Markets & Finance

Texas Instruments Dips


Nokia (NOK) sees lower-than-expected first-quarter sales of 6.6 billion euros ($8.13 billion), a decline of 2% from last year, vs. the guidance of up 3% to 7%. Nokia sees 17 euro cents earnings per share, vs. the guidance of 17 euro cents to 19 euro cents. The cell-phone maker says mobile phones and multimedia sales are below expectations. S&P keeps its buy ranking. Shares fell.

J.P. Morgan downgraded Texas Instrument (TXN) to underweight from neutral, and reiterated its underweight rating on R.F. Micro Devices (RFMD) and Triquint Semiconductor (TQNT).

Brooktrout (BRKT) sees lower than expected first-quarter revenue of $18.1 million to $18.3 million. The communications hardware and software company expects to breakeven or achieve a "small" profit. Needham downgraded to hold from buy. Raymond James cut the shares to market perform from strong buy. Shares fell.

Zoll Medical (ZOLL) sees 16 cents to 20 cents second-quarter earnings per share on $50 million to $51 million in revenue, with earnings substantially below the prior First Call estimate. Zoll says order rates in the international market were lower than it had anticipated, while orders in the North American emergency medical services market weren't as strong as it expected. Shares fell.

Mamma.com (MAMA) received notification that the Securities and Exchange Commission has begun a informal inquiry relating to recent trading activity in the company's securities.

Investment bank Morgan Stanley (MWD) will acquire risk-management firm Barra (BARZ) for about $816.4 million, or $41 a share for Barra. Barra will be combined with Morgan Stanley Capital International, which provides stock, bond, and hedge-fund indexes. Shares of Barra soared on the news, while Morgan Stanley's shares inched higher.

Tupperware (TUP) raised the earnings per share guidance for the first quarter to a range of 21 to 24 cents, and upped the 2004 estimate to a range of $1.23 to $1.33, citing better operational performance, lower interest expense, and lower corporate costs. S&P upgrades to hold, from avoid. Shares advanced.

News Corp. (NWS) will move its corporate headquarters to New York, from Australia, and list its primary shares on the New York Stock Exchange. The media giant, which owns the Fox News Channel, 20th Century Fox film studios, newspapers, and cable and pay-TV stations, earns more than 75% percent of its profits in the U.S. The company expects the move to benefit all shareholders, and significantly expand the shareholder base. Goldman Sachs says the news is "positive", and sees at least 15% stock-price appreciation. S&P reiterates its accumulate ranking. Shares were up slightly today in mid-day trade.

SafeNet (SFNT) sees 15 cents to 21 cents first-quarter earnings per share on $25 million to $27 million in revenue, and $1.30 to $1.40 2004 earnings per share. The provider of Virtual Private Network technology says its estimates include results from the recently acquired Rainbow Technologies, but excludes related costs, which SafeNet expects to be "significant." Needham cut the first-quarter estimates.

Mesa Air (MESA) says year-over-year revenue passenger miles increased 78.4% in March, 2004, to 423.6 million, vs. 237.4 million in March, 2003. Total available seat miles increased 54.9% in March, 2004.

Black & Decker (BDK) sees 90 cents to 93 cents first-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations., vs. the prior guidance of 65 cents to 70 cents. The household-appliances maker cited strong demand in its North American businesses.

Bank of America (BAC) plans to cut about 12,500 jobs, or 7% of its workforce, beginning this month.

Cummins (CMI) sees better-than-expected 65 cents to 75 cents first-quarter earnings per share, and $4 to $4.20 in 2004, citing strong engine volumes and a broad recovery in many of its key markets.

BJ's Wholesale Club (BJ) posted 7% higher March comparable club sales, and 13% higher March sales.

Boston Scientific (BSX) says preliminary Mar. 8 through Mar. 31 U.S. sales results of its Taxus Express2 paclitaxel-eluting coronary stent system were about $98 million, stronger than expected. UBS Financial reiterates buy. S&P keeps accumulate.

New Century Financial (NCEN) says its board voted in favor of converting the company to a to Real Estate Investment Trust. It also raised the quarterly dividend 25%. Roth Capital upgraded to strong buy from buy. Jefferies raised its estimates and price target.


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