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Biotechs Up as Frist Backs Stem Cell Research

Wendy's (WEN) posted second quarter earnings per share of 61 cents, vs. 62 cents one year earlier. The fast-food chain lowered its 2005 earnings per share outlook to $2.20-$2.26. It plans to sell 15%-18% of its Tim Hortons unit in an IPO by the end of the 2006 first quarter. The company sets a $1 billion stock buyback and raised its annual dividend by 25% to 68 cents.

Stemcells Inc. (STEM), Geron Corp. (GERN), and Aastrom Biosciences (ASTM) were among the biotechs higher Friday after Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist threw his support behind legislation to expand federal financing for embryonic stem cell research.

Synaptics (SYNA) shares plunged after the company posted fourth quarter earnings per share of 41 cents, vs. 13 cents, on a 62% revenue rise. The company sees first quarter fiscal 2006 revenue down 9%-10% sequentially. Bear Stearns and First Albany each downgraded the shares.

International Rectifier (IRF) fell sharply after posting fourth quarter earnings per share of 35 cents, vs. 42 cents (GAAP), on 6.5% lower consolidated revenue. UBS Financial downgraded the shares to neutral from buy. S&P upgraded the stock to strong buy from buy.

MetLife's (MET) second-quarter profit more than doubled to $3.02 a share from $1.26 a year ago.

Whole Foods Market's (WFMI) second quarter earnings rose to 60 cents a share from 48 cents a year ago.

Baker Hughes (BHI) posted second quarter earnings per share of 64 cents, vs. 35 cents, on an 18% revenue rise. It sees earnings per share of 64 cents to 67 cents for the third quarter and $2.52 to $2.60 for 2005.

News Corp.'s (NWS) Deputy Chief Operating Officer Lachlan Murdoch reportedly resigns.

Mercury Interactive (MERQ) posted second quarter earnings per share (GAAP) of 19 cents, vs. 11 cents, on a 30% revenue rise. The company says it did not meet all second quarter targets due to a shortfall in Europe.

Hot Topic (HOTT) says same-store sales month-to-date through July 27 decreased about 5%; as a result, it sees second quarter earnings per share of 2 cents to 4 cents. The company says sales trends in July were very disappointing as men's and women's apparel and accessories were below expectations.

Lear (LEA) posted a second quarter loss per share of 66 cents, vs. $1.58 earnings per share, as costs and charges offset a 3.2% sales rise. The company sees $3.9 billion in third quarter sales, flat with a year ago, and a loss per share of 70 cents to 90 cents, including costs. It sees $17 billion in 2005 sales, and results in a range of a 25-cent loss per share to 15 cents earnings per share, including costs.

Microstrategy (MSTR) posted second quarter earnings per share of $1.12, vs. 67 cents, on a 31% revenue rise.

KLA-Tencor (KLAC) posted fourth quarter earnings per share of 52 cents, vs. 48 cents, on a 9% revenue rise.

Symantec (SYMC) posted second quarter earnings per share of 27 cents, vs. 16 cents (GAAP), on a 26% revenue rise.

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