Markets & Finance

CIGNA Issues Profit Warning


After the market close Friday, CIGNA Corp. (CI) warned that it expects earnings for the second quarter and full year 2003 to be lower than its previous estimates, reflecting slower than expected progress in improving the performance of the company's health-care business. The company estimates income from continuing operations before realized investment results and special items for the second quarter of 2003 to be between $140 million and $160 million, or $1 to $1.15 per share. Full-year 2003 income, on the same basis, is now estimated to be between $700 million and $750 million, or between $5 and $5.25 per share, according to a press release. CIGNA shares fell about 5% Friday ahead of the news.

Sonus Networks (SONS) shares rose after the company posted 1 cent per share loss in the second quarter, vs. 9-cent loss a year ago, on flat revenue. Advest upgraded the stock to buy from neutral.

Carmax Inc. (KMX) shares jumped after the company says it plans to roughly double sales to $8 billion over the next four years. It says it believes the CarMax used-car superstore concept can ultimately achieve at least 8% to 10% share of late-model sales in each market where the company operates.

Charter Communications (CHTR) shares rose on news it will make cash offers with indirect subsidiary for a portion of its convertible notes and a portion of subsidiary's notes.

MapInfo (MAPS) shares rose after JP Morgan upgrades to overweight from neutral.

Dr. Reddy'S Labs (RDY) shares rose after a U.S. District Court dismissed the company's suit seeking judgement declaring its Sertraline product did not infringe on Pfizer's patent. The court said RDY didn't demonstrate reasonable apprehension of suit by Pfizer.

CV Therapeutics (CVTX) shares advanced after the company Gained full commercialization rights for angina treatment Ranexa under revised agreement with Quintiles Transnational. Deutsche Bank reiterates buy, and CIBC World reiterates sector outperform.

Children's Place (PLCE) shares rose after Pacific Growth raises estimates. Also, CS First Boston raises its price target. Yesterday, the retailer posted 3% June same-store sales rise and a 23% net sales rise.

Epix Medical (EPIX) shares rose after the company says Phase III clinical trials of MS-325 met primary endpoint, demonstrating statistically significant improvement in accuracy for detecting renal and pedal vascular disease. Needham upgraded the stock to strong buy.

Juniper Networks (JNPR) reported second-quarter earnings per share (GAAP) of 3 cents, vs. 2 cents a year ago, on a 41% revenue rise. It posted 3 cents non-GAAP EPS, vs. breakeven, for the quarter. Though the quarterly EPS was better than expected, the communications-equipment maker issued a flat sequential outlook for the third quarter. The shares fell Friday.

UBS Financial downgraded AirTran Holdings (AAI) to neutral from buy, and Southwest Airlines (LUV) to reduce from neutral.

Banc of America reportedly upgraded Home Deport (HD) to buy from neutral.

Merrill Lynch upgraded Ciena Corp (CIEN) to neutral from sell on improved fiscal year 2004 outlook.

Group 1 Software (GSOF) sees $23.6 million to 23.9 million in first quarter revenue, and 9 cents to 11 cents in EPS. It notes revenue growth is not consistent with 10% to 12% full year guidance as number of expected deals, particularly in the DOC1 unit, were not able to be closed by June 30.

General Electric (GE) reported second-quarter earnings per share of 38 cents, vs. 44 cents a year ago, on flat revenue growth. The EPS met the consensus estimate. GE narrowed its 2003 EPS guidance from a range of $1.55 to $1.70 to $1.55 to $1.61.

Coca-Cola (KO) says the U.S. Attorney's Office for Northern District of Georgia initiated an investigation arising from allegations raised in civil litigation recently filed in Atlanta by Matthew Whitley, a former employee.

Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA) gets tentative FDA approval for its ANDA for Fosinopril tablets for hypertension and management of congestive heart failure. The drug is the generic equivalent of Bristol-Myer Squibb's (BMY) Monopril.

Manitowoc Company (MTW) sees lower than expected second-quarter earnings per share of 30 cents to 35 cents (excluding special charges), and 80 cents to $1.00 in 2003. The company cites difficult crane market conditions.

Hercules (HPC) sees second-quarter earnings per share of 27 cents to 29 cents, vs. a loss of 14 cents, ahead of expectations. It cites higher sales, improved operating profits, and lower taxes.

Monaco Coach (MNC) sees second-quarter earnings per share slightly above breakeven and $266 million to $268 million in revenue.

Quantum Corp (DSS) lowers its first-quarter forecast revenue to $200 million to $205 million revenue and 6 cents to 8 cents GAAP loss, and 3 cents to 5 cents non-GAAP loss. It cites lower-than-expected media revenue and slower-than-expected sequential momentum in tape drive sales.

Fastenal (FAST) posted second-quarter earnings per share of 28 cents (excluding extraordinary gain), vs. 29 cents, despite 8.2% net sales rise.

Shaw Group (SGR) posts third-quarter earnings per share of 30 cents (excluding charge), vs. 61 cents, on 9.5% revenue drop. It sees 23 cents to 25 cents in fourth-quarter EPS, and $1.15 to $1.25 in fiscal year 2004.


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