Markets & Finance

WellPoint to Buy WellChoice


WellPoint (WLP), the giant health insurer agreed to acquire WellChoice (WC) the parent of Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, for about $6.5 billion.

Taser International (TASR) said the Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry is now a formal investigation giving the SEC subpoena power to obtain documents and testimony from all relevant parties. Taser believes the probe has been expanded to now include examining individuals outside of the company.

Argonaut Group (AGII) estimated it will incur about $10 million in pre-tax losses relating to Hurricane Katrina and roughly $8 million in pre-tax charges attributable to legacy issues in the third quarter.

Movie Gallery (MOVI) suspended its quarterly cash dividend.

Pepsi Bottling (PBG) posted 82 cents vs. 73 cents third quarter earnings per share (GAAP) on 9.5% higher revenue. The company narrowed its former $1.82 to $1.88 2005 earnings per share guidance range to $1.83 to $1.87.

Regis (RGS) Due to first quarter same-store sales trends and the impact of hurricanes, sees earnings per share below the low end of its 51 cents to 56 cents guidance. Keybanc reportedly downgraded the company to buy.

Party City (PCTY) Agreed to be acquired by Berkshire Partners and Weston Presidio in a $360 million deal, at $17.50 cash per Party City share.

TriPath Imaging (TPTH) withdrew a pre-market approval supplement (PMAS) it had submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for its FocalPoint GS Imaging System. The company says the Food and Drug Administration informed the company that the PMAS must be amended to include additional data to support the intended claims.

Stride Rite (SRR) posted 21 cents vs. 16 cents third quarter earnings per share on 4.2% higher net sales.

Jabil Circuit (JBL) posted 34 cents vs. 22 cents fourth quarter GAAP earnings per share on a 25% revenue rise. The company sees 8% to 18% first quarter sequential revenue growth to $2.2 billion to $2.4 billion, and 32 cents to 39 cents GAAP earnings per share. The company sees $1.36 to $1.48 fiscal year 2006 GAAP earnings per share. S&P keeps a buy and Piper Jaffray upped its price target on the stock.

Audiovox (VOXX) said it sees a 16 cents to 18 cents third quarter loss, including charges, on lower-than-expected revenue of $123 million as the company's primary rivals drove reduced pricing by 50% for satellite radio plug and play units.

DiamondCluster International (DTPI) said it sees $48 million to $49 million in second quarter revenues, due to a pullback in spending by clients. The company sees 29 cents to 33 cents in earnings per share of second quarter loss, including $8 million to $9 million in restructuring charges. The company noted an adjustment to its earlier restructuring plan will result in an additional $3 million charge.

CBRL Group (CBRL) posted 2.4% lower September same-store restaurant sales and 11% lower retail sales. The company said a high energy cost outlook following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita drove September sales results below the company's earlier expectations.

TOR Minerals International(TORM) said it sees third quarter earnings being near breakeven levels because severe weather caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita delayed the shipment of raw materials to, and temporary suspension of operations, at its Corpus Christi, TX plant.

MSGI Security Solutions (MSGI) said that while it has not received notice of cancellation of its covert surveillance solution pilot program from NYPD Transit Police, it understands the project is on hold until such time as proper authorization obtained.

Eastman Kodak (EK) said it will begin shipping its Easyshare-One zoom digital camera to retailers. This is a Wi-Fi consumer digital camera.

Lennar (LEN) posted $2.06 vs. $1.36 third quarter earnings per share on a 27% revenue rise. The company raised its $7.80 fiscal year 2905 earnings per share from its continuing operations goal to $8.10. Lennar also set a $9.25 fiscal year 2006 goal.

SBS Technologies (SBSE) cut its first quarter sales guidance to $32 million to $33 million from $35 million to $37 million due to a combination of supplier problems and customer delays that kept certain shipments from occurring before the end of Sept. The company maintained a $165 million to $175 million fiscal year 2006 sales view.

Providian Financial (PVN) is to be removed from the S&P 500 after the close of trading on September 30, replaced by Ameriprise Financial, which is being spun off by American Express (AXP). Providian is being acquired.

SIGA Technologies (SIGA) entered into a one-year, $3.2 million contract with US Army Medical Research and Material Command for rapid identification and treatment of anti-viral diseases.

Gene Logic (GLGC) entered into an agreement with Pfizer (PFE) to seek new therapeutic indications for a significant number of unapproved drug candidates that aren't currently in active development.

Stride Rite (SRR) posted 21 cents vs. 16 cents third quarter earnings per share on 4.2% higher net sales.

Corcept Therapeutics Incorporated(CORT) revised the date by which it expects to report results of one of three trials of Corlux for the treatment of psychotic features of Psychotic Major Depression. Piper Jaffray cut its estimates on the stock.

Cell Therapeutics(CTIC)said its clinical trial of Xyotax in treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer showed that 35 women who received XYOTAX plus carboplatin had 36% probability of living at least 1 year vs. only 16% in 39 men.


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