Markets & Finance

Cisco's Profit Rises


Cisco Systems (CSCO) posted 21 cents first-quarter earnings per share, vs. 15 cents a year ago, on $1.5 billion in net earnings (excluding charges). Revenue rose 17% from a year ago to $5.97 billion. The EPS results for the networking giant were in line with analysts' estimates. The shares were down in after-hours trading.

Merck (MRK) shares moved lower Tuesday on news that the SEC is commencing an informal inquiry on Vioxx. Merck received a Justice Department subpoena requesting information on research, marketing, and selling activities for Vioxx in a federal health care investigation under criminal statutes.

Marsh & McLennan (MMC) posted 4 cents, vs. 65 cents a year ago, third-quarter earnings per share, as higher expenses offset a 4.7% revenue rise. The insurance broker set a $232 million reserve for any settlement reached with the New York Attorney General. A $40 million settlement deal in principle is reached with the SEC on its Putnam unit.

Anthem (ATH) and Wellpoint Health Networks (WLP) rise after the California Insurance Commissioner dropped his objections to Anthem's $16 billion acquisition of Wellpoint after Anthem agreed to more than double its previous offer to improve health care for California consumers and underserved communities, according to WSJ.com.

Boeing (BA) and its federal criminal investigation of dealings with the Air Force is branching out to include aspects of a $100 billion program it was overseeing for the Army, according to people familiar with matter, reports The Wall Street Journal.

EchoStar Communications (DISH) posted 22 cents, vs. 7 cents, third-quarter earnings per share (basic) on a 28% revenue rise. The company set a one-time $1.00 per share dividend.

Cigna (CI) was upgraded to overweight from neutral by J.P. Morgan.

Maytag (MYG) sees $1.50 to $1.60 for 2005 earnings per share, including about 5 cents in restructuring and related charges. S&P maintains its hold rating.

Western Wireless (WWCA) posted 30 cents third-quarter earnings per share, vs. a 23-cent loss per share, on a 24% revenue rise. The company will restate results for 2001 to 2003, as well as for the first- and second-quarter of 2004, for the required correction of accounting for certain direct labor costs in international operations.

Pacific Sunwear (PSUN) posted 42 cents, vs. 31 cents, third-quarter earnings per share on 6.6% higher same-store sales and 17% higher total sales. The company sees 5% same-store sales growth in the fourth-quarter. S&P reiterates buy.

Six Flags (PKS) posted 55 cents, vs. $1.20, third-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations on a 3.3% revenue decline. It expects 2004 revenue of $1.023 billion to $1.026 billion.


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