due to a recent decline in productivity on two Massachusetts power projects. The company's 2001 loss widened from $1.92 to $2.08, and Raytheon now expects 2002 cash flow to be negatively impacted.

PETCO Animal Supplies (PETC) posed $0.27 vs. $0.17 Q4 EPS (pro forma) on 9% higher same store sales, and sees $0.12-$0.13 Q1 EPS on 8% higher same store sales, and $0.81-$0.82 fiscal 2003 EPS.

Dollar General (DG) posted $0.29 vs. $0.10 Q4 EPS on 6.5% higher same store sales, and 10% higher total sales. Dollar General sees a fiscal 2003 EPS rise of 13%-15% on a 5%-7% same store sales rise. S&P keeps neutral.


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