Merrill Posts First Quarterly Loss Since 1998

Pfizer comfortable with earnings and revenue guidance; Computer Associates posts narrower loss; plus more of today's stocks on the move

Merrill Lynch (MER ) posts $0.48 vs. $0.50 4Q EPS from operations on 24% lower revenue. Merrill posted a net loss of $1.26 billion -- its first quarterly loss since 1998.

Merrill Lynch upgraded Amgen (AMGN ) to near-term strong buy from buy. The firm maintains its long term strong buy rating on Amgen.

Vitesse Semi (VTSS ) posts $0.12 1Q loss vs. $0.25 EPS on 79% lower revenues. The company reportedly sees $0.10-$0.12 2Q loss on $39M-$43M revenues.

Earthlink (ELNK ) posts $0.13 4Q loss vs. $0.42 loss from operations on 14% sales rise. It sees $1.4B-$1.5B in 2002 revenue, $0.05-$0.25 loss. S&P says 4Q loss was worse than expected, keeps hold rating.

Openwave Systems (OPWV ) posts $0.07 2Q loss (pro forma) vs. $0.09 EPS on 15% revenue drop. It sees $0.04-$0.12 3Q (pro forma) loss. S&P maintains hold rating while JP Morgan downgrades to market perform. Storagetek (STK ) posts $0.36 vs. $0.30 4Q EPS (pro forma) despite 5.8% revenue decline. Goldman Sachs upgrades to market outperform from market perform. S&P maintains hold.

Computer Associates (CA ) posts $0.06 3Q loss vs. $0.24 loss from operations despite 4.3% revenue decline. S&P maintains hold rating.

Pfizer (PFE ) posts $0.34 vs. $0.27 4Q EPS from continuing operations on 12% revenue rise. The drug concern sees double-digit 2002 revenue growth, remains comfortable with $1.56-$1.60 EPS from operations estimates. It aims to show 15% plus 2003, 2004 EPS from operations growth.

Oak Technology (OAKT ) posts $0.02 2Q loss vs. $0.10 EPS on 45% revenue decline. It sees 3Q sequential revenue growth of 5%-10%, breakeven to positive operating income (pro forma).

Applied Micro Circuits (AMCC ) posts $0.04 3Q loss vs. $0.16 EPS (pro forma) on 72% revenue decline. The company says end markets remain sluggish as customers continue to work through excess inventory.

Checkfree Corp (CKFR ) posts breakeven 2Q vs. $0.06 loss (pro forma) on 13% revenue rise. It sees $0.01-$0.03 3Q EPS on $119M-$124M revenues. S&P maintains sell rating while Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown and Jefferies downgrade.

Novellus Systems (NVLS ) posts $0.12 vs. $0.64 fourth quarter EPS on a 55% sales decline -- still beating Wall Street's consensus forecast. JP Morgan upgrades the stock to long-term buy from market perform. S&P cuts estimates and rates the stock a hold.

Mercury Interactive (MERQ ) posts $0.14 vs. $0.28 fourth quarter EPS from operations on 7.4% revenue decline. Robertson Stephens upgrades the stock to buy while Merrill Lynch reiterates its near-term buy rating.

Emulex Corp (EMLX ) posts $0.13 vs. $0.23 second quarter EPS (pro forma) on a 12% revenue decline. It says revenue growth exceeded expectations. Salomon Smith Barney and JP Morgan upgrade the stock while S&P maintains its hold rating.

Direct Focus (DFXI ) posts $0.57 vs. $0.37 fourth quarter EPS on 77% sales rise. S&P maintains a buy rating while CIBC World Markets reiterates a strong buy, raises its earnings estimates and target price on the stock.

Cell phone maker Motorola (MOT ) sees $0.11-$0.14 first quarter loss on $6-$6.2 billion in revenues, to return to profitability in the third quarter. It thinks $0.04 2002 EPS estimate excluding items can be exceeded. The company posts $0.04 fourth quarter loss from operations vs. $0.16 EPS.

Weyerhaeuser Co (WY ) posts $0.07 fourth quarter loss per share vs. $0.88 EPS on 15% lower revenue. The company sees few signs of improvement for most of its markets in the first quarter.

General Dynamics (GD ) posts $1.21 vs. $1.09 fourth quarter EPS on 30% revenue rise. It anticipates double-digit growth in 2002 EPS, revenues with strong cash generation as well.

Agere Systems (AGR ) posts narrower than expected $0.17 first quarter loss per share vs. $0.06 EPS from operations (pro forma) on 61% lower revenue. The company seeks a buyer for fab operations in Florida, to combine IC, optoelectronic operations. Agere sees second quarter revenues and a loss (pro forma) similar to the first quarter.

ExxonMobil (XOM ) posts $0.42 vs. $0.73 fourth quarter EPS from operations on 26% lower revenue.

Caterpillar (CAT ) posts $0.76 vs. $0.76 fourth quarter EPS from operations on flat revenues. It sees 2002 profit from operations up slightly vs. 2001, although it sees significantly lower profit in the first half, particularly in the first quarter.

CS First Boston downgrades Kimco Realty (KIM ) to hold from buy after the company said as result of Kmart news it lowered its 2002 funds from operations estimates to $3.02-$3.10 range. Kimco cited potential fo reduced rent collections.

Boeing Co. (BA ) posts $0.90 vs. $1.01 fourth quarter EPS depsite a 7% revenue rise. The company sees around $54 billion in 2002 revenue and about $52 billion in 2003.

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