Biogen Jumps on Brighter Outlook

P.F. Chang's advances; Overture Services drops; plus more of today's stocks in the news

Biogen (BGEN ) raised its first quarter earnings per share guidance to 39 cents to 43 (including 8 cents of one-time charges). Biogen sees 47 cents to 51 cents first quarter operating earnings per share, the vs. previous guidance of 31 cents to 38 cents. S&P upgraded to hold.

P.F. Chang's (PFCB ) posted 35% higher first quarter revenue. The Chinese-food restaurant and bistro operator says due to strong revenue growth and higher planned sales volumes, it expects to meet or exceed the previous 24 cents first quarter earnings per share forecast. Salomon keeps outperform.

SoundView downgraded Overture Service (OVER ) to underperform from neutral, saying the developer of paid Internet search platforms may lose it Microsoft business as Microsoft is planning to launch its own paid search venture.

NetFlix (NFLX ) says it ended the first quarter with about 1.052 million total subscribers, which is 27,000 subscribers above the high end of the guidance of 1.025 million. Thomas Weisel raised its estimates and reiterates buy.

National Service (NSI ) agreed to be acquired by an affiliate of California Investment Fund for $10 per share.

Human Genome Sciences (HGSI ) says results from a Phase II clinical trial demonstrate that repifermin is well tolerated and shows efficacy in treating cancer therapy-induced mucositis.

Adolor (ADLR ) says in a Phase III study of six-milligram alivmopan, patients recovered in time from gastrointestinal function.

National Instruments (NATI ) sees $99 million in first quarter revenue, and 12 cents earnings per share, plus or minus a penny (including a charge), below the previous guidance and 17 cents consensus. Thomas Weisel and Baird lowered their estimates.

Goldman initiated coverage of Royal Caribbean (RCL ) and Carnival (CCL ) with outperform.

The FDA filed Sepracor 's (SEPR ) new drug application for Estorra brand eszopiclone, in two milligram and three milligram tablets, for the treatment of transient and chronic insomnia.

King Pharmaceuticals (KG ) says it does not plan to proceed with its acquisition of Elan's primary care business unit. Elan is suing to force King to close the transaction.

Electronic-payment company Concord EFS (CE ) and First Data (FDC ), which owns money transfer company Western Union, agreed to merge in an all-stock transaction valued at about $7 billion. Under the terms of the deal, First Data will exchange 0.40 First Data shares for each Concord share, giving Concord shareholders $13.87 per share, based on Tuesday's closing price.

Jack in the Box (JBX ) lowered its second quarter same-store sales forecast to down 4%, and cut its fiscal 2003 estimate to down 2.5%, citing poor weather and economic conditions. Despite softer than expected sales, the fast-food chain operator reaffirmed its 44 cents second quarter estimate and its $1.97 to $2.01 fiscal 2003 earnings per share estimate.

Newspaper publisher and TV station owner Media General (MEG ) says that due to a deterioration in business conditions, it sees first quarter earnings per share in the area of 26 cents, including 16 cents from Media General's sale of its Hoover's stock to Dun & Bradstreet.

Chip-equipment maker Asyst Technologies (ASYT ) sees $57 million in fourth quarter sales vs. $70 million to $72 million, and sees consolidated gross margin at or slightly lower than the updated guidance of the low end of the 24%-26% forecasted range. Banc of America cut its target.

Clayton Homes (CMH ) agreed to be acquired by Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A ) for $12.50 per share. S&P downgraded.

Black & Decker (BDK ) says although weak economic conditions will result in lower than expected first quarter sales, strong operating margins and a restructure program will enable it to meet or exceed the current Wall Street consensus estimate of 43 cents earnings per share for the first quarter.

Circuit City (CC ) posted 36 cents vs. 67 cents fourth quarter earnings per share from continuing operations on 6% lower same store sales and 5% lower total sales.

Morgan Stanley downgraded Johnson & Johnson (JNJ ) to equal-weight from overweight.

Walgreen (WAG ) posted 5.7% higher March same store sales, and 10.4% higher total sales.

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