Markets & Finance

EBay Meets Targets, but Warns on Full-Year Profit


After the close of trading Thursday, Internet auction giant eBay (EBAY) posted third quarter earnings per share of 18 cents (excluding items), vs. 11 cents -- meeting analysts' average estimates. Revenue rose 84%, to $530.9 million, topping expectations. While eBay sees 21 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share (excluding items), in line with consensus, its 72 cents earnings per share forecast for 2003 would miss expectations of 75 cents earnings per share.

After the close of trading Thursday, chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) posted a third-quarter loss per share of 9 cents, vs. a loss per share of 74 cents, surpassing analysts' expectations for a loss per share of 36 cents. Revenue jumped 88% to $953.8 million, beating consensus estimates.

An FDA panel recommended, with conditions, approval of Inamed (IMDC)'s premarket approval application to market gel-filled breast implants in the U.S.. S&P reiterates buy. CIBC World rates sector outperform. Oppenheimer initiates with buy. Shares advanced.

Computer maker and information-technology services giant IBM Corp. (IBM) sank. IBM posted $1.02, vs. 99 cents, third-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations, meeting analysts' average expectations. Revenue rose 9%, to $21.5 billion, slightly less than expected. Chairman and chief executive Sam Palmisano said he saw signs of economic stabilization and expects an pick-up in information-technology spending, though he stopped short of calling for a full rebound. He also said that IBM needed to fill about 10,000 new positions in several key skill areas in 2004. S&P reiterates buy.

Timberland (TBL) posted $1.47, vs. $1.30, third-quarter earnings per share on a 6.6% revenue rise. The footwear apparel company thinks mid to high single-digit revenue growth is an appropriate business goal for the balance of 2003. Timberland set a four million share buyback. Merrill upped its estimates, and S&P raised its price target.

Northwest Airlines (NWAC) posted 49 cents third-quarter earnings per share, vs. a 55 cents loss, as lower operating expenses offset slightly lower operating revenue.

Interpore (BONZ) posted 9 cents, vs. 8 cents, (including a tax benefit) third-quarter earnings per share on 26% higher total revenue. Interpore notes international sales were soft. Wedbush Morgan downgraded to hold from buy. WR Hambrecht reportedly downgraded to hold.

Wedbush Morgan upgraded Wet Seal (WTSLA) to buy from hold.

Caterpillar (CAT) posted 62 cents, vs. 61 cents, third-quarter earnings per share on a 9.3% revenue rise. Caterpillar still sees 2003 revenues up about 10%, but raised the earnings per share forecast to $3 due to its focus on cost control. The maker of equipment for the agriculture industry sees 2004 revenue about 10% higher than in 2003. S&P keeps hold.

Apple Computer (AAPL) posted 8 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share (excluding an investment gain and accounting adjustments), vs. a 13 cents loss on a 19% revenue rise. The computer maker sees a "slight" sequential increase in first-quarter earnings per share (GAAP) on revenue of $1.9 billion. Morgan Stanley keeps equal-weight.

Online video-rental company NetFlix (NFLX) rose after posting 10 cents, third-quarter earnings per share, vs. a 13 cents loss (GAAP) on a 77% revenue rise. NetFlix posted 19 cents third-quarter earnings per share, vs. a 1 cent loss (non-GAAP). The company upped the fourth-quarter guidance to a $200,000 loss to $2.3 million net income (GAAP), and $3 million to $6 million net income (non-GAAP). First Albany raised its estimate and price target.

UnitedHealth (UNH) is higher after it posted 77 cents, vs. 56 cents, third-quarter earnings per share on a 16% consolidated revenue rise. The health-benefits provider sees $2.91 2003 earnings per share, and 21% earnings per share growth in 2004. S&P keeps accumulate.

Enterpise-software maker SAP (SAP) posted 81 euro cents ($0.95), vs. 65 euro cents third-quarter earnings per American depositary share on 3% higher total revenue (on a constant currency rate). SAP sees 2003 earnings per ADS (pro forma) at the higher end of the previous 3.45 euros to 3.60 euros guidance.

Medical-supplies maker Owens & Minor (OMI) posted 34 cents, vs. 29 cents, third-quarter earnings per share on a 7% revenue rise. It sees $1.40 2003 earnings per share, and reaffirmed the 5% to 7% revenue growth guidance. Baird downgraded to neutral from outperform.

New York Times (NYT) posted 33 cents, vs. 38 cents, third-quarter earnings per share as softness in advertising revenues, and higher health-care costs, offset a 4.1% revenue rise. The publisher of The New York Times newspaper says 2003 earnings per share could be slightly below 2002. Morgan Stanley upgraded to overweight from equal-weight.

