Markets & Finance

Kmart Climbs on Profit Outlook


Discount retailer Kmart (KMRT) expects significant profit for November and December, citing strong inventory management and the reduction of unprofitable promotions. Shares advanced.

Siebel Systems (SEBL) sees approximately 8 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share, vs. the previous 5 cents to 6 cents estimate. The business software maker sees $365 million fourth-quarter total revenues, vs. the previous $335 million to $355 million estimate. Shares rose. S&P keeps its hold ranking, and Goldman keeps its in-line rating. Shares rose.

Vulcan Materials (VMC) sees 57 cents 4Q EPS from continuing operations, above the 37 cents to 52 cents guidance, citing stronger aggregate shipments in construction materials and improved results in chemicals. Shares fell.

CIBC World reiterated its sector outperform rating on Cell Therapeutics (CTIC). On Friday the company completed its acquisition of Novuspharma S.p.A., a cancer-oriented, late-stage product company.

Pacific Growth raised its estimates on enteprise-software maker SAP (SAP) ahead of an expected strong fourth quarter.

Legg Mason downgraded Sunrise Senior Living (SRZ) to hold from buy.

Drugmaker Eli Lilly (LLY) sees 65 cents to 67 cents first-quarter earnings per share, and $2.80 to $2.85 2004 earnings per share, excluding significant unusual items. Shares fell.

Discount retailer Walgreen (WAG) posted 25 cents, vs. 22 cents first-quarter earnings per share (including items) on 17% higher total sales and 12% higher same-store sales. Shares were higher.

USB Piper upgraded Triquint Semiconductor (TQNT) to outperform from market perform.

Repligen (RGEN) says a Phase III trial of secretin for autism failed to meet its targets.

Needham upgraded Electro Scientific (ESIO) to buy from hold.

CS First Boston downgraded Aflac (AFL) to underperform from neutral.

Outback Steakhouse (OSI) posted 2.5% higher December sales for its U.S. Outback restaurants open at least 18 months. Also, the company says its 2004 beef costs will be about 9% to 10% higher than 2003 levels, which is in line with its earlier forecast. In December, shares were impacted on news that the government discovered a case of Mad Cow disease in the U.S.

Corixa (CRXA) was awarded an $11.6 million five-year contract from the National Institute of Health to develop propriety synthetic molecules that act on the TLR4 receptor. Preclinical studies show Corixa's drug candidates activate the immune system against infections, especilaly respiratory ones.

Mobility Electronics (MOBE) sees fourth-quarter revenues of $1 million to $1.3 million below the $15 million guidance, with earnings per share below the fourth-quarter target of breakeven to 1 cent. The maker of products for mobile computer users, says distribution partner Fellowes did not place the minimum required orders of power products. As a result, Mobility terminated its agreement with Fellowes.

Navigant (FLYR), a provider of business travel services, says it sees fourth-quarter earnings per share at the high end of the 10 cents to 12 cents guidance range, and set a $1.42 2004 earnings per share guidance.

Merrill reportedly downgraded AT&T Wireless (AWE) to neutral from buy.


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