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Oracle Boosts PeopleSoft Bid

Oracle (ORCL) raised its $21 per share fully-financed cash offer for PeopleSoft (PSFT) to $24 per share, which it says represents its best, final offer. PeopleSoft advised its shareholders to take no action at this time, as its board will review the offer. S&P rates PeopleSoft hold.

Humana (HUM) posted 52 cents vs. 38 cents third-quarter earnings per share on a 2.1% revenue rise. The company raised its 2004 earnings per share guidance to a range of $1.66 to $1.69. Humana sees $1.90 to $1.95 2005 earnings per share.

A Wall Street Journal report says Merck (MRK) fought for years to keep safety concerns from destroying Vioxx's commercial prospects, according to company e-mail, documents, and outside scientists. Prudential reportedly downgraded its rating on the stock to neutral. The shares were lower.

Tyco International (TYC) posted 22 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share vs. a 15-cent loss on a 13% revenue rise. The company sees 40 cents to 42 cents first-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations, with full fiscal 2005 earnings at $1.88 to $1.98. Videsh Sanchar Nigam will acquire the Tyco Global Network for $130 million.

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) says treatment with its investigational chronic hepatitis B antiviral agent entecavir was associated with significantly greater improvements in liver histology (primary study endpoint).

Kinetic Concepts (KCI) posted 46 cents third-quarter earnings per share vs. a 74-cent loss on a 30% revenue rise. The company sees 40 cents to 46 cents 2004 GAAP earnings per share ($1.61 to $1.67 non-GAAP). S&P reiterated its accumulate opinion.

Nam Tai Electronics (NTE) posted 30 cents vs. 24 cents third-quarter earnings per share from operations on a 48% sales rise. The company sees fourth-quarter earnings per share of 21 cents to cents on $130 million to $135 million in sales.

JP Morgan upgraded Marvel Enterprises (MVL) to overweight from neutral. On Oct. 29, the company posted 30 cents vs. 57 cents third-quarter earnings per share, and forecast earnings per share of 13 cents to 15 cents for the fourth quarter, 96 cents to 98 cents for 2004, and $1.07 to $1.12 for 2005.

Oregon Steel Mills (OS) posted $1.87 third-quarter earnings per share, vs. a 79-cent loss on an 84% revenue rise. The company sees $1.05 to $1.15 fourth-quarter earnings per share on lower total shipments than the previous quarter and decreased margins.

Accredo Health (ACDO) posted 26 cents vs. 36 cents first-quarter earnings per share despite a 24% revenue rise. Accredo cites declining reimbursement levels and a revenue mix of more products with lower margin profile than historical. The company reaffirmed its $1.45 to $1.53 fiscal 2005 earnings per share forecast.

Celeritek (CLTK) declared an extraordinary cash dividend of $3.00 per share. Management will seek shareholder approval of a 4-for-1 reverse stock split.

Littelfuse (LFUS) posted 49 cents vs. 19 cents third-quarter earnings per share on a 44% revenue rise.

Lubrizol (LZ) posted 61 cents vs. 47 cents third-quarter earnings per share on an 81% revenue rise. The company sees earnings per share of 35 cents to 40 cents for the fourth quarter and $1.74 to $1.79 for all of 2004. It says margin improvement remains a difficult challenge, and the availability of raw materials is also a growing concern.

Chalone Wine (CHLN) agreed to be acquired by Domaines Barons de Rothschild (DBR) for $11.75 per share in cash, which represents an increase of $2.50 per share over DBR's initial offer.

DoubleClick (DCLK) hired Lazard Freres to explore strategic options for its business. S&P reiterates hold.

Ivax (IVX) posted 17 cents vs. 9 cents third-quarter earnings per share on a 22% revenue rise. The company expects to meet or exceed its 71 cents 2004 earnings per share guidance. Ivax received FDA approval for a New Drug Application for its patented HFA formulation of albuterol in metered dose inhaler for asthma. S&P, Merrill Lynch, and JP Morgan each downgradedtheir ratings on the stock.

Taser International (TASR) and a unit of General Dynamics (GD) signed an agreement to develop, market, and produce a family of non-lethal conducted energy devices.

Haemonetics (HAE) posted 34 cents vs. 23 cents second-quarter earnings per share on a 3.9% revenue rise. The company reaffirmed its fiscal 2005 guidance of mid-single digit revenue growth and earnings per share of $1.38 to $1.43. Given its performance year-to-date, the company believes earnings per share will be toward the high end of its guidance.

Valero L.P. (VLI) and Kaneb Pipe Line Partners (KPP) will merge. As part of the transaction, Valero will acquire all of Kaneb Services (KSL) equity for cash. The general partner of the combined partnership will continue to be owned by an affiliate of Valero Energy (VLO); Kaneb Services and Kaneb Pipe Line will become units of Valero Energy.

Martin Marietta (MLM) posted $1.09 vs. 93 cents third-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations on a 1.3% revenue rise. The company sees 53 cents to 73 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share and $2.42 to $2.62 for all of 2004.

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