) to buy from hold. Jefferies upgraded to hold from underperform.
Watson Pharmaceuticals (WPI
) received final approval from the FDA on its generic equivalent of Endo Pharmaceuticals' Percocet tablets.
First Cash Financial (FCFS
) says based on a strong third quarter, it now expects $1.38 to $1.41 2003 earnings per share from continuing operations. First Cash notes July and August results, combined with projected results for September and beyond, make it clear that its earnings forecast will exceed prior forecasts.
Merrill believes Abgenix 's (ABGX
) stock could begin performing better if ImClone Systems trades up, and the valuation gap between two stocks widens. Merrill thinks ImClone could trade higher if the FDA accepts its Erbitux filing within the next 30 days.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN
) and Aventis entered into a global agreement under which the companies will jointly develop and commercialize a Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Trap.
Computer and technology retailer CDW Corp. (CDWC
) agreed to acquire certain assets of Micro Warehouse, a computer reseller, for $22 million. S&P reiterates accumulate.
Citigroup raised the semiconductor-equipment sector rating to overweight from marketweight. Citigroup upgraded ATMI and Credence Systems, and says its favorite stocks remain Applied Material (AMAT
) Novellus Systems, Axcelis Technologies, and Lam Research.
Soundview initiated coverage on data-storage maker EMC Corp. (EMC
) with outperform.
Bell Canada, in conjuction with Aliant and Bell West, will team up with Nortel Networks (NT
) to build Canada's most advanced Next Generation Network based on Internet Protocol. Initially, Bell Canada plans to invest 200 million Canadian dollars.
Credit Suisse First Boston upgraded IBM Corp. (IBM
) to outperform from neutral, calling IBM "the ideal late-cycle tech spending recovery play."
The FDA approved Barr Laboratories' (BRL
) Seasonale Extended, an oral contraceptive for the prevention of pregnancy.
WR Hambrecht reportedly downgraded Peet's Coffee (PEET
) to hold from buy on valuation.
Raymond James upgraded Andrx (ADRX
) to strong buy from market perform. First Albany reiterates strong buy. On Friday Andrx settled a patent dispute with Pfizer and Alza over Andrx's generic equivalent to a diabetes treatment, Glucotrol XL. Andrx will receive a royalty-bearing sublicense that will allow it to manufacture the generic drug.
RF Micro Devices (RFMD
) expects second-quarter fiscal 2004 revenue and earnings per share to exceed prior guidance, and expects net income to be at or slightly above breakeven. Friedman Billings upgraded to outperform.
Legg Mason upgraded Array BioPharma (ARRY
) to buy from hold, and added the stock to its select list.
Vion Pharmaceuticals (VION
) and Eli Lilly entered a research services agreement related to Phase 2 trials of it's anticancer agent Triapine in combination with Lilly's anticancer agent, Gemzar.
Morgan Stanley upgraded Gatx (GMT
) to equal-weight from underweight.
Discount-chain giant Wal-Mart (WMT
) says it's on track to meet its target of September same-store sales growth of 3% to 5%. For August, it posted a better-than-expected 6.9% gain.
) said the Securities and Exchange Commission has opened a formal investigation of possible accounting irregularities.
ICN Pharmaceuticals (ICN
) targets $1.90 2008 earnings per share on about $1.5 billion total revenue.
Dow Jones (DJ
) says advertising linage, or volume for August, at its flagship newspaper The Wall Street Journal U.S. edition declined 10%, with year-to-date linage down 8.9%. Dow Jones notes August is a seasonally low period, however, for September it's now experiencing a strong level of ad reservations.