Markets & Finance

Yahoo Earnings Soar


After the close of trading Wednesday, Yahoo (YHOO

) posted first-quarter earnings per share of 14 cents, vs. 8 cents. Analysts had been expecting an average of 11 cents per share. Yahoo also announced a stock split. Sales rose to $550 million, excluding acquisition costs.

Raymond James upgraded Lowe's Cos. (LOW

) to strong buy from market perform, but the stock declined in mid-day trading. On Monday, the home-improvement retailer said Robert Niblock will take over for Robert Tillman as chairman and CEO when he retires, which is scheduled for January, 2005.

According to The Wall Street Journal, online business-news portal MarketWatch.com (MKTW

) says the Securities and Exchange Commission has subpoenaed stock-trading records of four of its executives, including its CEO and editor-in-chief, as part of a probe into former columnist Thom Calandra. Shares declined.

Citigroup upgraded Wild Oats Market (OATS

) to buy from hold, saying the natural-foods grocer will likely achieve its 2004 guidance, despite skepticism on the Street. Shares rose.

Lehman Brothers upgraded Cigna (CI

) to equal-weight from underweight. On Monday the company forecast $1.75 to $1.95 first-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations due to stronger-than-anticipated performance from its health-care business.

Prudential cut its estimate on Hewlett-Packard (HPQ

), and keeps the neutral rating.

LittelFuse (LFUS

), which makes fuses and circuit-protection devices, will be added to the S&P SmallCap 600 Index after the close of trading on April 12. LittelFuse will replace Staten Island Bancorp, which is being acquired.

Oil and gas exploration outfit Westport Resources (WRC

) agreed to be acquired by oil and gas explorer and producer Kerr-McGee (KMG

) in a $3.4 billion deal. Terms: 0.71 Kerr-McGee share for each Westport share.

Aluminum maker Alcoa (AA

) posted 41 cents, vs. 17 cents first-quarter earnings per share on an 11% sales rise. But operating earnings were 40 cents a share, a penny short of analysts' estimates. The shares declined.

General Electric (GE

) and Rolls Royce were chosen by Boeing (BA

) to develop and supply engines for Boeing's new 7E7 Dreamliner, with orders of up to $60 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. United Technologies (UTX

) was informed by Boeing that its Pratt & Whitney unit's PW-EXX engine was not selected to power the jetliner.

Seagate Technologies (STX

) cut its third-quarter earnings per share forecast from the low end of a range of 20 cents to 30 cents, to a range of 6 cents to 8 cents (excluding the previously disclosed $125 million income-tax credit). The company says demand was modestly weaker than normal seasonal patterns. J.P. Morgan downgraded to underweight from overweight.

Ruby Tuesday (RI

) posted 48 cents, vs. 39 cents third-quarter earnings per share on a 4.1% rise in company-owned restaurants, and posted a 16% total operating revenue rise. The company set a goal for earnings per share growth of 17% to 18% for 2004 in the fourth quarter of 2004, and 15% to 18% for fiscal 2005. Banc of America raised the target to $37. S&P keeps hold.

Pharmaceutical Resources (PRX

) says the FDA granted marketing approval for the company's Ribasphere in combination with another drug for the treatment of hepatitis C.

Electro Scientific (ESIO

) posted 34 cents third-quarter earnings per share, vs. a 47 cents loss on an 86% sales rise.

Broadcom (BRCM

) acquired Sand Video. Terms: 1.666 million Broadcom shares, and $7.4 million in cash, in a $77.5 million deal.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM

) confirmed that management intends to recommend that the board declare a one-time dividend of $8.00 per share.

Electronic Data (EDS

) says it closed first-quarter earnings per share with strong sales activity, signing about $1.3 billion in contracts globally during the last week of the quarter.

Paradyne Network (PDYN

) says based on better-than-expected revenue, it now expects first-quarter pro forma earnings per share between breakeven to a 1 cent loss, vs. consensus estimates of a 4 cents loss . Paradyne cited strong demand across all market segments and product lines.

Titan (TTN

) and Lockheed Martin (LMT

) amended ther merger agreement. Titan shareholders will receive $20 in cash for each Titan share held.


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