Markets & Finance

Oracle Slightly Tops Estimates


After the close of trading Tuesday, software giant Oracle (ORCL) posted first-quarter 10 cents earnings per share, vs. 8 cents. Revenue rose to $2.2 billion, vs. $2 billion. Analysts, on average, were expecting 9 cents earnings per share on revenue of $2.23 billion.

Yahoo! agreed to buy Web-based digital music and software provider Musicmatch for $160 million in cash.

Kroger (KR) posted 19 cents, vs. 25 cents second-quarter EPS despite 2.1% same food-store sales (including fuel). It says it will be challenging to achieve fiscal 2005 same food-store sales. S&P keeps hold.

Office Depot (ODP) cut the third-quarter earnings per share guidance to 26 cents to 28 cents and cut the 2004 guidance to to $1.08 to $1.14, citing recent hurricanes. The retailer doesn't expect to recover the shortfall during the fourth quarter, and sees additional risks because of a lowered sales outlook for the balance of the year.

Jefferies initiated coverage on Playboy Enterprises (PLA) with buy.

JP Morgan upgraded Harrah's Entertainment (HET) to outperform from neutral.

LSI Logic (LSI) says based on customer reassessment of end demand for the second half of the year, it lowered the $435 million to $465 million third-quarter revenue guidance to $370 million to $400 million, and cut the breakeven to 3-cent third-quarter loss (GAAP) to a 14-cent to 17-cent loss. Wachovia downgraded to market perform from outperform.

A consortium led by Sony (SNE) and its equity partners confirmed it has agreed in principle to acquire Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) for $12 cash per share, plus the assumption of debt. Time Warner (TWX) dropped out of the bidding late Monday.

Pier 1 Imports (PIR) posted 12 cents, vs. 20 cents second-quarter earnings per share on a 3% same-store sales drop and a 5.7% total sales rise. Pier 1 sees third-quarter same store sales of -4% to flat and 28 cents to 35 cents earnings per share. The retailer sees 52 cents to 62 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share and $1.05 to $1.22 fiscal 2005 earnings per share.

Cardinal Health (CAH) expects a 25% first-quarter earnings per share decline, and a 10% to 15% first-half decline, citing model transition in the pharmaceutical-distribution business. Cardinal delayed filing a 10-K for fiscal 2004, and filed an 8-K with the SEC providing information about the effect of an expected restatement.

Bisys Group (BSG) delayed filing its Form 10-K for fiscal 2004. Bisys cited certain issues, particularly in connection with the documentation process in the company's preparation for a SAS 70 review. It has hired independent counsel to assist in the investigation.

Vivendi Universal (V) posted 888 million euros, vs. 833 million euros in second-quarter operating income on an 8.4% revenue rise. Vivendi raised the 2004 guidance to above 1 billion euros in adjusted net income.

Cisco Systems (CSCO) agreed to acquire privately held Dynamicsoft. Terms: $55 million in cash, including $3.8 million in outstanding debt.


Steve Ballmer, Power Forward
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