Express Scripts Sinks

Secure Computing drops; St. Jude Medical skids; plus more of today's stocks in the news

Thomas Weisel downgraded pharmacy-benefit management company Express Scripts (ESRX ) to peer perform from outperform, based on valuation relative to peers.

USB Piper downgraded Secure Computing (SCUR ) to market perform from outperform.

CIBC World downgraded medical-device maker St. Jude Medical (STJ ) to sector perform from outperform.

Deutsche Bank downgraded Sprint PCS (PCS ) to sell from hold.

Wedbush Morgan upgraded eyewear retailer Oakley (OO ) to buy from hold.

SoundView downgraded information-technology services company Electronic Data Systems (EDS ) to neutral from outperform.

The new issue of the New England Journal of Medicine reported positive study results for a cancer-detection treatment developed by Advanced Magnetics(AVM ). The imaging agent, called Combidex, can help cut down on unnecessary medical procedures, the study said. Cytogen (CYTO ) has the rights to market Combidex in the U.S.

Metrologic Instruments (MTLG ), a maker of imaging systems for bar-code scanners, sued Symbol Technologies for patent infringement and material breach of their cross-license agreement.

Level 3 Communications (LVLT ) announced Longleaf Partners Funds, Berkshire Hathaway, and Legg Mason have converted all their outstanding 9% junior convertible subordinated notes into stock.

UBS Investment downgraded Morgan Stanley (MWD ) to neutral from buy, and J.P. Morgan downgraded to underweight from neutral. On Wednesday the investment bank posted 55 cents, vs. 72 cents second-quarter earnings per share.

Forest Labs (FRX ) reported negative study data on memantine, which was given to patients receiving acetylcholinesterase inhibitor therapy for Alzheimer's disease.

Home-goods retailer Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY ) posted 19 cents vs. 15 cents first-quarter earnings per share on a 4.4% same store sales rise, and 15% total sales rise. But Bed & Bath wouldn't give guidance for the second quarter and full year, saying it preferred to remain conservative in a difficult retail environment. Wachovia downgraded to market perform from outperform.

Investment bank Lehman Brothers (LEH ) posted a strong rise in fiscal second quarter earnings per share to $1.67, vs. $1.08.

Freddie Mac (FRE ) could restate earnings by $1 billion to $3 billion, boosting the bottom line for the past two years but reducing net income by the same amount over the next several years, according to The Wall Street Journal. S&P keeps avoid.

Cablevision (CVC ) identified improper expense accurals at the national service division of its Rainbow Media Group; the review covers a period from 1999 to 2002. To date, Cablevision has found that $6.2 million of expenses for 2003 were accelerated and improperly accrued in 2002. The company dismissed 14 people in connection with the review.

Jabil Circuit (JBL ) posted 2 cents vs. 10 cents third-quarter GAAP earnings per share as higher costs offset a 43% revenue rise. Jabil posted 19 cents third-quarter core earnings per share. It sees fourth-quarter revenue increasing sequentially 3%-7%, and 10 cents to 12 cents GAAP earnings per share. S&P reiterates accumulate.

Micron Technology (MU ) posted a 36-cent third-quarter loss vs. a 4-cent loss on a 5% revenue drop. Micron notes an approximate 15% decrease in average selling prices in the third quarter.

Pharmaceutical Resources (PRX ) sees 71 cents to 73 cents second-quarter earnings per share, excluding a 6-cent to 8-cent one-time charge related to the retirement of CEO and president Kenneth Sawyer.

AT&T Wireless (AWE ) is in a deal with Verizon Communications (VZ ) to jointly sell a 49% interest in Eurotel Praha to Cesky Telecom for $1.05 billion. AT&T Wireless will receive $525 million.

Michaels Stores (MIK ) sets an initial quarterly dividend of 10 cents. The craft-supplies retailer will repurchase up to one millio additional shares under a new repurchase program, bringing the total to 1.6 million shares.

Goody's Family (GDYS ) set an initial 2-cent quartely dividend.

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