Markets & Finance

Procter & Gamble Raises Outlook


After the close of trading Tuesday, Procter & Gamble (PG) said third-quarter and fiscal 2004 earnings per share would beat consensus estimates by 1 cent to 2 cents. The maker of Crest toothpaste and Tide laundry detergent, among other consumer products, also is raising its dividend to 50 cents, from 46 cents, and will split its stock 2-for-1.

Kindred Healthcare (KIND) posted a $1.50 fourth-quarter loss, vs. 18 cents earnings per share despite a 4.9% revenue rise. Kindred estimates that sales from the proceeds of a divestiture of 10 unprofitable facilities purchased from Ventas will approximate $27 million.

S&P ties weakness in shares of Foundry Networks (FDRY) to the company's remarks at a brokerage firm's technology conference that its first-quarter results were not expected to differ materially from the fourth quarter. S&P reiterates accumulate. Deutsche Bank sees a buying opportunity.

Late Monday, Moody's placed Biovail's (BVF) debt ratings under review for a downgrade. Moody's cited falling revenue in the generics business, other product lines, rising debt, R&D costs, and the pending expiration of a credit facility.

Quiksilver (ZQK) agreed to acquire DC Shoes, which had more than $100 million in 2003 sales, for an initial payment of $56 million cash, 1.6 million restricted Quiksilver shares, and the assumption of about $10 million in debt. The apparel maker sees the deal as mildly accretive to earnings per share in fiscal 2004, and will add 6 cents to earnings per share in fiscal 2005.

S&P says shares of Reliant Resources (RRI) are down following the news that a U.S. Attorney in Northern California plans to seek a criminal indictment against an Reliant trading unit for allegedly withholding power over two days in June, 2000. S&P maintains buy.

99 Cents Only (NDN) announced the completion of review by the SEC's division of Corporate Finance of the company's s 10-K and 10-Qs for the quarters ended Mar., June, and Sept. 2003. The SEC says 99 Cents Only will no longer be required to make adjustments to previously reported periods.

In an 8K filing, Halliburton (HAL) says increased work in Iraq, and potential delays of certain billings related to work in Iraq, required the company to raise substantial funds and could require additional funds to meet current and potential future liabilities.

Waypoint Financial (WYPT) agreed to be acquired by Sovereign Bancorp (SOV) in a deal valued at about $980 million. Terms: Waypoint holders to get $28 in cash and 1.262 Sovereign shares, or a combination thereof per share.

Kroger (KR) posted a 45 cents fourth-quarter loss (including 89 cents in items), vs. 50 cents earnings per share on 4.5% higher total sales (including stores affected by labor disputes). The grocery chain expects fiscal 2005 earnings per share to be lower than fiscal 2004, excluding the effect of labor disputes and items.

Nike (NKE) expects third-quarter revenue will increase more than 20% over the prior year. As a result, Nike estimates third-quarter earnings per share of 71 cents to 74 cents, citing businesses in the U.S. and Asia Pacific regions, and favorable foreign exchange. Analysts, on average, were expecting 64 cents earnings per share.

Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM) reportedly says February sales rose 49% to 18.4 billion Taiwanese dollars, from a year ago's 12.3 billion Taiwanese dollars.

EchoStar Communications (DISH) says Viacom's (VIA.B) demands for rate increases and other terms had left its Dish Network satellite TV service with no choice other than to remove 16 of Viacom's CBS local stations and 10 of its nationally distributed channels.

Merrill Lynch upgraded Winn-Dixie Stores (WIN) to neutral from sell. On Monday the grocery chain brought Bennett Nussbaum on board as CEO.

Banc of America downgraded Sun Microsystems (SUNW) to neutral from buy.

Texas Instruments (TXN) sees 19 cents to 22 cents first-quarter earnings per share on revenue of $2.835 billion to $2.95 billion, vs. the previously guided range of 16 cents to 22 cents earnings per share, and revenue of $2.72 billion to $2.95 billion. S&P downgraded to accumulate from buy.

Amgen (AMGN) says the FDA approved Sensipar, which is indicated for the treatment of secondary hyperparathyroidism in chronic kidney disease patients on dialysis, and the treatment of elevated calcium levels in patients with parathyroid carcinoma.


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