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) Capital unit has withdrawn its $2 billion loan facility for General Motors (GM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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