Disney Shares Rise

NetFlix reports strong subscription growth; JP Morgan settles with insurers; plus more of today's stocks in the news

Sanford Bernstein upgraded Walt Disney (DIS ) to outperfom from market perform.

Netflix (NFLX ) says it ended the fourth quarter with about 857,000 total subscribers, 93% of which were paying, and says it will report better than expected fourth quarter churn. USB Piper expects earnings per share upside, saying the company's subscriptions grew 88% year over year.

JP Morgan (JPM ) settled with 10 of 11 insurance companies in surety cases related to Enron. JP Morgan says the insurance companies will pay about 60% of the amount of surety bonds they wrote. S&P reiterates avoid.

The FDA approved Merck's (MRK ) leukotriene blocker Singulair for the relief of symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis.

RBC Capital upgraded AT&T Wireless (AWE ) to sector perform from underperform.

Restoration Hardware (RSTO ) sees 1%-2% higher comparison store sales for the nine-week November-December holiday shopping period vs. expectations of mid-to-high single digit growth. The company sees fourth quarter comparison store sales growth of 2%-4%, with earnings per share in a range of 25 cents to 30 cents.

Cellegy Pharmaceuticals (CLGY ) and PDI entered into an exclusive license agreement to commercialize Tostrex Gel in North American markets. CE Unterberg says the deal is positive for Cellegy.

Bear Stearns upgraded drug research firm ICON (ICLR ) to outperform from peer perform.

Pacific Growth says Bebe Stores (BEBE ) exited December with inventory on or slightly below plan, which should be a plus for margins; also, Pacific Growth says Bebe's new sport stores continue to perform well.

CIBC World reportedly upgraded Check Point Software (CHKP ) to sector outperform from sector perform.

Lehman downgraded First Health (FHCC ) to underweight from equal-weight.

Goldman upgraded American Eagle (AEOS ) to outperform from in-line.

NDCHealth (NDC ) will take a third quarter non-cash charge to reduce the carrying value of its investment in MedUnite to the amount realized in the sale. NDC continues to expect $440 million to $450 million fiscal 2003 total revenue.

Mueller Industries (MLI ) sees 20 cents to 24 cents fourth quarter earnings per share from continuing operations, and plans to discontinue manufacturing operations in France. As a result, the maker of industrial metals products will recognize a loss on discontinued operations of about $14 million.

Parametric Technology (PMTC ) sees a two cent to four cent first quarter loss (pro forma) on revenue of $171 million to $175 million, vs. prior projections of breakeven earnings. The company will file with the SEC for a 15-day extension to file its 10-K. Adams Harkness downgraded to reduce from market perform.

UBS Warburg cut its earnings and revenue estimates on Cisco Systems (CSCO ).

Abbott Labs (ABT ) received earlier-than-expected FDA approval to market Humira, the first human monoclonal antibody approved for reducing signs and symptoms, and inhibiting the progression of structural damage in adults with rheumatoid arthritis.

JP Morgan downgraded Alcon (ACL ) to neutral from overweight.

Citigroup (C ) reportedly will pay about $72 million to take a 5% stake in China's Shanghai Pudong Development Bank.

Biogen (BGEN ) and Elan (ELN ) announced the publication of two studies on Antegren, which show promising results in the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis, disease remission, and improved quality of life for patients with Crohn's disease.

Schering (SHR ) says its U.S. affiliate Berlex Labs announced FDA approval of Finacea Gel 15% for the topical treatment of inflammatory papules and pustules of mild to moderate rosacea.

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