Markets & Finance

Career Education Tumbles


Career Education (CECO), for-profit education provider, says an investigation of allegations raised by a former employee of its Brooks Institute of Photography unit has shown that the allegations are false, malicious, and possibly libelous. The former employee has accused officials of inflating enrollment numbers to boost profits. Similar charges were made last month by another former employee at the company's Gibbs College unit in Montclair, N.J.

Goldman Sachs says an upcoming conference call with General Motors (GM) should bring good news concerning the company's pension plan, and the auto maker might raise its 2004 earnings per share guidance.

Online advertising-services firm FindWhat.com (FWHT) signed a private-label contract with Verizon's (VZ) Verizon Information Services unit, which operates SuperPages.com. The deal will allow FindWhat.com to enter the local search market. First Albany reiterates buy.

Nanogen (NGEN) received a U.S. patent that broadens its proprietary position in nanotechnology and nanomanufacturing areas.

S&P Ratings revised its outlook on Deutsche Bank (DB) to stable from negative, reflecting a stabilized operating environment for its key business and sustained further improvements in profitability.

Legg Mason initiated coverage on Genesis Healthcare (GHCI) with buy. CIBC World initiated coverage with sector outperform. Wachovia initiated coverage with market perform.

Aftermarket Technology (ATAC) entered a non-binding letter of intent to sell its British engine business for $32 million in cash. The company is also talks with a bank group to amend an existing credit facility to allow a $60 million stock buyback. Aftermarket expects to achieve $1.28 to $1.50 2004 earnings per share (adjusted).

Merck & Co. (MRK) sees $3.11 to $3.17 2004 earnings per share (including a restructure charge related to ongoing efforts to lower costs, including eliminating positions through 2004.) Wall Street's current consensus estimate is $3.16 earnings per share. Merck says it also plans to continue a stock buyback program.

Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) anticipates making up to 16 significant product filings in 2004 and 2005. Glaxo expects to file for regulatory approval of its first dual Kinase inhibitor in 2005, and a filing for Cervarix is expected in 2008.

Friedman's (FRM) announced CEO Bradley Stinn has resigned, effective immediately. The retailer notes Stinn has agreed to cooperate with the company and an audit committee during the transition period. Friedman's elected Robert Cruickshank as non-executive chairman.

UBS Financial upgraded enterprise-software maker PeopleSoft (PSFT) and Oracle (ORCL) to buy from neutral.

Movie Gallery (MOVI) affirmed the 45 cents to 47 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share guidance (excluding certain charges).

Banc of America downgraded Kohl's (KSS) to neutral.

Xilinx (XLNX) sees 6% to 9% third-quarter sequential revenue growth. The chip maker says gross margin remains at roughly 62%. S&P reiterates accumulate.

Chico's FAS (CHS) posted 30 cents, vs. 18 cents third-quarter earnings per share on a 21% same-store sales rise, and a 53% net sales rise. USB Piper reportedly downgraded to market perform from outperform.

Sports Authority (TSA) posted 17 cents, vs. 11 cents third-quarter earnings per share (excluding merger integration costs) on a 1.7% same-store sale rise and a sharp total sales rise. The retailer raised the fiscal 2004 earnings per share guidance to $2.55 to $2.60 (excluding merger integration costs).

Lennar (LEN) posted a preliminary 19% rise in fourth-quarter new-home orders.


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