Scios Jumps on News of Strategic Talks

Tech Data drops on a warning; Cigna rallies after beating estimates; plus more of today's stocks in the news

Scios (SCIO ) says it is in talks with other life sciences companies about potential strategic transactions, including potential partnerships and mergers. Earlier, The Wall Street Journal reported that Johnson & Johnson was in advanced talks to buy the company for about $2 billion.

Tech Data (TECD ) says fiscal 2004 earnings per share could decline by as much as 15%-25%. The company offered to acquire UK-based Azlan Group PLC. Lehman, S&P, and CS First Boston each cut estimates on Tech Data.

Cigna (CI ) posted 33 cents vs. $1.32 fourth quarter consolidated earnings per share on a 1.3% revenue drop. Cigna posted $1.27 vs. $1.88 adjusted operating earnings per share from continuing operations, topping the consensus estimate, and sees $6.25-$6.50 2003 adjusted operating earnings per share. S&P upgraded to neutral from avoid. UBS Warburg upgraded to hold.

UBS Warburg upgraded Adolph Coors (RKY ) saying Thursday's sell-off was overblown. Goldman also upgraded. On Thursday the beer maker posted lower than expected 63 cents vs. 49 cents fourth quarter operating earnings per share.

Genesco (GCO ) sees $249 million to $251 million fourth quarter sales, and 60 cents to 63 cents operating earnings per share, due to weakness in its Johnston & Murphy business, and slow retail sales. The footwear and accessories company sees $828 million to $830 million in 2003 sales, as well as $1.51-$1.55 operating earnings per share.

Goldman Sachs upgraded Torchmark (TMK ) to in-line from underperform. On Thursday the company posted 90 cents vs. 83 cents fourth quarter operating earnings per share.

Regis (RGIS ) posted 1.4% lower January same store sales, and 17% higher total sales. The hair salon operator and franchiser says it disappointed with results, but reaffirmed the 45 cents to 46 cents third quarter earnings per share guidance.

The FDA approved Biovail's (BVF ) Cardizem LA, a graded extended-release formulation of diltiazem HCl for the treatment of high blood pressure or hypertension. Biovail sees $2.25 to $2.35 2003 earnings per share, and 30% 2004 earnings per share growth.

Hoover's (HOOV ) received a letter from Austin Ventures and Marathon Partners L.P. proposing to acquire up to all outstanding shares for $8.00 per share cash.

Lehman tied weakness in Rent-A-Center (RCII ) to accounting concerns, and say it has spoken with the company. Lehman sees the weakness as a buying opportunity.

Blue Rhino (RINO ) says it is unaware of a reason for recent trading activity, and reaffirmed fiscal 2003 guidance. ST Robinson Humphrey downgraded to underweight from overweight.

IMS Health (RX ) completed its exchange offer to distribute its majority interest in Cognizant Technologies (CTSH ). Under the offer, IMS will accept 36.5 million of its shares for the 11.3 million Cognizant shares it owns. S&P keesp avoid.

ImClone (IMCL ) and Bristol Myers announced the opening of a limited access program in the U.S. for Erbitux, for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.

Party City (PCTY ) posted 76 cents vs. 79 cents second quarter earnings per share as higher costs and expenses offset a 14% revenue rise. The company believes it can achieve 78 cents to 85 cents fiscal 2003 earnings per share. Brean Murray downgraded to hold from buy.

Electronic Data Systems (EDS ) posted 75 cents vs. 82 cents fourth quarter earnings per share on a 5% revenue decline. EDS sees $1.80-$2.00 2003 earnings per share, excluding discontinued operations, which is below the consensus Wall Street forecast.

Overture Services (OVER ) posted 24 cents vs. 35 cents fourth quarter earnings per share from operations as higher costs offset a 97% revenue rise. The company sees 13 cents to 14 cents first quarter earnings per share, and 2003 earnings per share in line with the previous guidance of 90 cents to $1.15. SoundView upgraded to neutral.

CE Unterberg downgraded Genesis Micro (GNSS ) to near-term market perform from buy.

First Albany downgraded Albany Molecular (AMRI ) to underperform from neutral.

Nautilus Group (NLS ) posted 69 cents vs. 57 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share on 24% higher sales. Nautilus reaffirmed its 2003 guidance of $2.50-$2.60 earnings per share on $580 million to $600 million in revenues.

UBS Warburg downgraded Millenium Chemical (MCH ) to neutral from buy.

Pixar (PIXR ) posted 31 cents vs. 25 cents fourth quarter earnings per share on a 51% revenue rise, and sees seven cents to 10 cents first quarter earnings per share, and $1.39 2003 earnings per share. Pixar says a continuing movie distribution deal with Disney is "far from certain." S&P keeps avoid. Merrill Lynch cut its estimates.

Goodrich (GR ) posted 66 cents vs. 74 cents fourth quarter earnings per share from continuing operations (excluding items) as weakness in commercial aerospace markets and aviation segments offset a 12% sales rise. The company sees $1.70-$1.85 2003 earnings per share, excluding special items.

Hearst-Argyle (HTV ) posted 39 cents vs. eight cents fourth quarter earnings per share on a 21% revenue rise. The publishing company sees 11 cents to 13 cents first quarter earnings per share.

The FDA approved Biogen's (BGEN ) Avonex labeling to include the treatment of patients with their first multiple sclerosis attack, if brain scans show abnormalities that are characteristic of MS.

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