Markets & Finance

Xerox Shares Lower after Downgrade


S&P, Merrill, Banc of America and Bear Stearns downgraded Tesoro Petroleum (TSO). On Wednesday the company posted a $1.15 Q1 loss vs. $0.52 EPS.

Advisory Board (ABCO) posted $0.18 vs. $0.05 Q4 EPS (pro forma) on a 26% revenue rise and sees $0.17 Q1 fiscal 2003 EPS on $22.5M revs. Deutsche Bank reiterates buy.

Express Scripts (ESRX ) In an 8-K the company disclosed a receipt of a subpoena from a U.S. Attorney in Boston related to dealings with TAP Pharmaceuticals, and TAP's 2 principal drugs, Lupron and Prevacid. S&P downgraded.

Software Spectrum (SSPE) agreed to be acquired by Level 3 Communications in a $122M deal. Terms: $37 cash per Software Spectrum share.

Cigna (CI) posted $1.92 vs. $1.76 Q1 EPS from operations on a 2% revenue rise and sees $7.85-$8.15 2002 operating EPS.

Micron Technology (MU) says it has withdrawn from talks with Hynix Semiconductor for purchase of its semiconductor memory operations and assets.

Moody's lowered Xerox (XRX) unsecured long term ratings to B1 from Ba1. Xerox called the downgrade "inconsistent with the company's progress and momentum."

Protein Design (PDLI) co-founder Laurence Jay Korn resigned as CEO. Lazard reportedly downgraded to hold from buy.

A federal court judge reportedly threw a out suit alleging Philip Morris (MO) used anticompetitive practices to monopolize prime retail space.

Calpine (CPN) posted $0.10 vs. $0.37 Q1 recurring EPS on 23% lower revenue and says it has raised nearly $4B of capital, retired about $953M of debt, which will reduce 2002 and 2003 capital spending by more than $3B.

Merrill downgraded Host Marriott (HMT) to near term buy from strong buy. On Wednesday the company posted $0.25 vs. $0.41 Q1 FFO on 9.5% lower revenues.

Corning (GLW) will supply its optical fiber to Alcoa's AFL Telecommunication business through a multi-year agreement valued at $100 million.

Elan (ELN) posted $0.22 vs. $0.41 Q1 EPS from operations as higher selling, general and administrative costs and investment losses offset a 3.3% revenue rise.

H&R Block (HRB) says a "strong finish" to the recently concluded tax season boosted results to record highs and will lead to earnings ahead of current expectations. H&R expects fiscal 2002 EPS to be at the high end of previous $2.20- $2.30 guidance. H&R sees $2.60-$2.75 fiscal 2003 EPS, adding that the company increased its share of both the overall tax services market and the market for paid preparation.

PacifiCare Health (PHSY) posted $0.87 vs. $0.79 Q1 EPS (pro forma) as pricing strength, improved health-care cost controls, and the culling of unprofitable business offset a 6% revenue decline.

Priceline.com (PCLN) posted $0.02 Q1 EPS vs. $0.03 loss (pro forma) despite a 3% revenue decline. S&P puts estimates under review, and keeps hold. Merrill reportedly downgraded.


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