Not a Happy Occasion for American Greetings

American Greetings (AM ) posted $0.76 vs. $0.87 Q4 EPS from continuing operations as consumer price resistance and continuing retail inventory pressure offset a 7.8% sales rise. The company sees $1.10-$1.20 fiscal 2002 EPS.

Tripath Technology (TRPH ) says its Class-T digital amplifier technology adopted by Sony will provide theater-quality sound for the popular PlayStation 2 system.

Merrill Lynch reiterated its near and long term buy on Home Depot (HD ).

Center Trust (CTA ) lowered its quarterly dividend to $0.04 a share from the previous $0.21 as part of a plan to improve financial flexibility.

Cochran Coronia Securities tied First American 's (FAF ) weakness on Tuesday to the unexpected consumer confidence rise and interest rate implications. Wells Fargo notes the whole title insurance sector is off.

Ramtron (RMTR ) introduced the first non-volatile semiconductor memory product to feature unlimited endurance.

Morgan Stanley DW upgraded Providian Financial (PVN ) to outperform from neutral.

Cole National (CNJ ) posted 75% higher Q4 EBITDA on a 12% revenue rise.

Dain Rauscher upgraded Rare Hospitality (RARE ) to strong buy from buy. On Monday the company said it is purchasing all of its beef and pork products from domestic sources.

Banc of America cut estimates and maintained its buy on Ariba (ARBA ).

Pilgrims Pride (CHX ) sees a $0.25-$0.28 Q2 loss, citing lower profitability of Mexico operations, ice storms in Arkansas, and higher energy and feed ingredient costs.

U.S. Industries (USI ) sees $0.85-$0.95 fiscal 2001 EPS due to interest costs for refinancing, lower domestic bath sales, and weak lawn and garden margins. S&P maintains hold.

Gaylord (GCR ) says its Q2 loss will be wider than the $0.11 First Call loss consensus, citing lower than anticipated demand for corrugated packaging.

Warnaco (WAC ) expects to report a 2000 loss substantially greater than the previously expected $0.30 loss.

CS First Boston upgraded CSX Corp. (CSX ) to buy from hold.

XTRA Corp. (XTRA ) lowered its Q2 EPS guidance to $0.60-$0.70, citing utilization declines in all divisions. The firm says financial performance will continue to lag for this quarter, next quarter and fiscal 2001.

Embrex (EMBX ) says the discovery of employee misappropriation and related irregularities at its European subsidiary has reduced its Q4 EPS by $0.04, and reduced the 2000 EPS by $0.14; Embrex therefore expects to report $0.21 Q4 EPS and $0.77 2000 EPS.

Lion Bioscience (LEON ) UBS Warburg initiated coverage of with buy.

Cell Therapeutic's (CTIC ) studies in animal models demonstrate that PG-TXL, when compared to Taxol, shows superior anti-tumor activity against human colon cancer.

Transwitch (TXCC ) lowered first quarter guidance to $0.09-$0.10 Q1 EPS on $38M revenues, citing cancellations and order pushouts. The firm noted business in Asia and Europe remains steady. Robertson Stephens and CS First Boston cut estimates. Robinson-Humphrey downgraded.

Nanogen (NGEN ) was awarded an additional U.S. patent relating to its electronic microarray technology.

Vitesse Semiconductor (VTSS ) revised $0.21-$0.22 Q2 EPS guidance to $0.10-$0.11, and revised $150 million-$160 million revenues to $120 million-$125M, citing weak demand and order cancellations. CS First Boston downgraded to hold from buy.

Lincoln Electric (LECO ) sees Q1 EPS down 8%-10% from year ago levels on 10%-12% lower sales, citing softness in world markets.

Alza Corp. (AZA ) agreed to be acquired by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ ) in $10.5B deal. Terms: 0.49 Johnson & Johnson share per Alza share.

Alltrista Corp. (ALC ) sees a Q1 loss vs. $400,000 net income in year ago period, and sees economic downturn in plastics business continuing at least through the first half.

Scholastic Corp. (SCHL ) says it has decided against bidding for selected assets of eToys.

Manugistics (MANU ) posted $0.05 4Q EPS (adjusted) vs. $0.02 loss on sharply higher revenues.

Rent-Way (RWY ) further delayed filing its 10-K, but remains comfortable with revenue and profit projections issued in February, and does not see any change to projected range of $65M-$75M accounting adjustments.

Apollo Group (APOL ) posted $0.14 vs. $0.10 2Q EPS on 22% revenue rise. Apollo sees $0.23 Q3 EPS and $0.78-$0.79 fiscal 2001 EPS.

Ericsson (ERICY ) will reduce costs through efficiency program, and targets a SEK 20B reduction by the end of 2001.

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