Markets & Finance

Aetna Advances


Orthodontic Centers of America (OCA) reported the resignation of its CFO, John C. Glover, and the hiring of a replacement, Thomas J. Sandeman.

Banc of America upgraded Network Associates (NET ) to buy from market perform. The company posted $0.06 third quarter earnings per share vs. an $0.08 loss on a 13% consolidated revenue rise, and sees $0.24-$0.26 fourth quarter earnings per share (pro forma), as well as $0.70-$0.75 for 2003. S&P raised estimates.

Lexmark International (LXK) sees $0.68-$0.70 third quarter earnings per share on a 4%-5% revenue rise, slighlty above previous guidance. S&P reiterates hold.

Kohl's (KSS) posted 3.2% lower September same store sales, and 8.5% higher total sales. Kphl's sees $0.34-$0.35 third quarter earnings per share.

Gap (GPS) posted 2% lower September same store sales, and does not anticipate West Coast port closures will impact third quarter earnings per share, but says it is too early to assess the fourth quarter; assuming the ports remain open, Gap estimates a fourth quarter earnings per share risk in the range of $0.02-$0.07.

Dow Jones (DJ) posted $0.06 vs. $0.20 Q3 earnings per share from operations on an 11% revenue decline, and expects linage at The Wall Street Journal to be down in the mid-to-high teens percentage range in the fourth quarter; Dow Jones expects $0.15-$0.20 earnings per share from operations.

Target Corp. (TGT) posted 0.8% lower September same store sales, and 7.1% higher total sales. Target says sales for the month are well below plan, and modestly lowered its near term expectations for sales and earnings.

USA Interactive (USAI) will acquire all Ticketmaster (TMCS) shares it does not presently own. Terms: 0.935 USA share for each Ticketmaster; USA currently values Ticketmaster shares at $15.17 each.

Wal-Mart (WMT) Posts 3.3% higher September same store sales, and 10% higher total sales.

Yahoo! (YHOO) posted $0.05 third quarter earnings per share vs. a $0.04 loss (GAAP) on a 50% revenue rise, and sees $930M-$955M 2002 revenue, along with $1.075B-$1.175B for 2003. Deutsche Bank and Merrill upgraded to buy.

Federated Department Stores (FD) expects October same store sales to be down 1%-2%; sees same store sales down 2%-2.5%; sees $0.30-$0.35 third quarter earnings per share. The company also lowered fourth quarter outlook and posted flat September same store sales.

BJ'S Wholesale (BJ) posted slightly higher September comp-club sales, and revised its comp-club sales outlook from a 3% increase to a flat to 1% increase for the remainder of the year.

American Eagle (AEOS) posted 8.1% lower September same store sales, and says if the soft retail environment continues, third quarter earnings per share could be $0.31-$0.34. CIBC World reportedly downgraded. Morgan Stanley cut estimates.

Merrill downgraded General Electric (GE) to neutral from buy.

Yum Brands (YUM) posted $0.47 third quarter earnings per share on a 17% revenue rise, and upped the 2002 operating earnings per share guidance to $1.89-$1.91, but sees just 2% growth in US blended-company same store sales. BoA cut to buy; Merrill downgraded; S&P keeps hold.

Aetna (AET) sees $0.70 third quarter operating earnings per share, and $2.20-$2.25 for 2002, citing improved margin results, driven by an increase in premium yield, and a continuation of a decline in medical cost trends, combined with continued reductions in operating costs.


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