Markets & Finance

Sierra Health Falls


Banc of America downgraded Sierra Health (SIE) to sell from neutral on valuation.

Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals (HEPH) posted a 25-cent second-quarter loss, vs. a 36-cent loss on reported revenues of $63,000.

Maxim Integrated (MXIM) posted fourth-quarter earnings per share of 36 cents, vs. 24 cents one year earlier, on a 43% net revenue rise. S&P reiterates accumulate. Schwab SoundView and Morgan Stanley raised estimates.

Cablevision Systems (CVC) posted second-quarter consolidated operating income of $159.1 million, vs. $26.2 million, on a 25% total revenue rise. The company says second-quarter consolidated adjusted operating cash flow increased 48% to $435.4 million.

CS First Boston upgraded Priceline.com (PCLN) to outperform from neutral.

Thomas Weisel downgraded Tiffany & Co. (TIF) to peer perform from outperform.

Medarex (MEDX) posted a second-quarter loss per share of 55 cents, vs. a 37-cent loss, on a 17% revenue decline and higher operating costs.

Citigroup (C) will acquire Knight Trading's (NITE) derivatives markets business for $225 million in cash. Knight increased its $110 million stock repurchase program to $250 million.

Interdigital Communications (IDCC) posted second-quarter earnings per share of 1 cent, vs. 5 cents, as higher operating expenses offset a 14% revenue rise. The company expects recurring patent licensing royalties to be $27 million to $30 million per quarter for the rest of 2004.

MIM Corp. (MIMS) and ChroniMed (CHMD) agreed to merge; the combined company will be named BioScrip. Terms: 1.025 MIM shares per ChroniMed share; ChroniMed holders will own 37% of the new company, MIM holders 63%. MIM posted second-quarter earnings per share of 9 cents, vs. 16 cents, on a 4.4% revenue drop.

In addition to three previously disclosed proposals, on August 5, QRS Corp. (QRSI) says it received another unsolicited joint proposal from a public company and a private equity firm to acquire QRS for $6 to $7 cash per share.

Adams Harkness upgraded Ultratech (UTEK) to strong buy from buy. The company was unavailable for comment.

Wheeling-Pittsburgh (WPSC) posted second-quarter earnings per share of $2.79, vs. a 70-cent loss, on a 42% net sales rise. The company expects steel pricing to continue to strengthen in the third quarter as a result of continued high demand.

UBS Financial reportedly upgraded Deere & Co (DE) to buy from neutral.

Citigroup upgraded Toys "R" Us (TOY) to buy from hold.

Dillard's (DDS) inked a deal to sell substantially all assets of Dillard National Bank to GE Consumer Finance for about $1.25 billion, which includes assumption of $400 million of securitization liabilities and the purchase of owned accounts receivable.

Novartis (NVS) sets a 3 billion Swiss franc share buyback plan. The company notes the program will apply exclusively to Novartis registered shares listed on SWX Swiss Exchange, not to Novartis American Depositary Shares traded on the NYSE.


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