Manpower (MAN) posted 56 cents, vs. 52 cents, third-quarter earnings per share on an 11% revenue rise. The human-resources services company sees 49 cents to 53 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share, and $1.61 to $1.65 earnings per share in 2003. S&P reiterates accumulate.

QLogic (QLGC) posted 35 cents, vs. 24 cents, second-quarter earnings per share on a 23% revenue rise. S&P upgraded to hold from avoid. Merrill upgraded to buy from neutral.

Health-technologies company Millipore (MIL) posted 50 cents, vs. 39 cents, third-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations on a 14% net sales rise. It doesn't expect to achieve revenue from the biotechnology business in the fourth quarter at the same level as the third quarter. Baird downgraded to neutral from outperform.

Mercury Computer (MRCY) posted 15 cents, vs. 19 cents, first-quarter earnings per share despite a third-quarter revenue rise. Mercury sees 13 cents to 17 cents second-quarter earnings per share on $39 million to $42 million in revenue.

Allstate (ALL) posted 91 cents, vs. 73 cents, third-quarter earnings per share on an 11% higher consolidated revenue rise. Allstate raised the $3.50 to $3.65 2003 earnings per share guidance to $3.65 to $3.90. Banc of America raised its estimates and target.

Maytag (MYG) posted 46 cents (including items), vs. 77 cents, third-quarter earnings per share (reported) despite a 4.6% sales rise. The home-appliances giant sees 40 cents to 45 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share and $1.62 to $1.67 2003 earnings per share (both including charges). S&P downgraded to hold from accumulate.

CEC Entertainment (CEC) posted 64 cents, vs. 59 cents, third-quarter earnings per share on a 14% revenue rise. The operator of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants sees 44 cents to 45 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share, and $3 to $3.05 in 2004.

Cima Labs (CIMA) received an unsolicitated letter from a publicly held pharmaceutical companys indicating an interest in pursuing a business combination with Cima, which would result in shareholders receiving a value in the range of $30 per share.

Nokia (NOK) posted 18 euro cents ($0.21), vs. 18 euro cents third-quarter earnings per share (pro forma) on a 5% net sales fall. The mobile-phone maker sees breakeven fourth-quarter earnings per share (pro forma) on 1.4 billion euros in net sales, with handset sales flat-to-slightly higher. SoundView cuts its estimates.

Ford Motor (F) posted 13 cents third-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations, vs. a 14 cents loss despite a 6.4% sales decline. The auto maker raised the 70 cents 2003 guidance for earnings per share from continuing operations (excluding special items) to 95 cents to $1.05.

General Mills (GIS) received a formal request for information from the Securities and Exchange Commission concerning its sales practices and related accounting.

Altria (MO) posted $1.22, vs. $2.06 (including a 81 cents one-time gain for the Miller Brewing transaction) third-quarter earnings per share despite a 4.7% net revenue rise. The food and tobacco manufacturer reaffirmed the $4.50 to $4.60 2003 earnings per share guidance.

Fannie Mae (FNM) posted $2.69, vs. 98 cents, third-quarter earnings per share (GAAP) on a 35% rise in net interest income. The mortgage financier says for the next few quarters, declines in net interest margin should result in lower-than-trend growth in its core business earnings per share.

Nextel Communications (NXTL) posted 32 cents, vs. 55 cents, third-quarter earnings per share despite a 27% revenue rise. Nextel raised the previous 2903 earnings per share guidance of at least $1.00 to $1.15 or more.

Cypress Semiconductor (CY) posted 8 cents third-quarter earnings per share, vs. a 3 cents loss, on a 5.7% revenue rise. The chipmaker expects to grow and become more profitable in the fourth quarter.

Abgenix (ABGX) and AstraZeneca (AZN) entered into a broad collaboration, license, and investment alliance to discover, develop, and commercialize fully human monoclonal antibodies to treat cancer; AstraZeneca will make a $100 million upfront equity investment in Abgenix.

CBRL Group (CBRL), the operator of Cracker Barrel restaurants, now expects first-quarter earnings per share to increase 20% or more from the 45 cents earnings per share it posted a year ago, vs. the previous 52 cents to 54 cents guidance. For the rest of fiscal 2004, CBRL continues to expect earnings per share growth at or above its long-term objective of 15%, compared to quarterly results in fiscal 2003.

Guidant (GDT) posted 47 cents third-quarter earnings per share (GAAP) on a 15% revenue rise. Guidant posted 58 cents third-quarter earnings per share (adjusted) from continuing operations. It raised the 2003 earnings per share (adjusted) guidance to $2.36 to $2.41, and sees $3.68 billion to $3.72 billion in revenue.

Sabre Holdings (TSG), a provider of services for the travel industry and the operator of Travelocity, expects third-quarter results to be in line with the previous 18 cents earnings per share (GAAP), and $527 million revenue guidance.


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