Guidant Lower after Court Setback

Lilly's attention-deficit drug gets FDA nod; Hormel cautiously optimistic on fiscal 2003; plus more of today's stocks to watch

Boston Scientific (BSX ) says a U.S. appeals court denied requests by Cook Inc. and Guidant (GDT ) for a stay of injunction in their paclitaxel-coated stent dispute with Boston Scientific. Guidant shares fell on the news while Boston Scientific traded higher. CIBC World reiterated its sector underperform rating on Guidant.

Novellus Systems (NVLS ) sees $200-$210 million in fourth quarter order bookings, $211 million in revenues, and earnings per share of 11 cents, excluding an expected charge for its reduction in force. Morgan Stanley raised its price target on the shares.

Transkaryotic (TKTX ) shares were sharply lower after the company said the FDA failed to approve its kidney disease drug Replagal due to insufficient data from a Phase III study.

The FDA approved Eli Lilly's (LLY ) Strattera drug for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

After the Lilly news, shares of Shire Pharmaceutical (SHPGY ) were trading lower. Morgan Stanley downgraded Shire to equal-weight from overweight.

CS First Boston initiated coverage of Nextel Communications (NXTL ) with outperform. Goldman upgraded Kroll (KROL ) to outperform from neutral. Further details were unavailable. The company said it knew of no news and noted the Goldman comments.

Comverse Technology (CMVT ) posted a third quarter loss of 13 cents per share vs. 11 cents earnings per share on a 43% revenue decline.

Michaels Stores (MIK ) posted third quarter earnings per share of 46 cents vs. 26 cents on 6% higher same store sales and 15% higher total sales.

Dollar General (DG ) posted third quarter earnings per share (excluding restatement-related items) of 16 cents vs. 16 cents despite a 14% sales rise. The company is hopeful it can achieve the low end of 13%-15% higher fiscal 2003 net income guidance. S&P cut its estimates.

Chartered Semi (CHRT ) and IBM reached a joint development and manufacturing agreement to provide customers greater access to leading-edge semiconductor technology and sourcing flexibility. SoundView upgraded Chartered to outperform from neutral.

Hormel Foods (HRL ) posted fourth quarter earnings per share of 49 cents, unchanged from a year earlier, on a 1.7% sales decline. The company sees first quarter earnings per share of 35 to 43 cents and is cautiously optimistic about its prospects for fiscal 2003.

Morgan Stanley downgraded El Paso (EP ) to underweight from equal-weight. CIBC World downgraded the shares to sector underperform. On Nov. 26, Moody's Investors Service downgraded El Paso's senior unsecured debt to Ba2 from Baa3.

Cigna (CI ) will take a $50-$65 million charge in the fourth quarter to settle a dispute with physicians and health care providers claiming that the company failed to make reimbursements.

Triquint Semi (TQNT ) reaffirmed fourth quarter revenue guidance of $71-$75 million. The company sees results around breakeven to a 1 cent loss per share. Triquint expects an 8-cent first quarter loss due to added costs from its Agere acquisition, excluding any charges to write off acquired in-process R&D.

H&R Block (HRB ) posted a second quarter loss per share (excluding non-recurring charges) of 5 cents vs. a 15-cent loss on a 26% revenue rise. The company sees $2.90-$3.10 fiscal 2003 EPS (under GAAP) and $3.16-$3.36 cash earnings per shatre.

Sun Microsystems (SUNW ) expects second quarter revenue to be about in line with the current Wall Street consensus estimate, and expects that its gross margin will be slightly below the first quarter. S&P reiterates hold. Bank of America cut its estimates.

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