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WorldCom Meets Street's Lowered Expectations

WorldCom Inc. (WCOM) posted $0.20 vs. $0.31 Q4 EPS as higher costs offset a 15% revenue rise. The company reiterated its $1.55-$1.65 2001 cash EPS guidance.

Wal-Mart (WMT) posted 6% higher January total company same store sales, and 13% higher total sales.

QLT Inc. (QLTI) and Novartis' eye health unit announced results that showed Visudyne therapy reduces risk of vision loss in a new population of patients with wet age-related macular degeneration.

Electronic Data (EDS) posted $0.70 vs. $0.61 Q4 EPS from operations on a 14% revenue rise. S&P maintained its accumulate ranking.

AT&T (T) CEO C. Michael Armstrong threatened to pull the plug on its nascent efforts to secure a foothold in the local phone service market in New York and Texas, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Unilever (UN) posted 31% higher operating profit on 19% higher sales.

British Telecom (BTY) posted 0.46 GBP vs. 0.80 GBP earnings per ADR, despite 11% higher revenues.

Ann Taylor (ANN) sees $0.18 Q4 EPS (excluding charge), and $1.95 fiscal 2001 EPS on 14% revenue rise. The apparel company says it did not achieve a pre-holiday sell through on an incremental investment in occasion merchandise, and posted 14% lower January same store sales.

General Semiconductor (SEM) posted $0.26 vs. $0.23 Q4 EPS on a 6.3% sales rise. The chipmaker sees $0.18-$0.20 Q1 EPS from operations, and a 6%-9% Q1 sequential revenue decline.

Sears Roebuck (S) posted 2.6% higher January comparable domestic sales, and 3.9% higher total domestic sales.

Cendant (CD) posted $0.20 vs. $0.18 Q4 EPS (adjusted) despite a 12% revenue decline. The company raised its projected 2001 EPS from continuing operations to $0.93.

Mandalay Resort (MGB) says Q4 EPS will approximate year ago's $0.01, and its operational cash flow will be up roughly 15%. The company cites adverse weather and lower than expected results in some properties, as well as higher interest expense and depreciation.

Polo Ralph Lauren (RL) posted $0.52 vs. $0.33 Q3 EPS on a 20% revenue rise. The fashion retailer sees $0.42-$0.44 Q4 EPS on a 15% revenue rise, and sees $1.93-$1.98 fiscal 2002 EPS on 5%-7% revenue growth as well as improved gross margins and lower operational costs.

Talbots (TLB) posted a 4.1% January same store sales rise and a 34% total sales rise. The classic apparel company sees $0.49-$0.51 Q4 EPS vs. the consensus $0.48 and also sees higher total domestic sales.

Kmart (K) posted 4.3% higher January same store sales and 4.3% higher total sales.

Safeco (SAFC) cut its quarterly dividend 50% to $0.185 and says it will make a series of "tough decisions" in the coming months.

Robertson Stephens downgraded Aether Systems (AETH) to long term attractive from buy, and SG Cowen cut its rating to neutral from buy. On Wednesday the company posted a $0.90 Q4 loss vs. a $0.18 loss as higher costs offset a sharp revenue rise.

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) posted flat January same store sales, and 63% higher total sales.

Gottschalks (GOT) posted 7.8% higher January same store sales, and 35% higher total sales. The results exclude the additional week in January 2001.

Watchguard Technology (WGRD) posted $0.03 Q4 EPS vs. a $0.14 per share loss (pro forma) on a sharp revenue rise. UBS Warburg maintained its buy rating. Pacific Crest downgraded the stock to buy from strong buy.

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