Markets & Finance

P&G Files Suit against Coke


Procter & Gamble (PG) filed a lawsuit against Coca-Cola (KO), saying Coke is infringing on P&G's calcium- supplemented fruit juice beverages. P&G claims the technology belongs its Tropicana Products unit.

The SEC will charge Microsoft with violating bookkeeping rules when it held millions of dollars in reserves from 1995 to 1998. Microsoft won't be fined, but will be subject to stiffer sanctions if the company commits similar violations in the future, according to Bloomberg.

Lehman downgraded Cornell Cos. (CRN) to buy from strong buy, after rival Corrections Corp. of America won a contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Late Thursday Wachovia downgraded NCI Building (NCS) to hold from buy, after the company posted $0.26 Q2 EPS, and forecast $0.50 for Q3.

AdvancePCS (ADVP) is in a contract dispute with North Carolina's state employee health benefits plan, according to press reports. Banc of America says the market is overreacting, and reiterates strong buy.

UBS Warburg cut estimates on Barr Labs (BRL).

Wedbush Morgan and Thomas Weisel raised estimates on Chico's FAS (CHS). On Thursday the company posted $0.46 vs. $0.30 Q4 EPS on 13% higher same-store sales and 40% higher total sales.

CS First Boston reinstated coverage of Charlote Russe (CHIC) with buy.

Bear Stearns upgraded Norfolk Southern (NSC) to buy from neutral.

Starbucks (SBUX) posted 10% higher May same store sales and 27% higher total sales. Goldman raised estimates.

Michaels Stores (MIK) posted $0.29 vs. $0.11 Q1 EPS on a 5% same store sales rise and a 15% total sales rise. The company expects a 6% May same store sales rise.

CS First Boston upgraded Apache Corp. (APA) to strong buy from buy.

Visage Technology (VISG) Fresno Yosemite International Airport, the first U.S. airport to try face-recognition technology, stopped using the system because of concerns about its accuracy, officials said, according to press reports.

Aon Corp. (AOC) says the spinoff of Combined Specialty Group (CSG) will be delayed due to regulatory delays. Aon is an filing 8-K with the SEC to disclose information relating to its reserve that will be established at CSG. S&P maintains hold.

Wendy's International (WEN) will acquire Fresh Enterprises, the owner and operator of Baja Fresh Mexican Grill restaurant chain, for $275M cash. S&P maintains accumulate.

AT&T (T) confirmed it plans equity offering next week to raise about $2.25 billion.

Bristol-Myers (BMY) is in talks to be acquired by GlaxoSmithkline (GSK), according to press reports. S&P views the merger possibility as improbable, and maintains hold on both companies.

Dave & Buster's (DAB) is being acquired by Investcorp and a group of international investors, who will take the restaurant/entertainment chain private. The group will make a $12 cash per share tender offer. The company posted $0.22 vs. $0.24 Q1 EPS from operations on 2.4% lower same store sales. H&R Block reportedly downgraded.

Palm (PALM) sees $230M Q4 revenue vs. previously expected $290M- $300M, and will not meet breakeven profitability expectations for Q4. CIBC World downgraded to hold from buy. S&P maintains hold.

The SEC has subpoenaed Citigroup (C) for information related to a natural gas deal that improved the appearance of Dynegy's finances, according to press reports.

Electronics Boutique (ELBO) posted $0.02 Q1 EPS vs. a $0.06 loss on 4.3% higher same store sales and 21% higher total sales. The company sees $0.03-$0.04 Q2 EPS on about 8% higher same store sales.

Official Payment (OPAY) agreed to be acquired by Tier Technologies in a $74.5M deal. Terms: $3 cash per Official Payment share.

Dollar General (DG) posted $0.15 vs. $0.11 Q1 EPS from operations on 6.7% higher same store sales, and 16% higher total sales.


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