Wyeth Wins Fen-Phen Case

H&R Block advances; 8X8 jumps; Tech Data rises; plus more of today's stocks in the news

Wyeth (WYE ) says a jury in Atlanta ruled in favor of the company in a case brought by Linda Eichmiller, who claimed to have suffered heart-valve injury from the use of Wyeth's diet drug, known as fen-phen. The combination drug was taken off the market in 1997 because of patients who developed heart-valve damage, and has forced the drugmaker to take $16.6 billion in charges so far. Earlier this month, a Texas jury awarded $1.36 million to a woman claiming injuries from fen-phen. The shares rose in afternoon trade.

H&R Block (HRB ) rose after posting 6 cents second-quarter earnings per share, vs. a 21 cents loss on a 23% revenue rise. The tax-return preparation company sees $3.65 to$3.85 fiscal 2004 earnings per share, up from the previous guidance of $3.56 to $3.72. S&P upgraded to hold from avoid. Morgan Stanley raised its estimates and target.

ChangeWave.com editor Tobin Smith picked 8X8 (EGHT ) as his voice-Web telephony pick because it has a better product than Vonage Holdings, and has just sold off its microelectronics business, according to Forbes.com.

Tech Data (TECD ) climbed. The information-technology company posted 46 cents, vs. 57 cents third-quarter earnings per share (GAAP) despite a 15% net sales rise. Tech Data sees 50 cents to 55 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share (excluding charges). S&P reiterates hold. Raymond James upgraded to strong buy from outperform.

SeaChange International (SEAC ), a maker of video-storage servers, posted third-quarter earnings per share, vs. a 2 cents loss on an 11% revenue rise. Friedman Billings says the third-quarter results are in line, as strong video-on-demand sales offset other weaknesses. The broker reiterated its market perform rating.

Eon Labs (ELAB ) received final approval for depression treatment Bupropion HC1, ER 100mg tablets, the generic equivalent of GlaxoSmithKline's Wellbutrin SR 100mg tablets.

CE Unterberg upgraded RF Micro Devices (RFMD ) to short-term and long-term buy, from short-term and long-term market perform.

Dollar Tree Stores (DLTR ) posted 31 cents, vs. 27 cents third-quarter earnings per share on a 19% net sales rise. The discount retail chain sees $880 million to $905 million in fourth-quarter sales. WR Hambrecht cut the estimates.

Ultimate Electronics (ULTE ) posted a 42 cents third-quarter loss, vs. 3 cents earnings per share on 12% a same-store sales decline, and a 10% net sales decline. The company noted higher expenses and declining gross profit margins for the loss. Analysts had been expecting a loss of 39 cents per share.

Genentech (DNA ) says a Phase II study of its colorectal-cancer drug, Avastin, plus 5-FU/Leucovorin chemotherapy, showed a 29% improvement in the median survival of patients, meeting Genentech's target. However, the company says the results aren't statistically significant.

Coffee chain Starbucks (SBUX ) posted an 11% October same-store sales rise, and a 28% consolidated net sales rise.

Customer-service software firm Open Solutions (OPEN ) priced an initial five million shares at $17 each in a bid to raise $85 million, ahead of its debut Wednesday on the Nasdaq.

Praecis Pharmaceuticals (PRCS ) received FDA approval for its prostate-cancer treatment, Plenaxis.

Michaels Stores (MIK ) posted 54 cents, vs. 46 cents third-quarter earnings per share on a 7.2% net sales rise. Wachovia raised its estimates.

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