Markets & Finance

McData Earnings Top the Street


Data-storage company McData (MCDTA) posted October-quarter earnings of 2 cents per share, excluding items, 3 cents better than analysts' average estimates. Revenues rose 17.1% to $94.7 million, slightly beating consensus estimates. McData sees fourth-quarter earnings per share of breakeven to 1 cent earnings per share, vs. expectations of 4 cents earnings per share.

Applebee's (APPB) reaffirmed the earnings per share guidance of $1.73 to 1.75, excluding items, in line with consensus estimates. The restaurant chain also reported a 6.1% rise in November comparision sales.

Merck & Co. (MRK) has a cervical cancer vaccine now in Phase III trials that Tim Anderson, Prudential's analyst, says could be a $3 billion number and hit market sooner than expected, according to Barron's.

Roy Disney, the nephew of the Disney founder, resigned as vice chairman of Walt Disney (DIS) and called for chairman and CEO Michael Eisner to step down after criticizing Eisner's management and performance. S&P reiterates hold.

Boeing (BA) chairman and CEO Phil Condit resigned, effective immediately. The defense contractor named Lewis Platt as non-executive chairman and Harry Stonecipher as president and CEO. Condit was reportedly ousted amid investors' dissatisfaction with Boeing amid a series of scandals. Less than a week ago, CFO Mike Sears was fired for improper job dealings with a former Pentagon official. S&P reiterates buy, saying the scandals are unlikely to affect Beoing's deals with the Pentagon.

Protein Design Labs (PDLI) and Genentech (DNA) reached an agreement in principle to resolve a dispute relating to Protein Design's antibody humanization patents and some of Genentech's humanized antibodies. Pacific Growth upgraded to overweight from equal-weight. S&P keeps hold.

A move by Baby Bells into voice-over-Internet Protocol presents a daunting competition for companies such as 8x8 (EGHT), which has at least three better-known players to deal with in addition to the Bells. The company's effective market value exceeds $300 million, according to Barron's.

Neurogen (NRGN) and Merck formed an exclusive worldwide alliance for next-generation drugs for pain and other disorders. Upon regulatory approvals, Merck will make a $15 million license fee payment and purchase $15 million of Neurogen's stock.

Gric Communications (GRIC) completed its acquisition of Axcelerant. Kaufman Bros. upgraded to buy from hold.

Triad Hospitals (TRI) thinks the 48 cents fourth-quarter consensus earnings per share estimate, and the $2.35 2004 estimate are in the upper end of the company's own preliminary estimated range. S&P reiterates accumulate.

Wal-Mart (WMT) says sales at its U.S. stores were $1.52 billion on "black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving -- up 6.3% from a year ago.

The FDA approved Thoratec 's (THOR) pre-marketing approval supplement to market its TLC-II Portable Ventricular Assist Device driver for home discharge.

Icad (ICAD), a medical imaging provider, agreed to merge with CADx Systems, and its parent company, Qualia Computing. Icad will issue 4.3 million shares of stock in exchange for all shares of Qualia and CADx, and will pay $1.55M cash and execute a secured promissory note in the amount of $4.5 million.

UBS Financial downgraded software maker Business Objects (BOBJ) to neutral from buy.

IBM Corp. (IBM) is preparing a shake-up of its $13.1 billion software business in a bid to boost sales within the maturing software market, and position itself for an expected upturn in corporate technology market, according to The Financial Times.


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