Merck Withdraws Filing for Arcoxia

Delta Air Lines eliminates most of the commissions paid to travel agents; Oracle's net declines; plus more of today's stocks to watch

Merck (MRK ) shares fell after it withdraws its original new drug application (NDA) for pain reliever Arcoxia. That filing sought FDA approval of the drug as a treatment of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, acute pain, and chronic pain. But the drugmaker says it plans to submit an expanded NDA in order to include new efficacy data that will better position the product to compete successfully in the COX-2 class.

Cryolife (CRY ) shares were lower after the company said a CDC report on human tissue allograft transplants relates to tissue processed by 4 or 5 tissue banks across the U.S., and the events date back to 1998. Gerard Klauer downgraded the shares.

Delta Air Lines (DAL ) says it has eliminated most of the commissions it pays to travel agents in the U.S. and Canada in order to reduce costs.

Oracle (ORCL ) posted $0.09 vs. $0.10 third quarter earnings per share on a 19% revenue decline. The company says certain industries where it has been particularly strong continue to be under stress. Wachovia downgraded the shares.

Flir Systems (FLIR ) shares fell on news the SEC intends to recommend civil injunctive action against FLIR for violations of certain securities acts.

Rational Software (RATL ) shares fell after JP Morgan cut its fiscal year 2003 EPS estimate from $0.45 to $0.43.

CIBC World initiates coverage of the energy technology group. Rates Active Power (ACPW ) and AstroPower (APWR ) as buy; FuelCell Energy (FCEL ) as a strong buy; and American Superconductor (AMSC ) as a hold.

Morgan Stanley upgraded Mattel (MAT ) to strong buy from outperform.

The Wall Street Journal reports that IBM's (IBM ) pension income is likely to decline this year for first time since pensions became an income item in 1996. S&P keeps buy.

Parker Hanifin (PH ) cuts third quarter EPS guidance to $0.30-$0.40, vs. previous $0.48-$0.60 range. The company now sees $1.65-$1.85 EPS in fiscal year 2002.

Illinois Tool (ITW ) continues to forecast $0.53-$0.63 first quarter EPS, with a bias toward the upper end of that range. EPS of $2.95-$3.25 in 2002 is based on expected improving economic trends in the second half of the year.

CS First Boston downgraded United Defense (UDI ) to buy from strong buy on price.

DB Alex Brown cuts estimates and price target for CheckFree (CKFR ), citin market share erosion.

Royal Caribbean (RCL ) says booking volumes are strong and pricing continues to improve. The company sees first quarter yields down about 7%-8%, and EPS of $0.25-$0.30 for the quarter. DB Alex Brown upgraded both Royal Caribbean and Carnival (CCL ) to strong buy from buy.

Adobe Systems (ADBE ) posted $0.20 vs. $0.28 first quarter EPS (under generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP) on a 19% revenue decline. The company sees $305-$325 million in second quarter revenue and EPS of $0.24-$0.27 (pro forma). S&P keeps its accumulate opinion on the shares.

Late yesterday, Tetra Tech (TTEK ) cut its $0.24 second quarter EPS guidance to $0.10 on $175-$182 million in revenue. S&P downgraded the shares to hold from accumulate.

Tektronix (TEK ) posted $0.13 vs. $0.37 third quarter EPS, excluding items, on a 38% sales decline. The company sees fourth quarter sales down 30%-35%. S&P keeps its hold rating.

According to a press report, General Electric (GE ) is considering a plan to split off its property-and-casualty insurance operations.

According to a press report, Toys "R" Us (TOY ) has sought to renegotiate its partnership with (AMZN ) on more favorable terms. Two other partners say they are dissatisfied with results of their alliance with Amazon and are seeking to resolve problems with the company.

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