Markets & Finance

Toll Brothers Jumps


BB&T Capital upgraded Toll Brothers (TOL) to strong buy from buy. On Wednesday the company posted $1.19, vs. 93 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share on a 28% revenue rise. The homebuilder also forecast 20%+ higher fiscal 2004 and fiscal 2005 net income.

Merrill Lynch upgraded Allegheny Technologies (ATI) to buy from neutral. The specialty metals maker announced ATI Allegheny Ludlum revised the raw material surcharge formula for all stainless, super stainless steel, and tool steel products, effective Jan. 4, 2004.

UBS Financial upgraded AirTran Holdings (AAI) to neutral from reduce.

Jefferies upgraded Goodrich (GR) to buy from hold.

Telecom company Citizens Communications (CZN) will explore strategic alternatives. Lehman believes investors should be aggressive buyers of Citizens up to $12 to $13. S&P reiterates hold.

Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPDI) sees $760 million to $770 million 2004 revenue, excluding reimbursed out-of-pocket expenses, and $1.65 to $1.72 earnings per share. S&P reiterates hold. Baird downgraded to neutral from outperform.

Roth Capital upgraded Lexar Media (LEXR) to strong buy from buy.

WR Hambrecht cut its estimates on Neoforma (NEOF). The supply-chain management company expects 2003 results to be at the low end of the previously announced range of $10.5 million to $13.5 million net income (GAAP), on $80 million to $83 million adjusted revenue.

Baird reportedly upgraded Recreation-vehicle maker Thor Industries (THO) to outperform from neutral. On Wednesday the company announced a 2-for-1 stock split and raised the dividend by 100%.

Procter & Gamble (PG) confirmed the prior second-quarter total sales growth guidance of 14% to 18%. The consumer-products maker also confirmed the prior fiscal 2004 earnings per share guidance.

Dow component Caterpillar (CAT), a maker of agricultural machinery, named James W. Owens as the next chairman and CEO, replacing Glen A. Barton, who has elected to retire Jan. 31, 2004.

Triquint Semiconductor (TQNT) says due to strong bookings, especially for wireless phones products, the company raised the fourth-quarter guidance to breakeven-to-slight profit on revenue of $85 million to $87 million. This compares to the previous guidance of a 2 cents to 4 cents loss per share on revenue of $80 million to $83 million.

AT&T (T) announced a major initiative to deliver full complement Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) services to business customers and consumers in 2004.

Goodyear Tire (GT) will delay, until next year, the filing of an amended 2002 10-K/A to do an identification of possible improper accounting issues in Europe. The delay could impact the company's ability to satisfy certain obligations to the United Steelworkers of America.

Merrill reportedly upgraded Brocade Communications (BRCD) to neutral from sell.

Oshkosh B'Gosh (GOSHA) says due to order cancellations from Kids 'R' Us and overall business conditions, the apparel company now sees a $3.5 million fourth-quarter pre-tax inventory related charge. Oshkosh also sees $1 million in additional fourth-quarter charges, and now expects 58 cents to 64 cents 2003 earnings per share.

Ciena (CIEN) posted a 24 cents fourth-quarter loss, vs. a $1.75 loss (GAAP) on a 14% revenue rise. Ciena sees first-quarter revenue flat-to-10% higher sequentially.

Watson Pharmaceuticals (WPI) says preliminary results from one of two Phase III trials of a topical anti-fungal therapy for nail fungus did not provide a statistically significant greater number of complete cures vs. a placebo.

Dentsply (XRAY) agreed to sell its Gendex equipment business to a unit of Danaher (DHR) for $102.5 million cash plus the assumption of certain operating and pension liabilities.


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