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IBM Ends Lower after Warning

Polymedica (PLMD) says an SEC investigation has been terminated; SEC doesn't recommend enforcement action.

A New York Attorney General's office reportedly ordered Merrill Lynch (MER) to overhaul its corporate ratings.

IBM Corp. (IBM) reportedly sees lower than expected $0.66-$0.70 vs. $0.98 Q1 EPS. The company cited a tough business environment and a slowdown in customer spending decisions. Separately, IBM said it will lay off 600 customer engineers in its Global Services operations in the U.S., according to press reports. S&P downgraded to accumulate from buy. Thomas Weisel cut estimates.

RBC Capital downgraded Electronic Data Systems (EDS) to underperform from sector perform.

Intuit (INTU) raised Q3 EPS (pro forma) about $0.05, and expects revenue to be at higher end of current $520M-$544M range. S&P reiterates buy.

JP Morgan downgraded Interpublic (IPG) to long-term buy from buy, and sees disappointing revenue growth in the first half of 2002.

First Albany downgraded F5 Networks (FFIV) to neutral from buy. On Friday the company forecast a $0.06-$0.08 loss vs. a $0.04-$0.06 loss target.

Lehman reportedly upgraded Sycamore (SCMR) to strong buy from market perform.

Ameritrade (AMTD) reportedly agreed to acquire Datek Online Holdings for about $1.3B in stock. Separately, Ameritrade sees $105M-$110M Q2 revenue.

Computer Associates (CA) sees a Q4 operatingg loss improving from its prior guidance of a $0.04-$0.05 loss on $770M revenue (GAAP basis).

Reliant Resources (RRI) says the SEC is conducting an informal inquiry of facts and circumstances surrounding the company's recent restatement of Q2 and Q3 EPS.

Standard Microsystems (SMSC) posted $0.04 Q4 EPS vs. breakeven from continuing operations on a 3.3% revenue rise, and expects Q1 fiscal 2003 income from continuing operations to be modestly positive vs. a $0.10 loss a year ago.

Kenneth Cole (KCP) sees $92M Q1 revenues, and $0.26 EPS vs. previous guidance of $88M-$92M revenue, and $0.16-$0.18 EPS.

Sports Authority (TSA) sees Q1 EPS from operations slightly positive vs. a $0.16 loss last year, and raised its $0.60 fiscal 2002 EPS forecast to the $0.65 range, citing solid mid-single digit percent same store sales for Q1 and stronger than planned margins.

Big Lots (BLI) posted 24% March higher same store sales, and 30% higher total sales. The company notes that the benefit from the early Easter, a shift of one advertising circular from April into March, and March being a fiscal four-week period.

Liberty Media (L) set a buyback of 25M shares of its Series A stock, and 1M shares of Series B stock, at a price of $13 per share.

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