Markets & Finance

Cigna Soars


Insurer Cigna (CI) posted $1.45, vs.$1.45 third-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations on a 6% revenue drop. Net income was $1.39 earnings per share, vs. a loss of $6.27. Citigroup upgraded to buy from hold. S&P maintains hold.

Skyworks (SWKS) posted a 30 cents fourth-quarter loss, vs. a 1 cent loss (GAAP) on a slight net sales decline. The wireless chipmaker sees 1 cent fiscal 2004 earnings per share. CIBC World downgraded to sector perform from sector outperform. SoundView cut its estimates.

IndyMac Bancorp (NDE) posted 87 cents, vs. 64 cents third-quarter earnings per share on a 32% revenue rise. The mortgage financier raised the dividend rate by 5 cents sequentially, to 20 cents, for the fourth quarter, which is double that of the first and second quarters. IndyMac sees $2.90 to $3.25 2004 earnings per share. S&P reiterates buy.

Guitar Center (GTRC) posted 23 cents, vs. 19 cents, third-quarter earnings per share on 7% higher same-store sales, and 17% higher total sales. Guitar Center sees 69 cents to 73 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share on $378 million to $385 million total sales. Wedbush Morgan cut its estimates. B. Riley downgraded to neutral.

AutoZone (AZO) shares down as the company reported that partners affiliated with hedge fund ESL Investments have agreed to sell about 5.6 million of AutoZone common shares via a public offering. S&P reiterates accumulate.

WR Hambrecht initiated coverage of Netopia (NTPA) with buy.

CV Therapeutics (CVTX) says the FDA indicated that it needed additional clinical information before approving Ranexa, for the treatment for chronic angina. Earlier, the company reported that it had received an approvable letter from the FDA. CIBC World downgraded to sector perform from sector outperform.

CIBC World downgraded Talx (TALX) to sector underperform from sector perform. On Thurrsday Talx, a provider of automated employment and income verification services, cut its fiscal 2004 earnings per share from continuing operations guidance to 96 cents to $1.00, forecast 22 cents to 24 cents third-quarter earnings per share, and posted 23 cents second-quarter earnings per share.

American Power Conversion (APCC) posted 28 cents, vs. cents 21 cents third-quarter earnings per share on a 17% revenue rise. Jefferies upgraded to buy from hold. S&P reiterates hold.

Wireless phone and accessories maker Brightpoint (CELL) posted 27 cents, vs. 62 cents third-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations as higher costs offset a 58% revenue rise.

Microsoft (MSFT) reportedly has approached privately held Internet portal Google within the last two months to discuss a partnership or even a merger.

CoinStar (CSTR) posted 32 cents, vs. 24 cents (fully taxed) third-quarter earnings per share on 8.4% higher same-store sales. S&P upgraded to avoid.

Lehman reportedly upgraded Halliburton (HAL) to overweight from equal-weight.

Ingram Micro (IM) posted 53 cents third-quarter earnings per share (GAAP), vs. a 6 cents loss. Ingram posted 9 cents, vs. 13 cents third-quarter earnings per share (non-GAAP, including items) on a 7% revenue decline.

John Hancock Financial (JHF) posted 79 cents, vs. 64 cents third-quarter consolidating net operating income. The financial services company posted 66 cents, vs. 54 cents third-quarter earnings per share. John Hancock raised the 2003 guidance for operating earnings per share growth to 9% to 12%, from the previous 7% to 11%.

Varian Semiconductor (VSEA) posted 3 cents, vs. 4 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share on an 11% revenue decline.


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