Mercury Interactive Soars on Upbeat Profit Report

CANTV climbs as Venezuela's Chavez exits; Escalade shares dart lower; plus more of today's stocks in the news

Gerard Klauer reportedly upgraded Merck (MRK ) to buy from neutral.

Compania Anonima Telephone (VNT ) is seen higher as Venezuela's Hugo Chavez is ousted by the military. The political situation is seen as easing, helping all Venezuelan investments.

Escalade (ESCA ) posted a $0.01 Q1 loss vs. $0.10 EPS on 5% lower sales, and says favorable quarterly comps may not be evident until the last half of year.

Concord Communications (CCRD ) posted $0.02 Q1 EPS from operations vs. a $0.19 loss (pro forma, 38% tax rate) on a 19% revenue rise, and raised the Q2 EPS and revenue guidance. Janney Montgomery reiterates buy. Legg Mason intitiated coverage of PayPal (PYPL ) with strong buy.

IBM Corp. (IBM ) rebounded Friday as the SEC confirmed it had opened and closed a preliminary inquiry into IBM, without action. S&P reiterates accumulate on the stock.

Acclaim Entertainment (AKLM ) reported second quarter EPS of $0.06, vs. $0.01, on a 75% revenue rise. The company maintains its $0.39 non-taxed fiscal year 2002 EPS estimate on $308 million in revenues, and its $0.67 fiscal year 2003 EPS forecast on $369 million in revenues.

Cree (CREE ) reported breakeven third quarter earnings, vs. $0.19 EPS (adjusted), on 37% lower revenue. The company expects recent cost cuts and streamlining of operations to put the company back on a growth track in the fourth quarter. CIBC World reiterates buy.

HC Wainwright upgrades Veritas Software (VRTS ) to strong buy from buy.

ICN Pharmaceutical (ICN ) shares fell after the IPO of the minority interest of the company's Ribapharm (RNA ) unit was priced today at $10.00, below the expected range of $13-$15.

Mercury Interactive (MERQ ) posted better than expected $0.14 vs. $0.18 Q1 EPS from operations on flat revenue. CS First Boston raised estimates and reiterates strong buy. S&P maintains hold.

DoubleClick (DCLK ) reported $0.01 first quarter EPS, vs. $0.08 loss per share (pro forma) from operations, as lower operating costs offset a 27% revenue decline. Pacific Crest reportedly downgrades to market perform from buy, while CSFB maintains buy.

RSA Security (RSAS ) posted a $0.11 Q1 loss from core operations vs. $0.17 EPS on a 27% revenue decline. RSA sees a Q2 loss from core operations of no greater than $0.04-$0.06. S&P cut estimates, keeps avoid.

Banc of America downgraded GE (GE ) to buy from strong buy, and cut the target to $36 from $45. On Thursday, the company posted $0.35 first quarter EPS before charges on flat revenue.

Powerwave (PWAV ) posted $0.04 Q1 EPS vs. a $0.15 loss on a 43% revenue rise.

Visx (EYE ) posted $0.12 vs. $0.21 Q1 EPS on 30% lower revenue, and says a 35% sequential increase in licensing revenue exceeded expectations. Robertson Stephens raised estimates.

Microchip Technology (MCHP ) set a 3-for-2 stock split. Separately, S&P lowered the technology sector to market weight from overweight, citing ambitious valuations and a bearish near-term technical outlook. S&P still likes Microchip and Intuit.

Juniper Networks (JNPR ) posted breakeven Q1 vs. $0.25 EPS on a 63% revenue decline. S&P says the company forecast Q2 EPS, and revenue flat with Q1. S&P maintains hold.

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