Corning Will Take a $5.1 Billion Charge

AT&T will consider Comcast's bid for broadband unit; Alcatel will cut 2,500 jobs; plus other stocks in the news

After the close of trading Monday, Corning Inc. (GLW ) warned for the second half of the fiscal year and sees earnings below the consensus estimate of $0.38. Corning will discontinue its common stock dividend, close three plants and take a $5.1 billion charge. The chemical concern also will be cutting 1,000 jobs. Standard & Poor's cut the company's senior debt rating to A- from A.

After the close of trading Monday, Alcatel (ALA ) announced it will cut 2,500 jobs. The company say moves are being made to address the continuing economic slowdown in the U.S. telecommunications networking industry.

After the close of trading Monday, Xerox (XRX ) will eliminate the payment of its common stock dividend, and says the decision is not the result of any unanticipated Q2 developments.

In response to Comcast Corp.'s (CMCSK ) proposal, AT&T's (T ) says it has no current plans to sell its broadband business, but will evaluate the offer. Comcast set a bid to purchase AT&T's broadband business for 1.0525 billion Comcast shares (valued at $44.5 billion as of the July 6 close) and assumption of $13.5 billion in debt. AT&T shareholders would own the majority of economic and voting interests of the combined company. CIBC World says the bid positive is for AT&T. SG Cowen notes that there are some dilution and integration risks and maintains the strong buy rating on Comcast.

Safeway (SWY ) posted in-line results of $0.63 vs. $0.55 Q2 EPS (pro forma) from operations on 7.7% higher sales, but sales comparisons were lower. S&P downgraded to hold from buy, and CS First Boston also downgraded to hold from strong buy.

Argosy Education (ARGY ) agreed to be acquired by Education Management for $12 cash per share.

WF Van Kasper upgraded Chico's FAS (CHS ) to strong buy from buy.

Dain Rauscher reinitiated coverage on Speechworks (SPWX ) with buy.

Bear Stearns upgraded Sun Microsystems (SUNW ) and EMC Corp. (EMC ) to buy from attractive.

Lehman raised the target on Best Buy (BBY ) to $76, and reiterates strong buy.

Banc of America upgraded Calpine Corp. (CPN ) to strong buy from buy.

SG Cowen upgraded Qualcomm (QCOM ) to strong buy from buy.

Merrill downgraded (HOMS ) to near-term accumulate from buy, but maintains long-term buy.

Goldman lowered estimates on Comverse Technology (CMVT ).

Conexant Systems (CNXT ) announced a manufacturing realignment intended to accelerate the transition to a fabless business model. The semiconductor-product company cut its workforce by about 450 people. S&P maintains hold.

NCR Corp. (NCR ) cut the Q2 guidance to $0.35-$0.37 EPS on $1.5B revenue, vs. the consensus estimate of $0.57 EPS. S&P maintains hold.

Anchor Gaming (SLOT ) agreed to be acquired by International Game Technology (IGT ) in a $1.365 billion deal. Terms: one IGT share per Anchor share, subject to a collar.

Avigen (AVGN ) received FDA notice that its adeno-associated viral vectors containing gene for human coagulation factor IX (Coagulin-B) qualify for orphan drug designation.

CS First Boston cut its estimates on Cisco Systems (CSCO ) but maintains its buy rating on the shares.

CS First Boston upgraded Steiner Leisure (STNR ) to strong buy from hold.

USB Piper says storage networking stocks -- Brocade Communications (BRCD ), Emulex (EMLX ), Network Appliance (NTAP ), and QLogic (QLGC ) -- do not warrant their inflated valuations due to uncertain earnings estimates.

Children's Place (PLCE ) posted a 16% June same-store sales decline but a 5% total sales rise. The company reduced its Q2 EPS guidance to a $0.13-$0.17 loss, citing a macro-related slowdown in store traffic. S&P maintains buy. Jefferies maintains hold.

ChemFirst Inc. (CEM ) sees lower than expected $0.12-$0.15 Q2 EPS due to a worse-than-expected drop in semiconductor demand.

Avocent Corp. (AVCT ) sees $0.16-$0.18 Q2 EPS from operations on $65 million in revenues. The company will take a $9-$10 million Q2 charge related to excess and obsolete inventories, as well as headcount reductions.

NetScout Systems (NTCT ) sees a $0.03-$0.04 Q1 loss per share (pro forma) on revenue of $18-$18.5 million. The company expects quarterly sequential revenue growth of 7%-10% for the next several quarters.

United Microelectronics (UMC ) posted 52% lower June sales.

ASE Test (ASTSF ) posted 42% lower June sales.

Laclede Gas (LG ) sees $1.58-$1.68 fiscal 2001 EPS, below the consensus estimate of $1.86. Laclede expects a Q3 loss per share of $0.20-$0.25.

ILOG S.A. (ILOG ) sees lower than expected $20-$21 million in Q4 revenue, with earnings at breakeven to $0.05 per share. The company says sales are more challenging than anticipated.

Catalytica Energy (CESI ) filed to offer 5 million shares.

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