Cisco Misses Revenue Estimates

Conseco slides on lowered guidance; Darden Restaurants posts flat sales at Olive Garden; plus other stocks in the news

After the closing bell, Cisco Systems (CSCO ) posted Q4 EPS from operations of $0.02 vs. $0.16 a year ago, in line with estimates. Revenues fell to $4.298B from $5.72B a year ago, slightly behind estimates. Analysts had expected revenue of $4.34B. The company says short-term visibility is improving, but long-term visibility remains challenging.

Serena Software (SRNA ) sees $0.13-$0.14 Q2 EPS on $22.5M-$23.5M revenues, and $0.65-$0.70 fiscal 2002 EPS on $95M-$100M revenue. Serena will cut about 12% of workforce; and take a $2M-$3M charge. Wit SoundView downgraded to buy from strong buy. JP Morgan also downgraded.

Darden Restaurant (DRI ) posted flat July same-store sales for Olive Garden, and slightly higher July same store sales for Red Lobster. Lehman says July comparisons are soft. S&P maintains accumulate.

CIBC World upgraded Ameristar Casinos (ASCA ) to strong buy from buy on price.

CS First Boston downgraded the semiconductor sector to hold from buy, including Applied Micro (AMCC ).

JP Morgan initiated coverage of Netegrity (NETE ) with buy and $36 target.

Conseco (CNC ) posted $0.21 vs. $0.12 Q2 operating EPS and revised the 2001 EPS guidance from $0.90-$1.10 to $0.80-$0.95. S&P cut estimates and maintains avoid.

Carreker Corp. (CANI ) sees Q2 revenue about 12%-13% below its prior guidance of $38M and sees breakeven to $0.01 EPS from operations.

Banc of America downgraded El Paso Corp. (EPG ) to market performer from strong buy and downgraded AmeriGas Partners (APU ) to buy from strong buy.

Merrill downgraded Broadwing (BRW ) to near-term neutral from accumulate and maintains long-term buy.

The Mony Group (MNY ) posted $0.35 vs. $0.52 EPS from operations and sees lower than expected $1.30 2001 EPS, including venture capital income, and excluding a charge; and sees $1.50 EPS for 2002.

CS First Boston upgraded Yellow (YELL ) to strong buy from hold.

Triton PCS Holdings (TPC ) posted a $0.69 Q3 loss vs. a $0.73 loss on a 59% revenue rise. Kaufman Bros. maintains buy and bumped up the estimate.

Thompson Corp. agreed to acquire Newsedge Corp. (NEWZ ) in an all-cash deal worth $43M, or $2.30 per Newsedge share.

Option Care (OPTN ) posted $0.18 vs. $0.14 Q2 EPS on 51% revenue rise and sees about 45% 2001 revenue growth, and 25% 2001 EPS growth. Sidoti reiterates buy.

Newpower Holdings (NPW ) posted a $0.96 Q2 loss on lower than expected revenue of $64.6M and sees a $1.12-$1.20 Q3 loss, and a $0.71-$0.79 Q4 loss.

ABN AMRO downgraded Zygo Corp. (ZIGO ) to hold from add.

UBS Warburg reportedly upgraded USA Education (SLM ) to buy from hold, and raised the $70 target to $100.

CDW Computer (CDWC ) sees $0.43-$0.47 Q3 EPS on $970M-$1.01B sales and says average daily net sales for July were flat vs. a year ago. S&P cut estimates, and maintains hold. Morgan Stanley and S&P cut estimates.

Nordstrom (JWN ) posted slightly higher July same store sales, and 7.5% higher total sales.

Mandalay Resort (MBG ) sees $0.40-$0.42 Q2 EPS vs. a year ago's $0.50. S&P cut estimates and maintains hold.

Horace Mann (HMN ) posted $0.04 Q2 operating loss vs. $0.23 operating EPS despite 7% increase in premiums written and contract deposits. Due to unanticipated reserve actions taken in June, the firm cut the 2001 operating EPS estimate to $0.85-$0.95.

Time Warner Telecom (TWTC ) posted 57% higher Q2 EBITDA on 65% revenue rise and says customer bankruptcies, slowing carrier demand, and the overall weaker economy will negatively impact revenue through the end of the year. The firm cut capital spending for 2901 by $50M.

Toll Brothers (TOL ) posted 27% rise in Q3 homebuilding revenue and remains comfortable with consensus estimates of $4.98 for fiscal 2001, and $5.49 for fiscal 2002.

Baxter International (BAX ) will acquire Degussa AG's ASTA Medica Oncology unit for about $470M.

Option Care (OPTN ) posted $0.18 vs. $0.14 Q2 EPS on 51% revenue rise, and sees about 45% 2001 revenue growth, and 25% 2001 EPS growth.

Zale Corp. (ZLC ) posted 9.7% Q4 same store sales decline, and a 9.8% total sales rise. Zale now sees $0.05-$0.10 Q4 EPS and reiterates $3.00-$3.20 fiscal 2002 (July) EPS, citing a positive cash flow and improved inventory levels.

Henry Schein (HSIC ) posted $0.48 vs. $0.41 Q2 EPS on 6.6% sales rise and says it is confident it can achieve EPS growth in the mid teens in the second half.

US Concrete (RMIX ) posted $0.28 vs. $0.31 Q2 EPS from operations despite 28% revenue rise and sees $140M-$150M Q3 revenue and $0.40-$0.42 EPS, along with $490M-$500M 2001 revenue and $0.88-$0.92 EPS.

Pure Resources (PRS ) posted $0.50 vs. $0.44 Q2 EPS on sharply higher revenues.

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