Markets & Finance

EBay Tops Estimates, Ups Outlook


After the close of trading Tuesday, eBay (EBAY) posted 36 cents (pro forma) earnings per share, vs. 18 cents, on a 94% jump in revenues -- beating analysts average estimates by five cents per share. The online auction company also upped its (pro forma) 2003 earnings outlook to $1.41, on revenue of about $2.05 billion.

Drug maker Forest Labs , the maker of antidepressent Celexa, (FRX) posted 48 cents vs. 26 cents fourth quarter earnings per share on a 42% net sales rise. At this time, Forest Labs expects at least 20% fiscal 2004 earnings per share growth.

Waters Corp. (WAT), a maker of equipment for the life sciences industry, posted 26 cents vs. 26 cents first quarter earnings per share on a 10% sales rise. It noted sales growth is comprised of 2% organic growth, and 8% from a foreign exchange impact. Waters posted 30 cents vs. 27 cents pro forma earnings per share.

Messaging services company J2 Global Communications (JCOM) posted 41 cents vs. 16 cents first quarter earnings per share (GAAP) on a 47% revenue rise. J2 narrowed the $1.65-$1.85 2003 earnings per share guidance to $1.70-$1.85; it still sees $66 million to $69 million in 2003 revenues. First Albany cut to underperform from neutral on valuation.

Lockheed Martin (LMT) posted 55 vs. 50 cents first quarter earnings per share from continuing operations on an 18% sales rise. The defense contractor raised the $2.15-$2.20 2003 earnings per share from continuing operations estimate to $2.20-$2.30, and reaffirmed the 8%-12% sales growth.

Property and casualty insurer Everest Re (RE) posted $2.02 vs. $1.35 first quarter earnings per share on 68% higher gross premiums written. It raised the 2003 earnings per share guidance to $7.75-$8.25, and set a $9.50-$10.50 2004 guidance. Bear Stearns raised its estimates.

RBC Capital upgraded AnnTaylor Stores (ANN) to sector perform from underperform. The shares rose.

Truck transportation and logistics company Yellow (YELL) posted 19 cents first quarter earnings per share vs. breakeven on an 18% revenue rise. S&P reiterates buy. CS First Boston keeps outperform.

Wireless carrier Sprint PCS (PCS) posted an 18 cent first quarter loss vs. a 15 cent loss despite 3% higher revenues. The current period includes 2 cents to settle shareholder litigation. Legg Mason downgraded to sell. S&P maintains avoid.

Long-distance carrier Sprint (FON) posted $2.06 vs. 32 cents first quarter earnings per share on 8% lower revenues. The current period included $1.75 of sale gains, 2 cents for a litigation charge, and a penny per share for debt repurchase premiums.

Internet-based loan marketplace LendingTree (TREE) posted 18 cents first quarter earnings per share vs. a 15 cent loss on 84% revenue growth. It raised the 50 cents 2003 earnings per share guidance to 70 cents. Friedman Billings raised its estimates, and reiterates outperform.

Smith Barney downgraded telecom Alltel (AT)to in-line from outperform.

Benchmark Electronics (BHE) posted 66 cents vs. 26 cents first quarter earnings per share as an $8.1 million gain offset 4.3% lower revenues. McDonald reportedly downgraded.

Shares of AMR Corp. (AMR), the parent company of American Airlines, are lower on news that the flight attendants' union is considering revoting on a contract ratified last week due to controversy over executive pay.

Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) shares fell after the restaurant operator posted 25 cents vs. 21 cents first quarter earnings per share on a 15% total sales rise. It posted a 2% same store sales drop, citing the weather, the shift in the timing of Easter, and spring break schedules. JP Morgan downgraded. S&P keeps hold.

Needham downgraded Cray (CRAY) to hold from buy.

Kimberly-Clark (KMB) posted 78 cents vs. 84 cents first quarter earnings per share despite a 4% revenue rise. It says given the cost increase in fiber, energy, and oil-based products, it expects the second quarter to be similar to the first quarter. It is comfortable with the $3.36 2003 earnings per share from operations guidance.

Viacom (VIA) posted 26 cents vs. 21 cents first quarter earnings per share (excluding an accounting change) on a 6.7% total revenue rise. The results beat analysts' average profit estimates by a penny per share. The media company posted $1.23 billion vs. $1.09 billion first quarter EBITDA. Viacom, which owns properties including CBS and MTV, says it's on track to meet the mid-single-digit 2003 revenue growth target, and sees double-digit EBITDA growth.

AOL Time Warner (AOL) will sell its 50% ownership stake in the Comedy Central cable network to Viacom for $1.225 billion in cash.

Drug giant Pfizer, which makes impotent drug Viagra, (PFE) reported 45 cents vs. 39 cents first quarter earnings per share (as adjusted) on a 10% revenue gain.

Verizon Communications (VZ) posted 63 cents vs. 72 cents first quarter earnings per share from operations on flat revenue, citing the loss of local telephone lines, which outweighed higher wireless sales. Verizon reiterated its $2.70-$2.80 2003 earnings per share guidance on flat to up 2% revenue growth.

Boston Scientific (BSX) posted 28 cents vs. 22 cents first quarter earnings per share (both periods exclude charges) on a 20% sales rise. S&P maintains buy.

Lilly (LLY), the maker of antidepressant Prozac, posted 61 cents vs. 58 cents first quarter earnings per share (excluding charges) on a 13% sales increase. Lilly posted 38 cents vs. 58 cents first quarter earnings per share (including restructuring and other charges.)

Cendant (CD) reported 30 cents vs. 31 cents first quarter earnings from continuing operations per share as higher costs offset a 56% revenue rise. Due to reduced travel volumes, Cendant now forecasts $1.35-$1.37 2003 EPS from continuing operations.

JDA Software (JDAS) posted an 8 cent first quarter loss vs. 16 cents earnings per share (both on a GAAP basis) on 30% lower revenues.

Capital One (COF) posted $1.35 vs. 83 cents first quarter earnings per share, citing improving credit quality, and lower chargeoffs.

L-3 Communications (LLL) posted 50 cents vs. 36 cents first quarter earnings per share (excluding an accounting change) on a 56% sales increase. It sees $2.70-$2.75 2003 earnings per share. L-3 raised the $285 million 2003 free cash flow estimate to $300 million.


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