Markets & Finance

Oracle Meets Street Estimates


After the close of trading Thursday, database-software giant Oracle (ORCL) posted 12 cents third-quarter earnings per share, vs. 11 cents -- meeting analysts' averge expectations. Revenue rose 9%, to $2.5 billion.

British Airways (BAB) shares are seen lower on concerns that the bombings in Madrid may prompt travelers to cancel their trips.

In response to information presented to Congress about its work on government contracts in the Middle East, Halliburton (HAL) says it thinks every point has a reasonable explanation or could be refuted outright. S&P keeps accumulate. Halliburton is being questioned for allegations that it overcharged for Iraq-related work. In the last three trading days, the oilfield-services firm has lost almost $1.5 billion in market value. S&P says accumulate.

Yellow Corp. (YELL) narrowed its first-quarter earnings per share guidance to 30 cents to 35 cents, from the previous range of 25 cents to 35 cents. The trucking company says it remains comfortable with its 2004 earnings per share guidance of $3.00, plus or minus 10%. Bear Stearns raised its estimates. S&P keeps accumulate.

S&P Ratings Service views Calpine 's (CPN) cash tender for its 4% convertible senior notes due Dec. 26, 2006 as mildly credit-positive, as it alleviates the significant refinancing risk. S&P's ratings and outlook remain unchanged.

Target (TGT) retained Goldman Sachs to review strategic alternatives for its Mervyn's and Marshall Field's department-store chains. Alternatives include, but aren't limited to, the possible sale of one or both of these divisions. Citigroup upgraded the shares to buy.

Leapfrog Enterprises (LF) sees an 18 cents to 22 cents first-quarter loss on $66 million to $72 million in sales and reduced gross margin. Bear Stearns downgraded to peer perform from outperform. Deutsche Bank reportedly downgraded the stock to sell from hold.

Trikon Technologies (TRKN) reported the departure of its CEO and president, Jihand Kiwan. Trikon named John Macneil as acting CEO.

Nortel Networks (NT) delayed the filing of its 2003 annual reports as it re-examines certain accruals and provisions recorded in prior periods. Nortel believes it will need to revise results for 2003 and restate previous financials for one or more earlier periods. Deutsche Bank says confidence has been damaged in Nortel's accounting. S&P keeps its hold ranking.

Quiksilver (ZQK) posted 16 cents, vs. 12 cents first-quarter earnings per share on a 33% revenue rise. The retailer raised its fiscal 2004 guidance to $1.22 to $1.25 earnings per share on revenue of $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion. Wachovia upgraded the shares to outperform from market perform.

EchoStar Communications (DISH) and Viacom (VIA.B) reached a long-term, multi-channel agreement providing for the satellite TV distribution of the CBS, BET, and MTV Networks channels it previously carried. EchoStar may seek a 15-day extension to filing its 2003 10-K.

Elizabeth Arden (RDEN) posted 39 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share, vs. a 2 cents loss on a 26% revenue rise. The cosmetics company sees first-quarter sales up at a percentage rate in the high single digits, and sees operating earnings per share improving by 35 cents to 40 cents over first-quarter fiscal 2004. It sees fiscal 2005 sales up 8% to 10%, and earnings per share up 22% to 24%.

Transkaryotic Therapies (TKTX) posted a 43 cents fourth-quarter loss per share, vs. a $1.36 loss (both including items) despite 19% lower revenue.

Ceradyne (CRDN) set a 3-for-2 stock split.

E.W. Scripps (SSP) reported consolidated revenues for February increased 19% year over year to $168 million. The publisher notes February results were affected by an extra day in the month and an additional Sunday, vs. a year ago.

Tech Data (TECD) posted 67 cents, vs. 58 cents (non-GAAP) fourth-quarter earnings per share on a 23% sales rise. S&P raised its estimates, but keeps hold.

American Management System (AMSY) agreed to be acquired by CGI Group (GIB) via a cash tender offer of $19.40 per American Management share. Concurrently, the U.S. assets of American Management's Defense and Intelligence group will be sold for $415 million to CACI International. S&P keeps hold.

Clarus (CLRS) posted a 1 cent fourth-quarter loss, vs. a 43 cents loss as lower costs offset a 97% revenue decline. It won't hold conference calls to discuss quarterly earnings releases unless, until it consummates an acquisition in connection with its redeployment strategy.

Urban Outfitters (URBN) posted 45 cents, vs. 21 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share on a 21% same-store sales rise, and a 50% total sales rise. The retailer plans to open 24 to 27 new stores, including one or two new Free People stores, during fiscal 2005.


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