Markets & Finance

EBay Tops Street Targets


After the close of trading Wednesday, EBay (EBAY) posted 21 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share, vs. Excluding items, the Internet auction giant posted 24 cents earnings per share. Analysts were expecting an average of 22 cents earnings per share. Sales rose 57%, to $648 million -- topping expectations. EBay says it sees $1.04 earnings per share for 2004, excluding items. Shares rose in after-hours trading.

CheckFree (CKFR) posted a second-quarter loss, vs. a 13 cents loss (GAAP) on an 11% revenue rise. CheckFree sees $149 million to $154 million third-quarter revenue, and 5 cents to 7 cents earnings per share (GAAP). The electronic billing company raised the fiscal 2004 earnings per share (GAAP) forecast to 4 cents to 8 cents. S&P reiterates hold, and raised its estimates. Merrill also raised its estimates.

OSI Pharmaceuticals (OSIP) began submitting parts of a New Drug Application package to the FDA for the use of Tarceva to treatment certain patients with incurable stage IIIB/IV non-small cell lung cancer. First Albany keeps buy.

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) posted 12 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share (including a 3 cents one-time gain), vs. a $2.49 loss. Sales rose 76%. Analysts were expecting an average of 4 cents earnings per share (excluding the gain.) The chip maker believes seasonal patterns will prevail in the first quarter, while aggregate sales will be down slightly. S&P reiterates accumulate, and raised its estimates. JPM Securities downgraded the shares.

Sanmina-SCI (SANM) posted 5 cents, vs. 1 cent first-quarter earnings per share (pro forma) on a 17% revenue rise. The electronics manufacturing services firm sees 3 cents to 5 cents second-quarter earnings per share on $2.75 billion to $2.9 billion in revenue. CFO Rick Ackel will leave the company. Bear Stearns downgraded the shares; CIBC World upgraded its rating. S&P raised its estimates.

Wireless chip maker RF Micro Devices (RFMD) posted 13 cents third-quarter earnings per share, vs. a 3 cents loss on a 32% revenue rise. RF Micro sees 2 cents to 4 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share on $152 million to $163 million in revenue. Schwab SoundView downgraded, and S&P cut its estimates.

Hard-drive maker Seagate Technology (STX) posted 41 cents second-quarter earnings per share despite a 1.7% revenue rise. Seagate sees 20 cents to 30 cents third-quarter earnings per share; and worse-than-expected fiscal 2004 earnings per share. Bear Stearns cut the shares to underperform from outperform.

Software maker SupportSoft (SPRT) posted 8 cents, vs. 3 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share (GAAP) on a 28% revenue rise. The company sees 7 cents to 8 cents first-quarter earnings per share on $14.8 million to $15.2 million in revenue, and 29 cents to 33 cents 2004 earnings per share on revenue of $63 million to $67 million.

Hutchinson Technologies (HTCH), which makes products for hard-disk drives, posted 60 cents, vs. 65 cents first-quarter earnings per share on flat sales. Hutchinson sees 40 cents to 50 cents second-quarter earnings per share on sales of $120 million to $130 million.

CNB Florida Bancorp (CNBB) agreed to be acquire by The South Financial Group in a $157 million deal. The terms are 0.84 South Financial share per CNB share.

Banc of America downgraded health-benefits providers Oxford Health (OHP) and Coventry Health (CVH) to sell from neutral.

Lucent Technologies (LU) posted 7 cents earnings per share (including items), vs. a loss of 11 cents. Sales rose 9%. Excluding items, Lucent earned 3 cents earnings per share, while analysts were looking for an average loss of 1 cent per share.

Merrill Lynch (MER) posted $1.23, vs. $1.04 fourth-quarter earnings per share (both including items) on 17% higher net revenue.

J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) posted 89 cents, vs. 36 cents (excluding items) fourth-quarter earnings per share with a 17% return on average common equity.

Knight Ridder (KRI) posted $1.22, vs. $1.16 fourth-quarter earnings per share on a 1.8% total operating revenue rise. The publishing company says the $4.00 2004 earnings per share consensus estimate is achievable.

Regis (RGS) posted 60 cents, vs. 52 cents second-quarter earnings per share on a 2.4% consolidated same store sales rise. The hair-salon chain raised its $2.17-$2.20 fiscal 2004 earnings per share guidance to $2.21-$2.24.

Eli Lilly (LLY) says it will offer to participate in all government-endorsed Medicare prescription drug discount cards.

Harley-Davidson (HDI) posted 60 cents, vs. 49 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share on 13% revenue rise. The motorcycle maker expects the growth rate for Parts and Accessories revenues to be slightly higher than its motorcycle unit growth rate, and sees general merchandise growth lower than the motorcycle unit growth rate.


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