Aon Posts Lower Earnings

Alpharma sees lower 2001 revenues; H-P board affirms support for Compaq merger; plus more of today's stocks to watch

Insurance brokerage Aon Corp (AOC ) was off after posting third quarter earnings per share of $0.37 versus $0.47 (excluding charges related to September 11 and non-operating segment revenues. The company says the fourth quarter corporate segment revenue is likely to be hurt by equity market decline.

Generic drug maker Alpharma Inc. (ALO ) was down after it posted third quarter earnings per share of $0.35 vs. $0.45 from operations on flat revenues. The company sees fourth quarter loss of $0.15 and 2001 revenue below previous estimate of about $1 billion. SG Cowen lowered its investment rating while UBS Warburg cut estimates.

Generic drug maker Ivax Corp (IVX ) was lower after saying it does not believe that the circuit court's decision will prevent it from continuing to market Onxol, its brand equivalent paclitaxel. Standard & Poor's maintains its neutral rating on the stock.

Catalog retailer Lands End (LE ) was up after posting third quarter earnings per share of $0.41 vs. $0.15 on 4% revenue rise. The company says it has a good opportunity to exceed last year's double-digit fourth quarter sales and earnings per share growth. Goldman raised its rating on the stock.

Qualcomm (QCOM ) posted $0.20 vs. $0.23 Q4 EPS (pro forma) despite a 6% revenue rise. Results include an adjustment from an accounting change. The company sees $0.21-$0.24 Q1 EPS (pro forma) on a 5%-10% sequential revenue rise. Merrill and CS First Boston cut estimates.

Lehman reportedly downgraded Tricon Global (YUM ) to buy from strong buy.

UBS Warburg reportedly cut its estimates and price target on Ciena Corp. (CIEN ).

Maxim Integrated (MXIM ) posted $0.17 vs. $0.33 Q1 EPS on a 43% revenue decline. The company sees Q2 EPS and revenue up slightly from Q1. S&P maintains accumulate.

Hewlett-Packard (HWP ) says all of its board members, with the exception of Walter B. Hewlett, reaffirm their support for the company's merger with Compaq (CPQ ). They also support Carly Fiorina's leadership.

Aetna (AET ) posted a narrower than expected $0.34 Q3 loss from operations vs. a $0.30 loss from continuing operations on an 8.3% revenue drop. Aetna says it continues to experience high medical costs. S&P reiterates its avoid rating.

Myriad Genetics (MYGN ) posted a narrower than expected $0.05 Q3 loss per share vs. a $0.09 loss on a 22% revenue rise.

Suiza Foods (SZA ) posted $0.98 vs. $1.02 Q3 EPS as weaker than expected results at Consolidated Container Co. offset an 8% revenue rise.

Anheuser-Busch (BUD ) reaffirmed its 12% target for 2001 EPS growth, and reiterated its initial 2002 EPS growth target of 10%, with continued improvements expected in return on capital.

Young Broadcasting (YBTVA ) posted 45% lower Q3 broadcast cash flow on 23% lower revenue.

Utilicorp (UCU ) posted $0.58 vs. $0.80 Q3 EPS as higher costs offset a 16% sales rise. The company expects to enter into an acquisition agreement with FirstEnergy Corp. (FE ) whereby the company and a financial partner will buy FirstEnergy's Avon Energy Partners.

Robertson Stephens upgraded E*Trade (ET ) to strong buy from buy.

Nordstrom Inc. (JWN ) posted 5% lower October same-store sales and a 1.7% total sales decline.

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