Gap Raises Forecast

Rite Aid third-quarter net falls sharply; Claires Stores raises fourth-quarter guidance; plus more of today's stocks on the move

Gap Inc (GPS ) posts 11% lower December same-store sales. Given results for the quarter-to-date and outlook for January, the company expects to report a loss of no worse than $0.06, excluding a tax charge, reported in 3Q.

SoundView says RF Micro Device (RFMD ) has solid design wins for strong growth in 2002, reiterates strong buy.

Rite Aid (RAD ) posts $77.5 million vs. $105.7 million in 3Q EBITDA as narrowed pharmacy gross margin offset a 5.7% revenue rise. It cut its second half fiscal 2002 sales guidance to $7.7 billion.

Merrill Lynch downgrades Sorrento Network (FIBR ) to neutral from buy, noting that Cox Communications, is deploying its metro, regional optical networking equipment as part of a program to construct its own nationwide high-speed optical network.

Lehman Brothers downgrades KPMG Consulting (KCIN ) to market perform from buy.

Merrill Lynch sees some risk to Apple Computer (AAPL ) December quarter revenue target, due partly to the company's current product transition. Merrill keeps its near-term neutral rating.

Claires Stores (CLE ) raises its $0.40-$0.45 4Q EPS guidance to $0.50 on stronger-than-expected sales. It posts flat Dec. same-store sales, 4% lower total sales. S&P upgrades to hold from avoid.

Infosys Technologies (INFY ) posts $0.32 vs. $0.26 3Q EPS on a 20% revenue rise. The company sees $0.31-$0.33 4Q EPS on $133M-$138M revenues and $1.24-$1.26 for fiscal 2002 EPS.

Pepsico (PEP ) reiterates its comfort with current consensus EPS estimate of $1.66 for 2001. The company says it is comfortable that it will achieve the ongoing target of 13%-14% annual EPS growth.

UBS Warburg downgrades Ford Motor(F ) to reduce.

Wal-Mart Stores (WMT ) posts 8% higher Dec. same-store sales, 16% higher total sales.

Pier 1 Imports (PIR ) posts 9.3% higher Dec. same-store sales, 18% higher total sales.

Cigna Corp. (CI ) plans to cut 2,000 jobs, consolidate service operations in employee health, life and disability benefits units. The company plans to take a $65 million 4Q charge.

Calpine (CPN ) receives commitment letters from its lenders for an additional $1 billion in unsecured working capital credit facility.

Target (TGT ) posts flat December same-store sales, 7.5% higher total sales. As a result of better-than-expected sales, the retailer expects 4Q EPS to be moderately higher than First Call's consensus estimate of of $0.65 per share.

General Motors (GM ) sees better-than-expected $0.60 4Q EPS. The carmaker targets $3.00 in 2002 EPS, excluding Hughes and it expects to improve market share in each of its automotive regions.

Kmart (KM ) does not expect to report EPS for fiscal 2002 that are consistent with analysts' current expectations. The troubled retailer is reviewing its current and prospective liquidity position and its business plan for fiscal 2002 and 2003. It posts 1% lower Dec. same-store sales.

Dollar General (DG ) posts 8.9% higher Dec. same-store sales, 21% higher total sales. The discount store sees 18%-20% higher total sales for January.

Williamette (WLL ) says as of midnight Jan. 9, the company had tendered, not withdrawn about 70 million shares pursuant to Weyerhaeuser's (WY ) tender offer; this represents 64% of Williamette's outstanding shares.

CIBC World downgrades Suntrust Banks (STI ) to hold from buy, cites deteriorating earnings quality.

Pacific Sunwear (PSUN ) sees $0.40-$0.41 4Q EPS. It posts 4.1% higher December same-store sales, 19% higher total sales.

ICN Pharmaceutical (ICN ) says 4Q EPS will exceed $0.29 consensus estimate. The company cites successful 4Q launch of Rebetol and good performance in its specialty pharmaceutical business. It says it will likely exceed the 2002 consensus of $1.72 EPS.

Goldman removes AES Corp (AES ) from its recommended list and now rates the stock at market outperform.

Sears Roebuck (S ) says it sees $2.02 4Q EPS and $4.22 for 2001 EPS. Tbe results exclude non-comparable items. The company posts 2.4% lower December domestic same-store sales, 1.6% lower total domestic sales.

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