Markets & Finance

Red Hat Climbs


McDonald Investments upgraded Red Hat (RHAT), Open Text (OTEX), Citrix Systems (CTXS), Adobe (ADBE), and Documentum (DCTM) to buy from hold.

Merrill upgraded FedEx (FDX) to buy from neutral.

Smithfield Foods (SFD), the world's largest pork producer, won a bid at an auction to acquire substantially all assets of Farmland Industries' pork business for $367.4 million, including liabilities. Merrill upgraded to buy from neutral. Farmland is liquidating its assets after filing for bankruptcy in May, 2002.

Citigroup downgraded Internet auction giant EBay (EBAY) to sell from hold, and cut the price target to $48, from $55, citing weakness in the motors category.

Agriculture-equipment maker Lindsay Manufacturing (LNN) posted 16 cents, vs. 8 cents, fourth-quarter earnings per share on a 1.5% revenue rise. Lindsay sees double-digit earnings per share growth in fiscal 2004 on an 8% to 10% revenue rise. S&P maintains hold.

Harrah's Entertainment (HET) agreed to a purchase minimum of 11,000 new coinless-capable gaming machines from International Game Technology (IGT). Merrill upgraded International Game Technology to buy from neutral.

ImClone Systems (IMCL) and Bristol-Myers (BMY) say the FDA has accepted for filing and review ImClone's biologics license application for the use of cancer drug Erbitux, in combination with irinotecan, for the treatment of patients with certain type of metastatic colorectal cancer.

Sports Authority (TSA) raised the third-quarter guidance to $550 million in sales, a 1%-2% same-store sales gain, and 13 cents to 15 cents earnings per share, vs. the previous guidance for 3 cents to 5 cents earnings per share. The retailer now sees $1.98 to $2.03 fiscal 2004 earnings per share. All estimates exclude one-time merger integration costs.

Banc of America downgraded Micron Technologies (MU) to neutral from buy.

Banc of America upgraded Dick's Sporting (DKS) to buy from neutral.

Lehman upgraded Computer Associates (CA) to overweight from equal-weight.

Motorola (MOT) posted 5 cents, vs. 5 cents, third-quarter earnings per share (GAAP) on a 5% revenue rise. Motorola sees an 8 cents to 12 cents fourth-quarter (GAAP) earnings per share on $7.5 billion to $7.8 billion in sales. S&P keeps hold.

SoundView upgraded Altera (ALTR) to outperform from neutral.

Hartford Financial (HIG) sees $1.15 to $1.18 third-quarter earnings per share (including items related to a Bancorp dispute, and costs related to Hurricane Isabel). The company adjusted the 2003 earnings per share guidance to $5.10 to $5.25 (excluding an asbestos charge and the Bancorp expense), vs. the previous $4.95 to $5.20 earnings per share.

SoundView downgraded Texas Instrument (TXN) to neutral from outperform.

Intel (INTC) competitors, including Sun Microsystems (SUNW) and Fujitsu, are stepping up attacks on Intel, unveiling plans this week for new microprocessor chips targeted at portable computers and server systems, according to The Wall Street Journal .

Lehman Brothers upgraded Sonicwall (SNWL) to overweight from equal-weight as part of a rise in its infrastructure-software sector rating to positive from neutral. AG Edwards upgraded Sonicwall to buy from hold.

WebMD (HLTH) sees $250 million in third-quarter revenue, below the $257 million consensus estimate. WebMD sees 9 cents third-quarter income from continuing operations before taxes, non-cash, restructuring, and other items, below the 11 cents consensus estimate. Also, the health-information website sees 3 cents third-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations.

Banc of America downgraded Micron Technologies (MU) to neutral from buy.


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