Markets & Finance

Oracle Beats Estimates


Oracle Corp. (ORCL) posted third-quarter earnings per share of 10 cents, vs. 12 cents earnings per share a year ago, on $2.95 billion in revenue. Excluding acquisition and restructuring charges and a $10 million stock-based compensation expense, Oracle said it had a non-GAAP profit of $814 million, or 16 cents a share. The company beat the consensus estimate of 15 cents earnings per share.

Electronic Arts (ERTS) cut $1.90 to $1.95 fiscal 2005 earnings per share (non-GAAP) estimate to $1.70 to $1.72 on revenue of $3.1 billion to $3.125 billion. The company cited lower-than-expected sales in both North America and Europe. S&P reiterated a hold ranking, while William Blair downgraded the stock to market perform and Piper Jaffray cut estimates.

Wyeth (WYE) says given the strong performance of some of its key brands, continued favorable foreign exchange, and other factors, first-quarter earnings per share (pro forma) is expected to be in the mid- to upper 70-cents range or higher. S&P kept its hold ranking and raised estimates.

Quiksilver (ZQK) reached an agreement in principle to acquire Rossignol Group SA for $320 million. Quiksilver believes the deal will be accretive by 4 cents to 6 cents to fiscal 2005 earnings per share.

General Electric's (GE) Capital unit has withdrawn its $2 billion loan facility for General Motors (GM) and its suppliers, according to the Financial Times.

Banc of America upgrades Motorola (MOT) to buy from neutral and raises its target to $20.

Retek (RETK) agreed to be acquired by Oracle (ORCL) for $11.25 per Retek share. SAP (SAP) dropped out of bidding.

Mattel (MAT) set an additional $250 million stock buyback.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) agreed to acquire Snapfish, an online photo service. S&P kept its hold opinion.

Sears, Roebuck (S) will be removed from the S&P 500 index after its merger with Kmart (KMRT). The surviving company, Sears Holding Corp., will replace Sears, Roebuck in the S&P 500 after the close of trading on Mar. 24.

Williams-Sonoma (WSM) posted 86 cents (including a 9 cents impact from a lease accounting adjustment), vs. 85 cents a year ago, fourth-quarter earnings per share on a 1.5% same-store sales rise and a 7.9% total revenue rise. The company sees $3.503 billion to $3.573 billion in fiscal 2006 revenue and $1.83 to $1.87 earnings per share.

Lennar Corp. (LEN) posted $1.17, vs. 84 cents a year ago, first-quarter earnings per share on a 29% revenue rise. The company raised $6.90 fiscal 2005 earnings per share goal to $7.15 (excluding a 13-cent second-quarter charge on redemption of notes).

Biomet (BMET) posted 38 cents, vs. 34 cents, third-quarter earnings per share on a 18% sales rise. The company sees 42 cents to 44 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share. It sets a $100 million stock buyback.


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