Markets & Finance

Palm Loss Narrows, Beating Targets


Palm (PALM), a maker of handheld devices, posted a fourth-quarter loss of 30 cents per share, excluding items, vs. a loss of 62 cents a share. Analysts' were expecting an average loss per share of 93 cents. Palm's revenues dropped 3.2%, to $225.8 million.

Palm, based in Milpitas, Calif., reported a loss of $15 million, or 51 cents a share, for the quarter ended May 31. That compared with a year-earlier loss of $27.5 million, or 95 cents a share. Revenue slid 3.2% to $225.8 million from $233.3 million.

SG Cowen upgraded Bebe Stores (BEBE) to outperform from market perform.

Pediatrix Medical (PDX) says the U.S. Attorney General's office is conducting a civil investigation into its Medicaid billing practices nationwide. J.P. Morgan downgraded to underweight.

Georgia-Pacific (GP) and Owens-Illinois (OI) shares rose on news that a panel on the Senate Judiciary Committee reached an agreement on the medical criteria for a bill establishing an asbestos trust. S&P reiterates avoid.

NetFlix (NFLX) received a patent for its subscription rental service.

Pacific Sunwear (PSUN) presented at a Wachovia Securities Conference in Nantucket, Mass. Pacific Growth reiterates overweight.

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) sees lower-than-expected $615 million in second-quarter, saying the anticipated global sales improvement in June did not materialize as anticipated.

Knightsbridge Tankers (VLCCF) says a Royal Dutch unit has decided not to renew an agreement for five of Knightsbridge's crude carrier vessels. The company will call a special shareholder meeting to discuss proposals to sell the ships.

USB Piper downgraded PMC-Sierra (PMCS) to underperform from market perform.

InFocus (INFS) sees second-quarter revenue that is 10%-15% lower than the $145.1 million reported in the first quarter. The maker of digital projectors says the reduced revenue and margins are expected in turn to result in a larger net loss from operations for the second quarter. S&P downgraded to avoid.

FedEx (FDX) posted 92 cents vs. 78 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share (before an accounting change) on an 8% revenue rise. The results beat analysts' average estimate by 2 cents. The delivery concern sees 52 cents to 60 cents first-quarter earnings per share, and $3.00-$3.15 for fiscal 2004. S&P keeps its buy ranking.

Kroger (KR) posted 46 cents vs. 40 cents first-quarter earnings per share on 3.8% higher total sales, and sees $1.55 to $1.63 2003 earnings per share. The supermarket chain notes competitive conditions, thus far, have prevented an increase in gross margin, as anticipated.

Park Place Entertainment (PPE) sees better-than-expected 11 cents to 15 cents second-quarter earnings per share due to strong results in May.

J.P. Morgan reportedly upgraded networking-equipment maker Ciena (CIEN) to neutral from underweight.

Bear Stearns downgraded construction contractor Ashland (ASH)to underperform from peer perform. Prudential downgraded to hold from buy.

Invitrogen (IVGN) says it's confident it will meet the consensus expectation of 52 cents second-quarter earnings per share (pro forma). The biotech firm sees 28 cents to 29 cents second-quarter earnings per share (GAAP).

SoundView downgraded networking-equipment maker Cisco Systems (CSCO) to neutral from outperform.

Kroll (KROL) will acquire Factual Data (FDCC) for roughly $115 million Terms: $17.50 per Federal Data share, payable 80% in cash ($14.00) with the balance paid in Kroll stock ($3.50).

E.W. Scripps (SSP) expects ad revenue from its four national cable TV networks to be up 20%-30%, and sees ad revenue from daily newspapers, excluding Denver, to be up 2%-4%. Scripps expects second-quarter earnings per share from operations to be near the upper end of the 73 cents to 83 cents estimates.

Sonic (SONC), an operator of drive-in restaurants, posted 40 cents vs. 35 cents third-quarter earnings per share on a 10% revenue rise. Bear Stearns lowered its estimates.

Prudential upgraded Merrill Lynch (MER) and Morgan Stanley (MWD) to buy from hold, citing a faster-than-expected rebound in retail investor activity, valuation, and other factors.

BellSouth (BLS) increased its quarterly dividend by 9.5%, to 23 cents.

Halliburton (HAL) intends to offer $1 billion of convertible senior notes to qualified institutional buyers.

Lodgenet Entertainment (LNET) will deliver Nintendo GameCube games through its Signeture TV marketing and entertainment system. Lodgenet's digital satellite network exceeds 310,000 North American guest rooms.

Genzyme will exercise an option to acquire a 50% interest in Dyax 's (DYAX) DX-88 program for the potential treatment of hereditary angioedema. Initial Phase II clinical trial results show all patients met the primary goals.

Buca (BUCA) expects second-quarter same-store restaurant sales to be down 7% for both Buca di Beppo and Vinny T's of Boston restaurants. Buca says due to current sales trends, and the resulting impact on margins, it expects 5 cents to 6 cents in the third quarter, and sees 14 cents to 16 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share.


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