Markets & Finance

Hewlett-Packard Beats the Street


Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) posted April-quarter earnings per share of 29 cents (excluding items) that beat analysts' average estimates of 27 cents. On a GAAP basis, the computer and printer maker posted 22 cents earnings per share, vs. 24 cents a year ago. Revenue was $17.98 billion, slightly higher than estimates. H-P reaffirmed estimates for the second half of the year.

McDonald's (MCD), Wendy's (WEN) and Tyson Foods (TSN) are seen lower on the news that Canada has confirmed a bovine case of mad cow disease. The U.S. subsequently halted meat imports from Canada, and S&P sees the fear of mad cow disease negatively impacting restaurant stocks.

Home Depot (HD) shares rose after the home-improvement retailer posted 39 cents vs. 36 cents first-quarter earnings per share on 5.8% higher sales, and 1.6% lower same store sales. Home Depot reaffirmed the 9%-12% fiscal 2004 sales growth target and flat-to-slightly-positive same store sales growth, as well as 9%-14% earnings per share growth. S&P keeps hold.

Elan Corp. (ELN) announced an agreement with King Pharmaceuticals (KG) to settle a pending lawsuit relating to the previously announces sale of Elan's primary care franchise and related inventory/rights to King. Irish drugmaker Elan will sell the U.S. rights to two of its drugs, muscle relaxant Skelaxin and its Sonata insomnia drug, to King for $750 million. Elan sued King after King pulled out of a deal for the two drugs in April, when U.S. regulators opened an investigation into Elan's attempt to block generic competition for one of the medicines.

Jo-Ann Stores (JAS.B) posted 20 cents (including charges) vs. 43 cents first-quarter EPS on flat total sales. The fabrics supply retailer cut the $2.45-$2.50 fiscal 2004 EPS guidance to $2.00-$2.10 due to the adoption of SFAS No. 123, the repurchases of notes, and the reclassification proposal for dual class shares.

Wachovia initiated coverage of Biosite (BSTE) with underperform.

Southwest Securities upgraded pharmacy-benefits management company MIM Corp. (MIMS) to strong buy from market outperform, and also upgraded Express Scripts (EXS), Caremark (CRX), and Advance PCS (ADVP) to strong buy from neutral.

Nextel Communications (NXTL) reaffirmed 2003 guidance, and says the second quarter is looking very solid. S&P reiterates strong buy.

Zimmer Holdings (ZMH) offered to acquire Centerpulse AG. Terms: 120 Swiss francs in cash, 3.68 Zimmer shares per Centerpulse share. J.P. Morgan downgraded. S&P maintains accumulate.

Dillard's (DDS) posted 29 cents (including a 12-cent per share gain from an asset sale, and a 9-cent tax credit) vs. 68 cents first quarter earnings per share on 5% lower comp-store sales, and 5% lower total sales.

Williams (WMB) will repurchase, for about $289 million, all of the outstanding 9-7/8% cumulative-convertible preferred shares held by a unit of MidAmerican, a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies.

Parlux Fragrance (PARL) received an acquisition offer from Quality King Distributors, and investor Ilia Lekach, for $4 per share cash.

Inspire Pharmaceuticals (ISPH) says a study showed INS37217 Intranasal, for those suffering from perennial allergic rhinitis, failed to meet its objectives. J.P. Morgan says it's "not surprised."

Jefferies upgraded Certegy (CEY) to buy from hold.

CIBC World downgraded Atrix Laboratories (ATRX) to sector perform from sector outperform on valuation.

Pacific Northwest (PNWB) agreed to be acquired by Wells Fargo (WFC). Terms: $35 in Wells Fargo stock per Pacific Northwest share.

Longs Drug (LDG) posted 16 cents vs. 29 cents first-quarter earnings per share from operations on slightly lower same store sales, and 1.2% higher total sales. Longs sees 15 cents to 19 cents second-quarter earnings per share on 1%-3% lower second-quarter same store sales.

Ross Stores (ROST) posted 63 cents vs. 59 cents first-quarter earnings per share as higher costs offset 3% lower same store sales.

SoundView downgraded business software company WebMethods (WEBM) to underperform from neutral. Pacific Growth reiterates overweight.

Ford Motor (F) reportedly says it will miss its 2003 targets for vehicle prices in North America and Europe. However, it remains on track to meet the 70 cents 2003 earnings per share.

Staples (SPLS) posted 18 cents vs. 14 cents first-quarter earnings per share (pro forma) on a 15% sales rise, and posted 5 cents vs 20 cents first-quarter earnings per share (GAAP). The office-supply retailer sees second-quarter earnings per share meeting current estimates, and 20% fiscal 2004 earnings per share growth.

Axcan Pharmaceuticals (AXCA) increased the price of a cash tender offer for Salix Pharmaceuticals (SLXP) to $10.50 per share from $8.75.

BJ's Wholesale Club (BJ) posted 18 cents vs. 32 cents first-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations (excluding an accounting change) despite a 5.7% same store sales rise, and a 16% net sales rise.

Cisco Systems (CSCO) will record an expense of up to $500 million next quarter due to a new accounting rule, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Medtronic (MDT) posted 40 cents vs. 25 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share on a 20% revenue rise.

SAFECO (SAFC) says claims stemming from a recent string of Midwest and Southern tornadoes, added to a loss from hailstorms in Texas, are estimated at about $90 million in pre-tax second-quarter catastrophe losses, or 42 cents per share.

Agilent Technologies (A) posted a 15-cent second-quarter loss from operations vs. a 54-cent loss on a slight sales rise. Agilent expects a 10-cent loss to operating breakeven for the third-quarter and $1.45 billion to $1.55 billion in sales.

Nordstrom (JWN) posted 20 cents vs. 22 cents first-quarter earnings per share from operations on 1.4% lower same store sales. The department-store chain sees 35 cents to 40 cents second-quarter earnings per share on flat same store sales. UBS Warburg, Bear Stearns raised estimates. S&P reiterates hold.


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