Sealed Air Expects to Meet Targets

FDA gives VaxGen fast-track status, Valero boosts outlook; plus more of today's stocks in the news

Sealed Air (SEE ) sees $2.40 to $2.45 2003 earnings per share, meeting Wall Street's targets. The earnings would incorporate a recent settlement of asbestos-relate litigation.

VaxGen (VXGN ) says the FDA has designated the company's HIV/AIDS vaccine candidates, AIDSVAX B/B, AIDSVAX B/E (rgp120), as Fast Track Products for the prevention of HIV infection.

Valero Energy (VLO ) sees fourth quarter earnings per share in the 75 cents range (including a 14 cents benefit from the reduction of feedstock and refined product inventory levels). Analysts said they were expecting about 58 cents earnings per share. S&P reiterates accumulate.

Salomon Smith Barney upgraded Varco International (VRC ) to outperform; downgraded Universal Compression (UCO ) to in-line; and downgraded Weatherford International (WFT ) to underperform.

Overture Service (OVER ) USB Piper sees upside to the fourth quarter and 2003 estimates. Overture reiterates strong buy.

S&P says Aether Systems (AETH ) and Interwoven (IWOV ) shares might be higher on takeover speculation. S&P maintains its hold ranking on the companies.

Quiksilver 's (ZQK ) CEO Robert McKnight told CNBC that the holiday shopping season is going very well, and the company has plans for expansion.

InVision Technologies (INVN ) reportedly raised fourth quarter guidance to earnings per share of at least $1.60 on revenue of at least $160 million, citing demand for explosives detection equipment by the U.S. government. SG Cowen raised its estimates.

Thomas Weisel reiterates its attractive rating on Polycom (PLCM ), saying the communications equipment maker is making progress in resolving its distribution problems, and that its risk/reward profile is attractive.

Roth Capital initiated coverage of American Science & Engineering (ASE ) with strong buy.

Raymond James says with Cerner 's (CERN ) current valuation well under half its current growth rate, it views the provider of health technology services risk/reward as particularly attractive.

Garmin (GRMN ) sees higher than expected $132 million to $135 million fourth quarter revenues. The maker of communications devices that use global positioning system technology cited strong demand for consumer products and shipment of backordered aviation products. WR Hambrecht raised its estimates.

ICT Group (ICTG ), a provider of customer relationship management solutions, sees 13 cents to 16 cents fourth quarter earnings per share and will take $12 million to $14 million in charges for facilities closures and litigation costs. Adams Harkness cut its rating on the stock to market perform from strong buy.

SG Cowen downgraded Internet Securities (ISSX ) to underperform from market perform.

UBS Warburg upgraded Masco (MAS ) to strong buy from buy. On Friday the company announced a 50 million share buyback, and reached an agreement with plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against its Behr paint unit.

Fargo Electronics (FRGO ) sees 5% to 15% 2003 revenue growth. Baird downgraded to neutral from outperform.

Healthcare services company HealthSouth (HRC ) sees 55 cents to 57 cents 2003 earnings per share on $4.23 billion to $4.32 billion in revenues. The forecast takes into account current Medicare reimbursement policies for outpatient therapy services, which are below Wall Street's expectations.

Wal-Mart (WMT ) filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the sale of an additional $10 billion of debt securities. The company expects to use the proceeds to finance acquisitions, repay short-term and long-term debt, and meet other working capital requirements. Separately, the world's largest retailer also says sales last week were at the low end of its expectations for December.

CS First Boston reportedly upgraded Delta Air Lines (DAL ) to outperform from neutral.

A Barron's article says Fred Hicky of newsletter High-Tech Strategist expects chip demand to really hit the skids next year. Meanwhile, overcapacity remains "positively awesome." Intel (INTC ) is among his favorite shorts.

Lehman says Cisco Systems (CSCO ) is seeing generally strong demand trends quarter to date.

Target's (TGT ) credit card defaults are rising. Investors and analysts also are concerned about slow sales gains in its core unit, the push into groceries, and lackluster trends at its Mervyn's and Marshall Field's units, according to Barron's.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK ) says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Pediarix to be given to infants for the prevention of diptheria, tetanus, polio and hepatitis B and pertussis.

Identix (IDNX ) sees a six cents to eight cents second quarter loss per share(pro forma), worse than previous expectations, on $20 million to $23 million revenues, citing slower than expected government sales.

Ryland Group (RYL ) set an additional 1 million share buyback. UBS Warburg raised estimates, reiterates strong buy.

Merrill added Hewlett-Packard (HPQ ) to its Focus One Stock list.

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