Markets & Finance

KB Home Drops


KB Home (KBH) posted $1.94 vs. $1.42 second-quarter earnings per share on a 26% revenue rise. It raised the fiscal 2003 estimate to $8.20. Homebuilding stocks are seen lower amid concerns over interest rates, and conservative guidance from KB Home.

PG&E (PCG) says if a proposed settlement of a Chapter 11 proceeding is acceptable, the company could emerge as investment grade utility, and pay all valid creditor claims in full, with interest, without raising customers' rates.

Solectron (SLR) posted a $3.74 third-quarter GAAP loss vs. a 35-cent loss on a 7.2% sales drop; it posted a 10-cent third-quarter pro forma loss. Solectron will not be in compliance with one of the covenants of its undrawn, $450 million credit facility. The contract manufacturer sees a 2-cent to to 6-cent fourth-quarter pro forma loss. CIBC World downgraded. S&P cut its estimates.

Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) agreed to acquire Christmas Tree Shops, a private giftware and household item retailer, for $200 million cash. S&P reiterates accumulate.

First Albany upgraded J2 Global Communications (JCOM) to buy from underperform. On Thursday the company held an investors' conference.

Men's retailer Nautica (NAUT) says it's committed to exploring opportunities to enhance shareholder value, and is engaged in talks with respect to the possible acquisition of the company.

WebMD (HLTH) plans to offer $300 million of convertible subordinated notes due 2003. It expects to grant initial purchasers an additional $50 million aggregate principal amount of notes.

Columbia Laboratories (COB) says the FDA approved Striant, the first-ever transbuccal treatment for testosterone replacement therapy in men for conditions associated with the deficiency or absence of endogenous testosterone.

Amgen (AMGN) and a Wyeth (WYE) unit announced the results of a new study of a combination treatment with Enbrel and methotrexate in rhumatoid arthritis patients; 80% of the patients treated with the combination therapy experienced no radiographic progression through 1-year.

PeopleSoft's (PSFT) board recommended that shareholders reject Oracle's increased, $6.3 billion takeover bid, saying the offer was too low and that a merger would violate antitrust laws. S&P keeps hold on PeopleSoft.

Express Scripts (ESRX) reportedly received a subpoena from the New York State Attorney General seeking information regarding its compliance with state and federal antitrust and consumer protection laws.

General Electric (GE) reaffirmed the 37 cents to 39 cents second-quarter earnings per share forecast, and is keeping the $1.55-$1.70 2003 earnings per share.

Morgan Stanley downgraded Research In Motion (RIMM) to underweight from equal-weight.

Halliburton (HAL) will take an additional operating loss on its Barracuda-Caratinga project of about 24 cents per share. Separately, as a result of an increase in the estimated number of asbestos claims, Halliburton says it may need "modestly" more than the previously announced $2.775 billion to pay for the settlement.

General Motors (GM) and GM Hughes will offer about $10 billion in debt securities and convertible debt to accelerate its balance sheet and allow for more financial flexibility; GM now expects to accelerate efforts to fund its U.S. pension plans, which were underfunded at the end of 2002.

CarMax (KMX) posted 34 cents vs. 28 cents first-quarter earnings per share on a 17% total sales rise -- meeting analysts' average estimates. The used-car retailer sees 33 cents to 35 cents second-quarter earnings per share, vs. the consensus forecasts of 33 cents.

Merrill Lynch downgraded Business Objects (BOBJ) to neutral from buy.

American Healthways (AMHC) posted 28 cents vs. 16 cents third-quarter earnings per share on a 33% revenue rise. It raised the $1.04-$1.08 fiscal 2003 earnings per share guidance to $1.08-$1.10.

Cubist Pharmaceuticals (CBST) says the FDA notified the company that it now sees completing its priority review of Cidecin New Drug Application on or before Sep. 20, 2003, a three-month extension of the original action date.

Darden Restaurants (DRI) posted 35 cents vs. 40 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share on flat sales. Darden sees 1%-3% fiscal 2004 same store-sales growth from Red Lobster and Olive Garden, and 8%-12% earnings per share growth. Citigroup downgraded. S&P reiterates accumulate.

King Pharmaceuticals (KG) says the FDA approved a supplemental new drug application covering pediatric and adult formulations of its nerve gas antidote AtroPen.

Georgia Gulf (GGC) continues to expect 20 cents to 25 cents second-quarter earnings per share. It says higher sales prices are expected to more than offset higher materials costs.

Bunge (BG) will acquire Hindustan Lever's edible oils and fats business. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.


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