) to peer perform from outperform, based on valuation relative to peers.
USB Piper downgraded Secure Computing (SCUR
) to market perform from outperform.
CIBC World downgraded medical-device maker St. Jude Medical (STJ
) to sector perform from outperform.
Deutsche Bank downgraded Sprint PCS (PCS
) to sell from hold.
Wedbush Morgan upgraded eyewear retailer Oakley (OO
) to buy from hold.
SoundView downgraded information-technology services company Electronic Data Systems (EDS
) to neutral from outperform.
The new issue of the New England Journal of Medicine reported positive study results for a cancer-detection treatment developed by Advanced Magnetics(AVM
). The imaging agent, called Combidex, can help cut down on unnecessary medical procedures, the study said. Cytogen (CYTO
) has the rights to market Combidex in the U.S.
Metrologic Instruments (MTLG
), a maker of imaging systems for bar-code scanners, sued Symbol Technologies for patent infringement and material breach of their cross-license agreement.
Level 3 Communications (LVLT
) announced Longleaf Partners Funds, Berkshire Hathaway, and Legg Mason have converted all their outstanding 9% junior convertible subordinated notes into stock.
UBS Investment downgraded Morgan Stanley (MWD
) to neutral from buy, and J.P. Morgan downgraded to underweight from neutral. On Wednesday the investment bank posted 55 cents, vs. 72 cents second-quarter earnings per share.
Forest Labs (FRX
) reported negative study data on memantine, which was given to patients receiving acetylcholinesterase inhibitor therapy for Alzheimer's disease.
Home-goods retailer Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY
) posted 19 cents vs. 15 cents first-quarter earnings per share on a 4.4% same store sales rise, and 15% total sales rise. But Bed & Bath wouldn't give guidance for the second quarter and full year, saying it preferred to remain conservative in a difficult retail environment. Wachovia downgraded to market perform from outperform.
Investment bank Lehman Brothers (LEH
) posted a strong rise in fiscal second quarter earnings per share to $1.67, vs. $1.08.
Freddie Mac (FRE
) could restate earnings by $1 billion to $3 billion, boosting the bottom line for the past two years but reducing net income by the same amount over the next several years, according to The Wall Street Journal. S&P keeps avoid.
) identified improper expense accurals at the national service division of its Rainbow Media Group; the review covers a period from 1999 to 2002. To date, Cablevision has found that $6.2 million of expenses for 2003 were accelerated and improperly accrued in 2002. The company dismissed 14 people in connection with the review.
Jabil Circuit (JBL
) posted 2 cents vs. 10 cents third-quarter GAAP earnings per share as higher costs offset a 43% revenue rise. Jabil posted 19 cents third-quarter core earnings per share. It sees fourth-quarter revenue increasing sequentially 3%-7%, and 10 cents to 12 cents GAAP earnings per share. S&P reiterates accumulate.
Micron Technology (MU
) posted a 36-cent third-quarter loss vs. a 4-cent loss on a 5% revenue drop. Micron notes an approximate 15% decrease in average selling prices in the third quarter.
Pharmaceutical Resources (PRX
) sees 71 cents to 73 cents second-quarter earnings per share, excluding a 6-cent to 8-cent one-time charge related to the retirement of CEO and president Kenneth Sawyer.
AT&T Wireless (AWE
) is in a deal with Verizon Communications (VZ
) to jointly sell a 49% interest in Eurotel Praha to Cesky Telecom for $1.05 billion. AT&T Wireless will receive $525 million.
Michaels Stores (MIK
) sets an initial quarterly dividend of 10 cents. The craft-supplies retailer will repurchase up to one millio additional shares under a new repurchase program, bringing the total to 1.6 million shares.
Goody's Family (GDYS
) set an initial 2-cent quartely dividend.