Matria Healthcare Slides on Bleak Outlook

Key cosmetics companies edge lower; P&G moves higher on stronger profit report; plus more of today's stocks in the news

Matria Healthcare (MATR ) sees lower than expected fourth quarter EPS of at least $0.12 on narrowed operating margins and a buildup of costs tied to disease management infrastructure. It sees $1.55-$1.65 2002 EPS. Needham downgraded.

Elizabeth Arden (RDEN ) sees lower than expected $160-$170 million fourth quarter sales, citing weak sales to department stores and a lower than anticipated Christmas gift sell-through.

Goldman removed Estee Lauder (EL ) from its recommended list, and now rates it market outperform. Morgan Stanley downgraded to neutral. On Wednesday, the company posted $0.35 vs. $0.50 second quarter EPS.

Netegrity (NETE ) posted $0.02 (pro forma) vs. $0.08 fourth quarter earnings per share on 11% revenue decline. HC Wainwright upgraded to strong buy. First Albany reportedly upgraded to buy.

Affymetrix (AFFX ) posted $0.01 fourth quarter earnings per share (pro forma) on 7.6% higher product revenue and sees $3-$5 million 2002 profit on $245 million product revenue. S&P was looking for $14 million 2002 profit, keeps sell. BoA upgraded to buy.

Verizon Communications (VZ ) posted a $2 billion fourth quarter loss, citing costs to cut jobs and repair networks damaged by the September 11 attacks. Verizon expects 2002 profits in line with Street expectations.

UBS Warburg upgraded Business Objects (BOBJ ) to buy from hold. On Wednesday, the company posted $0.22 fourth quarter earnings per ADS.Forecast $0.15- $0.16 first quarter earnings per ADS.

Procter & Gamble (PG ) posted $1.03 vs. $0.97 second quarter core earnings per share on 2.2% sales rise. P&G sees third quarter core earnings per share growth in the high single digits, and says it is comfortable with fiscal 2002 guidance provided earlier. CS First Boston upgraded to buy from hold.

Goldman added Research In Motion (RIMM ) to its recommended list; it was rated market outperform.

Chiron (CHIR ) posted $0.23 fourth quarter earnings per share vs. $0.74 loss on 30% revenue rise, amid an absence of charges. Robertson Stephens maintains market perform.

Merrill upgraded Intel (INTC ) to near term strong buy from buy and reiterates long term buy.

Electronic Arts (ERTS ) posted $1.03 vs. $0.66 third quarter earnings per share (pro forma) on 30% revenue rise. Merrill upgraded to near term strong buy from buy. S&P keeps buy.

Dow Chemical (DOW ) posted a $0.01 fourth quarter loss vs. $0.18 earnings per share on 12% sales drop. Dow sees first quarter 2002 results similar to fourth quarter 2001, but says it should see an improvement in 2002 earnings per share.

Entergy (ETR ) posted $0.18 vs. $0.31 fourth quarter operating earnings per share on a 28% revenue drop. Entergy raaised 2002 earnings per share guidance to $3.40-$3.60, excluding the impact of weather.

Maxxam (MXM ) will delay the release of fourth quarter financials as result of Kaiser Aluminum's decision to defer its fourth quarter report and not make $25.5 million interest payment on its debt.

Neiman-Marcus (NMG.A ) posted 3% lower second quarter same store sales, 1.8% lower total sales (preliminary). The department store retailer sees $0.45-$0.55 second quarter earnings per share. Currently Neiman's expects revenue to decline, on a percentage basis, in the low single-digits for the spring season.

Stancorp Financial (SFG ) posted $0.94 vs. $0.77 fourth quarter earnings per share on a 3% operating revenue rise.

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