Stocks in the news Monday
From Standard & Poor's Equity ResearchApple (AAPL) shares are higher after the company's CEO Steve Jobs commented on his loss of weight by stating that the doctors think they found the reason for his weight loss: a hormone imbalance that has been "robbing" Jobs of the proteins his body needs to be healthy. Jobs has already begun treatment. Investors had been concerned that the reason for Jobs' weight loss was due to a return of a serious illness Jobs suffered from a few years ago.
Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPDI) purchases Merck's (MRK) vaccine testing lab and related equipment. As part of this collaboration, PPDI will be providing MRK with assay development and immunogenicity testing services to support MRK's vaccine portfolio over a period of five years.
Walgreen (WAG) posts 4.9% higher December same-store sales, 11% higher total sales. Posts 8.5% higher December same-store pharmacy sales. Notes comparable pharmacy sales were hurt by 2.5 percentage points due to generic drug introductions in last 12 months.
Altera (ALTR) - Wachovia upgrades ALTR to outperform from market perform. Wachovia raises its view on the U.S. semiconductor industry to overweight from market weight.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) - Deutsche Bank reportedly cuts estimates and target price for JPM.
Synovus Financial (SNV) expects fourth quarter loan loss provision of about $350 million, with an estimated charge-off ratio of about 3.2%. Says largest component of these elevated charges relates to Atlanta market residential real estate credits. Also expects to increase its loan loss reserve during the quarter, and says it is assessing its goodwill for potential impairment during the fourth quarter. Morgan Keegan downgrades to market perform from outperform.
Endo Pharmaceuticals Holdings (ENDP) - Caris downgrades ENDP to above average from buy.
Navistar International (NAV) sees $5.10-$5.60 fiscal year 2009 EPS, below current Street view of $5.95. Notes weak North American business climate. Believes industry forecast for the U.S. and Canadian retail sales volume for Class 6-8 trucks and school buses for the fiscal year 2009 should total between 244,000 to 256,000 units. Industry volumes totaled 244,100 units in fiscal year 2008; volume was among the lowest in more than 30 years.
Conn's (CONN) preliminarily estimates that product sales and service maintenance agreement sales rose approximately 15% in December, on same-store sales growth of approximately 5%, resulting in the largest monthly sales volume in its history. It says consumer electronics sales continued to show strong growth, furniture and mattresses provided solid increases and appliance sales were essentially flat.
Multi-Fineline Electronix (MFLX) sees first quarter sales of about $215 million and gross margin of 14%-16%. In addition, says its current business outlook indicates that strong customer demand for its products is continuing into the second quarter. It sets 2.25 million share buyback.