Markets & Finance

Priceline.com Jumps


Priceline.com (PCLN) posted a 4 cent first-quarter loss vs. 2 earnings per share (GAAP) on a 23% revenue drop. The online travel service company posted breakeven first-quarter excluding charges. Priceline sees 2 cents to 3 cents second-quarrter earnings per share (GAAP), and says it plans to seek stockholder approval for a reverse stock split. S&P keeps hold.

Chip maker Cypress Semiconductor (CY) sees higher than expected $200 million in second-quarter revenue, and forecast three cents earnings per share (pro forma). S&P upgraded to accumulate. UBS Warburg raised estimates.

Health and life insurer Cigna (CI) posted $1.34 vs. $1.52 first-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations despite a 2.1% rise in consolidated revenue from operations. On a GAAP basis, income rose 8% to $1.68 earnings per share, vs. $1.52. Analysts were expecting an average of $1.43. S&P reiterates hold.

Biosite (BSTE) posted 37 cents vs. 11 cents first quarter earnings per share on sharply higher revenue. The maker of medical diagnostics products raised the 40%-50% 2003 revenue growth forecast to 60%-80%, and upped the 60%-70% earnings per share growth to 80%-100%. Biosite cited better sales of its Triage BNP test, which helps to diagnose congestive heart failure. Thomas Weisel raised estimates.

W.R. Hambrecht resumed coverage of Overstock.com (OSTK) with a buy-analyst select list.

ChevronTexaco (CVX) posted first-quarter earnings per share of $1.81, vs. 68 cents. Excluding an accounting-related charge, the gas and oil refining firm reported $1.99 earnings per share. Analysts were expecting an average of $1.81 per share in the period.

Merrill upgraded Continental Airlines (CAL) to buy from neutral. Merrill also upgraded Frontier Air, Northwest Air, Delta Air and Alaska Air to buy.

Wal-Mart (WMT) will sell its McLane unit to Berkshire Hathaway, and sell Merit Distribution Services, a unit of McLane, to Swift Transportation. Excluding a one-time gain, the sales will have about a one cent dilutive effect on fiscal 2004 earnings per share, and a two cents dilutive effect on fiscal 2005. McLane is a wholesale distributor of groceries and nonfood items. It was acquired by Wal-Mart in 1990.

Disney (DIS) posted 11 cents vs. 13 cents second quarter earnings per share as higher costs and expenses offset an 8.1% revenue rise. S&P reiterates hold.

Infospace (INSP) posted a 4-cent first-quarter loss vs. a $7.88 loss (GAAP) on a 10% revenue rise. It sees a sequential decline to $32 million to $34 million in second quarter revenue, and a negative effect on net income. Infospace says it may also incur additional restructuring costs in the future.

ONEOK (OKE), an Oklahoma-based natural-gas company, says it expects $2.03-$2.08 2003 earnings per share from continuing operations.

Genesis Microchip (GNSS) posted 3 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share vs. a 1 cent loss (GAAP) despite a 2.4% revenue drop. It posted 12 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share (pro forma), and sees $55 million to $55.5 million first-quarter revenue, and 39.5%-41% overall gross profit margins.

Catalina Marketing (POS) announced the resignation of George Neal, president and COO.

Hearst-Argyle Television (HTV) posted 11 cents vs. 15 cents first-quarter earnings per share on a 3.6% net revenue decline, reaffirmed the 2003 earnings per share guidance, and narrowed the corporate, general, and administrative expense forecast to a 2% decline from a 5% decline.

Schering-Plough 's (SGP) CEO rejected suggestions it would seek a merger with Merck, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Starbucks (SBUX) posted 7% higher April same store sales, and 20% higher total sales. The coffee chain targets 3%-7% fiscal 2003 same store sales growth, and 20% total revenue growth.

John Hancock Financial (JHF) posted 74 cents vs. 68 cents first-quarter operating earnings per share. It revised the credit outlook estimates for total pre-tax gross investment losses to between $650 million to $750 million, excluding FAS 133 hedging adjustments.


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