Markets & Finance

Albertson's Sinks


Merrill downgraded retail food and drugstore chain Albertson's (ABS) to sell from neutral.

Goldman Sachs downgraded Home Depot (HD) to in-line from outperform. Goldman thinks higher mortgage rates will lead to slower new-home sales, resulting in a slowdown in the do-it-yourself home-improvement market.

Nokia (NOK) expects third-quarter earnings per share (pro forma) to be at the high end of slightly above the previously stated guidance of 15 euro cents to 17 euro cents, reflecting continued strong mobile-phone pro forma operating margins.

Jefferies initiated coverage on Dynamics Research (DRCO) with buy.

J.P. Morgan reportedly downgraded Choice Hotels (CHH) to neutral from overweight.

Goldman downgraded May Department Stores (MAY) to underperform from in-line, and downgraded Federated Department Stores (FD) to in-line from outperform.

XM Satellite Radio (XMSR) announced its service will be a standard feature on certain models of Honda's Accord for the 2004 model year. Additionally, all 2004 Honda S2000 roadsters will be shipped to dealers as "XM-ready," later this year.

Research in Motion (RIMM) raised its $105 million to $115 million second-quarter revenue forecast to $123 million to $126 million. The handheld-device maker sees 2 cents to 5 cents second-quarter earnings per share, and 7 cents to 11 cents earnings per share excluding a patent litigation provision. Merrill Lynch and J.P. Morgan upgraded. UBS Financial upgraded the shares to buy. S&P upgraded to hold.

Generic drugmaker Alpharma (ALO) cut the 25 cents to 30 cents third-quarter operating earnings per share forecast to to 10 cents to 15 cents, and cut the 50 cents to 55 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share to 40 cents to 45 cents. Alpharma also trimmed the 2003 forecast to 90 cents to $1.00. Banc of America cut its price target.

PEC Solutions (PECS) says due to continued delays in new government awards, and slower-than-expected start-ups of several contracts, it lowered the third-quarter earnings per share guidance to 14 cents to 15 cents, and cut the revenue forecast to $43 million to $45 million. J.P. Morgan downgraded.

Pharmaceutical Resources (PRX) announced its unit began shipping generic Paxil, an antidepressant, to U.S. customers. AG Edwards and CIBC World upgraded.

McDonald's (MCD) posted 3.8% higher August McDonald's same-store sales (in constant currencies), and 10% higher systemwide sales (7% in constant currencies). CIBC World raised its third-quarter earnings per share estimate, and maintains its sector outperform rating.

Deutsche Bank upgraded Cisco Systems (CSCO) to buy from hold.

Sara Lee (SLE) reaffirmed its 23 cents to 28 cents first-quarter earnings per share guidance, and its $1.51-$1.61 fiscal 2004 earnings per share guidance. Sara Lee anticipates 2%-4% annual top-line growth, mid-single digit operating income growth, and 8%-10% earnings per share growth.

The FDA is scheduled to the discuss efficacy and safety of Raptiva, made by Xoma (XOMA) and Genentech (DNA), in the treatment of adult patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.

Countrywide Financial (CFC) says in its diversified businesses, earnings are expected to expand collectively at a faster pace than those of its mortgage banking business. Overall, Countrywide believes it's well-positioned not only for the near term, but for the long term as well.

UBS Warburg reportedly upgraded Motorola (MOT) to buy from neutral.

Banc of America downgraded BEA Systems (BEAS) to sell.

Cymer (CYMI) sees $64 million in third-quarter revenue, at the high end of guidance. Other operating results are forecast to be generally in line with guidance. S&P reiterates buy.

J.P. Morgan upgraded Hilton Hotels (HLT) to overweight from neutral.

Merrill Lynch upgraded Comverse Technologies (CMVT) to buy from neutral.

Amgen (AMGN) filed a new drug application with the FDA for cinacalcet HCI, the first-in-class oral calcimimetic agent, licensed from NPSP, currently being investigated for the treatment of secondary hyperparathyroidism associated with kidney disease.

The FDA approved Bristol-Myers ' (BMY) supplemental new drug application for Abilify, for maintaining stability in patients with schizophrenia.


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