Markets & Finance

Monster Worldwide Soars


Monster Worldwide (MNST) posted 9 cents second-quarter earnings per share vs. a 28- cent loss from continuing operations despite a 5.6% revenue drop. Baird upgraded to outperform from neutral. S&P reiterates sell.

The FDA granted fast-track status to Inspire Pharmaceuticals' (ISPH) new drug application for diquafosol tetrasodium ophthalmic solution, its treatment for dry eye.

Cardinal Health (CAH) posted 82 cents vs. 64 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share (GAAP) on 15% operating revenue growth. It expects fiscal 2004 earnings per share growth in the mid teens or better. Jefferies says the fiscal 2004 earnings per share growth forecast is below the historical growth, and keeps buy.

Kos Pharmaceuticals (KOSP) posted 31 cents second-quarter earnings per share vs. a 50-cent loss on a 70% revenue rise. Kos raised the 2003 earnings per share guidance to $1.20-$1.30.

Newell Rubbermaid (NWL) posted 27 cents vs. 33 cents second-quarter earnings per share. The consumer-products maker cut the 2003 earnings per share growth estimate to $1.60-$1.68, excluding charges; Newell now expects the 2003 internal sales growth to be between 0% and 2%. Merrill downgraded to sell from buy.

Technology services firm ManTech (MANT) posted 28 cents vs. 18 cents second-quarter earnings per share on a 49% revenue rise, and raised the third-quarter guidance to 28 cents to 29 cents earnings per share on $180 million to $184 million revenues. ManTech also upped the 2003 estimate to $1.07 to $1.09 on $695 million to $705 million in revenues. Friedman Billings upgraded to outperform.

Procter & Gamble (PG) posted 68 cents vs. 64 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share (including charges) on a 7.4% net sales rise. P&G sees mid-to-high single digit fourth-quarter revenue growth, is comfortable with the consensus earnings per share estimate, and sees double-digit earnings per share growth in fiscal 2004.

Overstock.com (OSTK) posted a 7-cent second-quarter loss vs. a 20-cent loss on sharply higher revenues. Pacific Growth downgraded to equal weight from overweight.

Sara Lee (SLE) posted 37 cents vs. 43 cents fourth-quarter despite a 3% sales rise. The food manufacture sees 23 cents to 28 cents first-quarter earnings per share, and expects challenging conditions to continue into the first quarter. Sara Lee sees $1.51-$1.61 fiscal 2004 earnings per share.

Liz Claiborne (LIZ) posted 41 cents vs. 36 cents second-quarter earnings per share on a 22% sales rise.

Fleetwood Enterprises (FLE) says first-quarter revenue rose 6%. It currently expects operating profits in motor homes and travel trailers to offset operating losses in the housing group and folding trailer division. As a result, Fleetwood anticipates reporting a slight first-quarter profit.

Inamed IMDC posted 56 vs. 37 second-quarter earnings per share on 20% sales rise. Says it settled litigation with Sager et al, recorded $2.1M special charge, included in second-quarter SG&A expense. S&P upgraded.

Chico's (CHS) will acquire privately held The White House. Terms: $85.6 million in cash, and $4.4 million in stock. Southwest Securities upgraded to strong buy from neutral.

Boyd Gaming (BYD) posted 7 cents vs. 26 cents second-quarter earnings per share despite flat revenues. Boyd sees third-quarter earnings per share generally in line with the second quarter. It set a $.075 quarterly dividend. J.P. Morgan reportedly downgraded to underweight.

Cigna (CI) says it's exploring strategic alternatives to maximize the value of its retirement and investment services business, including placing the business in a separate operating company with its own financial ratings, or a possible divestiture.

Whole Foods Market (WFMI) posted 45 cents vs. 36 cents third-quarter earnings per share on a 7.6% same-store sales rise, and a 15% total sales rise. Whole Foods sees 38 cents to 39 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share, and fiscal 2003 earnings per share at the lower end of the $1.62-$1.69 range, excluding a gain from the sale of Blooming Prairie. The natural foods grocery chain also forecast $1.87-$1.95 earnings per share in fiscal 2004.

Aetna (AET) raised its $4.75-$4.90 2003 operating earnings per share forecast to $5.55-$5.70. On Wednesday Aetna posted second-quarter earnings per share of 87 cents vs. 70 cents. Operating earnings were $1.28 vs. 32 cents -- beating analysts' average estimates for $1.02. Revenue fell 12% to lower health memberships. S&P keeps hold.

Smithfield Foods (SFD) sees 18 cents 21 cents first-quarter earnings per share, citing dramatically improved results in the hog production group as a result of a 25% increase in live hog prices during the quarter.

CIBC World upgraded McDonald's (MCD) to sector outperform from sector perform, and downgraded Wendy's (WEN) to sector perform from sector outperform.

Merrill believes there could be some near term upside potential in Walt Disney's (DIS) share performance given the projected strength in earnings per share over the next two to three quarters.

Chubb (CB) posted $1.45 vs. $1.20 second-quarter earnings per share. In light of first-half earnings per share, and expectations of continued strong performance, Chubb raised the 2003 earnings per share by 30 cents to the $4.90-$5.30 range. J.P. Morgan reportedly upgraded.

Applebee's (APPB) posted 35 cents vs. 37 cents second-quarter earnings per share despite a 3.6% same-store sales rise, and a 22% total operating revenue rise. It raised the 2003 earnings per share guidance to $1.70-$1.72 (excluding a charge).


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