Markets & Finance

El Paso Climbs after Securing Loan


Credit Lyonnais upgraded El Paso (EP) to buy from hold, and says the sharp rise in its stock is likely due to short covering. On Thursday the comapny secured $1.2 billion in financing, and announced the sale of assets. S&P reiterates avoid.

Zimmer (ZMH), a maker of reconstructive orthopaedic implants and trauma products, expects first quarter results to exceed its Jan. 30 guidance, citing strong growth in reconstructive products, and strength in Europe and the Asia/Pacific region. S&P reiterates accumulate. First Albany reiterates buy.

Electronics Boutique (ELBO) posted $1.16 vs. $1.02 fourth quarter earnings per share (pro forma) on a 9% revenue rise. Commerce Capital raised its estimates.

Public Storage (PSA) posted 20 cents vs. 38 cents fourth quarter earnings per share (including items) despite a 4.5% revenue rise, and posted 60 cents vs. 75 cents fourth quarter funds from operations. Salomon downgraded to underperform from in-line.

Elan (ELN) shares fell after confirming it has received notification from the Federal Trade Commission about an investigation into whether unfair methods of competition were used to sell its muscle relaxing product Skelaxin. Shares of King Pharmaceuticals (KG) shares are also lower. King plans to acquire Elan's primary care business, which includes Skelaxin, and King is already the subject of an ongoing accounting investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

AG Edwards downgraded Baxter (BAX) and UBS Warburg cut its estimates. Yesterday the health-care products maker cut its first quarter earnings per share guidance to 36 cents to 38 cents, and forecast 5% to 7% sales growth. S&P upgraded to hold from avoid.

SG Cowen upgraded Research In Motion (RIMM) to market perform from underperform.

Penn National Gaming (PENN) sees 30 cents first quarter earnings per share on $226 million revenue, and $1.18 2003 earnings per share on $1.2 billion revenue. Including its Hollywood Casino Aurora, and without including Hollywood Casino Shreveport, Penn National sees 30 cents first quarter earnings per share on $212 million revenue, and $1.40 2003 earnings per share on $1.08 billion revenue.

Symbol Technologies (SBL) and former employees received a Wells notices stating the SEC staff is considering recommending that the SEC authorize civil actions against the company and individuals, alleging violations of federal securities laws. S&P keeps hold.

Andrew (ANDW) cut the $230 million $250 million second quarter revenue forecast to $190 million to $200 million. amd cut the one cent to four cents earnings per share to a loss of three cents to six cents, citing a greater than expected decline in its markets thus far in the second quarter. S&P reiterates avoid.

Monsanto (MON) says in a 10-K filing that the U.S. Dept. of Justice Antitrust Division is conducting an inquiry into possible anticompetitive conduct in the glyphosate-based herbicide industry (which includes its Roundup product).

UBS Warburg upgraded Corning (GLW) to buy from neutral.

Bebe Stores (BEBE) says it now sees three cents to five cents third quarter earnings per share on comps in the negative low to mid-teens range, citing the lack of balance in merchandise assortment and lean inventory levels. Wachovia, Wedbush, and First Albany downgraded.

Adobe Systems (ADBE) posted 23 cents vs. 20 cents first quarter earnings per share (GAAP) on an 11% revenue rise, and posted better than expected 25 cents pro forma earnings per share -- beating analysts' (pro forma) estimates of 22 cents. Adobe now sees $300 million to $315 million second quarter revenue, and 24 cents to 27 cents (pro forma) earnings per share. Baird upgraded, while S&P keeps hold.

The FDA accelerated its approval of Trimeris ' (TRMS) Fuzeon HIV-1 treatment, developed by Trimeris and Roche. The companies are committed to make Fuzeon ready for distribution by the end of March.

Gamestop (GME) set a 50 million stock buyback.

Verity (VRTY) posted 10 cents vs. six cents third quarter earnings per share (GAAP basis) on an 11% revenue rise, and sees 11 cents to 13 cents fourth quarter earnings per share (GAAP).


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