Merrill Cuts Estimates for Retailers

Merrill Lynch believes March sales trends at Ann Taylor (ANN ) have continued to disappoint, and adjusted estimates. Merrill also cut estimates for Children's Place (PLCE ), Gymboree (GYMB ), Intimate Brands (IBI ), Limited Inc. (LTD ), Tiffany & Co. (TIF ) and TJX Cos. (TJX ).

CIBC World cut estimates and the price target on Research In Motion (RIMM ).

Interactive Commerce (IACT ) agreed to be acquired by Sage Group PLC for $12 per share cash.

CIBC World downgraded C-Mac Indus (EMS ) to buy from strong buy, and cut the target. National Bank cut the estimates and target, and maintains focus buy.

Robertson Stephens believes Cisco's (CSCO ) stock has significant downside potential based on valuation, and cut the $0.59 fiscal 2001 EPS estimate to $0.50 and the $0.55 fiscal 2002 estimate to $0.27. Robertson Stephens maintains its market perform rating.

Palm (PALM ) posted $0.02 vs. $0.03 3Q EPS (pro forma) as higher expenses offset a 73% revenue rise. The company sees a $0.08 Q4 loss on $300M-$315M in revenues. Robertson Stephens, Merrill Lynch and S&P downgraded.

Handspring (HAND ) sees continued sales growth in business at this time. CS First Boston trimmed estimates. Merrill Lynch downgraded to near-term neutral from accumulate.

Nortel Networks (NT ) says Q1 results will be below previous expectations. Nortel now sees a $0.10-$0.12 1Q loss on $6.1B-$6.2B in revenues. S&P maintains hold, but Merrill Lynch downgraded. CS First Boston cut its estimates and target price.

Walt Disney (JDSU ) will reportedly cut 4,000 jobs from its global workforce.

Netscout Systems (NTCT ) sees $0.01-$0.03 Q4 EPS on $20M- $22M in revenues, citing constraints in IT purchasing. Dain Rauscher downgraded the rating to neutral from buy.

Teco Energy (TE ) now expects Q1 EPS to exceed $0.50, more than 15% higher than in the same period last year. Teco says 2001 EPS growth is now expected to exceed the 10% previously forecast.

Arch Coal (ACI ) sees $0.10-$0.15 Q1 EPS vs. consensus' $0.04 estimate, citing high profit margins on coal sold in the spot market, and depletion-related income tax benefits.

Microsoft selected Conexant Systems' (CNXT ) CX25871 video encoder solution to connect its Xbox video game system to digital and analog televisions worldwide.

Merrill Lynch downgraded JDS Uniphase (JDSU ) to near term neutral from accumulate. CS First Boston cut its estimates and target price.

Coca-Cola (KO ) expects its worldwide unit case volume to grow in a range of 4%-5% during Q1.

ADC Telecomm (ADCT ) further lowered Q2 guidance to $0.10-$0.15 loss (pro forma) on $650M-$700M sales. The company cited the slowing economy and further slowdown in capital spending by communication service providers.

Public Service NM (PNM ) sees $1.45-$1.65 vs. $0.45 Q1 EPS, citing continuing high prices in the wholesale power market.

Newark Resources (NR ) sees better than expected $0.10 Q1 EPS on revenues approaching $100M, citing increased sales of its new composite mat system.

Biogen (BGEN ) confirmed guidance for Q1 EPS of $0.45-$0.46, and 2001 EPS in the low $1.90s. The firm sees $85M-$95M 2001 royalty revenue as a result of patent expirations and its dispute with Schering-Plough on its royalty obligations.

MDC Holdings (MDC ) says Q1 EPS should exceed high end $1.01 estimates. The company cited record Q1 home closings, continued higher home selling prices and increased options sold by design centers.

SES Global will acquire General Electric's (GE ) GE American Communications unit for $5 billion, consisting of $2.7B cash and 15.4M SES Global shares.

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