Schering-Plough CEO Will Step Down

FCC clears Comcast-AT&T merger; Expedia shares tumble; plus more of today's stocks in the news

Schering-Plough (SGP ) CEO Richard Jay Kogan says he will leave the CEO's post by April 22 and is stepping down immediately from the chairman's position. Richard de J. Osborne, a board member since 1988, will step in as chairman and oversee the search for a new CEO, the company said. The shakeup follows Tuesday's announcement that the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts had issued two grand-jury subpoenas to the drug maker related to an investigation of its sales and marketing practices.

Merck (MRK ) said it was advised by the U.S. Department of Justice that regulators are investigating its marketing and selling activities as well as those of other unidentified drug makers.

Comcast (CMCSK ) won permission from the Federal Communications Commission to acquire rival AT&T Broadband (T ) $30.2 billion, giving Comcast about 27 million subscribers.

S&P says Expedia (EXPE ) shares are lower on a story in The Wall Street Journal saying airlines could soon be granted greater flexibility in choosing how they distribute tickets. On Wednesday federal transportation officials said there was no need to regulate the sale of airline tickets over the Internet. S&P reiterates hold on Expedia.

S&P says MBIA (MBI ) is lower on concerns about its exposure to a series of defaulted truck driving school loans. S&P keeps its accumulate ranking.

S&P thinks St. Jude Medical's (STJ ) near term may prove challenging in terms of valuation, and downgraded to accumulate from buy.

Thomas Weisel sees upside to Marvell Technology (MRVL ) earnings and revenues on better than expected growth in its storage busines and continuing Gigabit Ethernet ramp when the company reports on Nov. 21.

Tiffany (TIF ) posted $0.24 (including $0.05 in a non-recurring tax benefit) vs. $0.16 third-quarter earnings per share on a 3% worldwide same store sales rise, and a 9.9% total sales rise. The luxury goods retailer sees $0.60-$0.65 fourth-quarter earnings per share.

Cable & Wireless (CWP ) posted a 4.5 billion Great Britian pound first-half loss on 29% lower turnover. The company wrote off GBP 2.713 billion in goodwill at C&W Global, and cut 3,500 jobs in a restructuring program.

Gen-Probe (GPRO ) posted a $0.19 third-quarter earnings per share (including a charge) vs. $0.17 EPS a year ago, on a 24% revenue rise. The company raised its 2002 earnings per share guidance to $0.45-$0.48. The company expects 2003 earnings per share to come in at the higher end of the previous $0.60-$0.64 guidance.

Campbell Soup (CPB ) posted $0.47 vs. $0.42 first-quarter earnings per share from operations on a 9% sales rise, and expects U.S. soup performance to improve for the remainder of fiscal 2003, and continues to forecast $1.47 fiscal 2003 earnings per share from operations.

Ligand Pharmaceuticals (LGND ) posted a $0.10 third-quarter loss per share on a 32% revenue rise, and continues to expect a breakthrough to operating profitability in the fourth quarter. First Albany downgraded to underperform from buy.

Lehman downgraded Telik (TELK ) to underweight from equal weight.

OraPharma (OPHM ) agreed to be acquired by Johnson & Johnson. Terms: shareholders to receive $7.41 per OraPharma share.

Lehman downgraded Starwood Hotels (HOT ) and MeriStar Hospitality (MHX ) to equal weight from overweight.

TiVo (TIVO ) announced a license agreement with Toshiba America Consumer Products Inc.

Goldman Sachs downgraded Sears (S ) to underperform from in-line.

Salomon upgraded Health Net (HNT ) to in-line from underperform.

Footstar (FTS ) delayed its 10-Q due to a review of an account reconciliation process at its Shared Service Center in Dallas; financial statements will have to be restated for the first nine months of 2002 and prior periods, mostly affecting 2001.

Federated Department Stores (FD ) posted $0.38 vs. $0.20 third-quarter earnings per share from operations despite 2% lower same-store sales, and sees $1.95-$2.05 fourth-quarter earnings per share on flat to down 2% same-store sales, and $3.35-$3.45 for fiscal 2003.

Anheuser-Busch (BUD ) reaffirmed its 14% target for earnings per share growth in 2002, and reiterates its 12% target for 2003. The beer manufacturer says it's confident in its ability to consistently achieve double-digit earnings per share growth over the long term.

Lamar Advertising (LAMR ) posted a $0.06 third-quarter loss per share, vs. a $0.25 loss, on 7.3% higher revenues, and posted $87.9 million vs. $86.1 million third-quarter EBITDA. Lamar sees $80 million to $82 million fourth-quarter EBITDA on $192 million to $195 million in revenues. CIBC World cut to sector underperform from sector perform.

Wal-Mart (WMT ) posted $0.41 vs. $0.33 third-quarter earnings per share on 3.5% higher same store sales and 12% higher total sales. The retailer says it's confident that it's well positioned for a record fourth quarter.

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF ) posted $0.48, vs. $0.43, third-quarter earnings per share on 5% higher same store sales. The results outpaced analysts' revised expectations for $0.46 a share. Wachovia upgraded to strong buy.

The Wall Street Journal reported that former Salomon Smith Barney telecom analyst Jack Grubman said Citigroup (C ) CEO Sanford Weill pushed him to upgrade AT&T stock as part of Weill's power struggle with John Reed. Citigroup says such a suggestion is "nonsense."

J.P. Morgan has chosen to negotiate exclusively with IBM Corp. (IBM ) for a sweeping technology contract worth over $5 billion, which could be a blow to rival Electronic Data Systems.

Nordstrom (JWN ) sees $0.13-$0.14 third-quarter earnings per share vs. the previous $0.16-$0.20 guidance, citing record-keeping changes associated with the transition to a new inventory management system, and isolated increases vs. a plan in selling and distribution center costs.

Network Appliances (NTAP ) posted $0.05 second-quarter earnings per share vs. a $0.03 loss (GAAP) on an 11% revenue rise, and reportedly sees $0.05-$0.06 third-quarter earnings per share (pro forma).

According to The Wall Street Journal, TRW (TRW ) is close to selling its auto-parts business to Blackstone Group for as much as $4.75 billion in a deal that could leave Northrop Grumman with a minority stake once its pending takeover of TRW is complete.

Jack In The Box (JBX ) posted $0.61 vs. $0.52 fourth-quarter earnings per share from operations on a 4.7% total revenue rise, and cut the $2.46 fiscal 03 earnings per share guidance to $2.42. The burger chains sees $0.63 first-quarter fiscal 2003 earnings per share.