Allegheny Energy Drops

Papa John's climbs; H-P disappoints the Street; plus more of today's stocks in the news

CS First Boston raised its estimate and target on Valero Energy (VLO ).

Big Lots (BLI ) posted 57 cents fourth quarter earnings per share vs. a two-cent loss (continuing operation) on a 6.9% revenue rise, and sees 74 cents to 78 cents fiscal 2004 earnings per share on mid-single digit comp-store sales growth, and high single digit total sales.

Chip maker Semtech (SMTC ) posted 11 cents vs. 11 cents fourth quarter earnings per share on 4% lower sales, and sees 11 cents first quarter earnings per share on flat to up slightly sequential revenue growth. S&P keeps hold. CIBC World raised its estimates and keeps its sector outperform rating.

Handleman (HDL ) posted 68 cents vs. 30 cents third quarter earnings per share from operations on a 12% sales rise. The music and home video distributor set a buyback of up to 20% of its outstanding shares.

Inamed (IMDC ) posted 39 cents vs. 30 cents fourth quarter earnings per share (GAAP) on a 21% sales rise, and posted 57 cents fourth quarter cash earnings per share. Inamed sees $1.85-$1.95 2003 earnings per share (GAAP), and $2.28-$2.38 cash earnings per share (excluding charges). USB Piper upgraded to outperform.

Software maker Autodesk (ADSK ) posted seven cents vs. 32 cents fourth quarter earnings per share on 23% lower revenues. The results were ahead of some estimates. CS First Boston reiterates outperform. S&P maintains hold.

Sonic Solutions (SNIC ) and America Online signed a licensing agreement that allows America Online toincorporate Sonic's CD-audio, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM burning technologies into its interactive, Web-based applications.

Fulcrum reportedly upgraded teen retailer Urban Outfitters (URBN ) to buy from neutral.

Suez (SZE ) requested an inquiry into the erratic movement of its stock and "false rumors spread on the market." The energy and water services provider says accounts approved by directors on March 5 2003 are in line with the estimates given to the market on Jan. 9, 2003.

Transportation services company Stolt-Nielsen (SNSA ) received conditional immunity from U.S. and European antitrust authorities in return for cooperation into the investigation of its business practices.

Allegheny Energy (AYE ) projected lower-than-expected $131 million 2003 consolidated net income, and $125 million for 2004. The company is in deals with lenders on new and restructured credit facilities totaling $2.4 billion. In addition, Allegheny's Energy Supply Company agreed to sell its 83-megawatt share of the coal-fired Conemaugh Generating Station to a unit of UGI Corp., for about $51.25 million. Banc of America keeps neutral, while S&P reiterates hold.

Hancock Fabrics (HKF ) posted lower than expected 47 cents vs. 44 cents fourth quarter earnings per share on a 4% sales rise, and 12% higher same store sales.

Cryolife (CRY ) says in a conference call that first quarter revenue is on track to come in at $14.5 million to $15 million. The company sees $70 million 2003 revenue. USB Piper reportedly upgraded to outperform from market perform.

Tiffany (TIF ) posted 60 cents vs. 55 cents fourth quarter earnings per share on a 9.4% sales rise, and an 8% sales rise on a constant-exchange-rate basis. The luxury jewelry retailer sees $1.33-$1.38 first quarter fiscal 2003 earnings per share.

Restaurant operator Ruby Tuesday (RI ) announced third quarter same store sales through Feb. 24 at company-owned restaurants increased 0.2%, and estimates that third quarter same-store sales growth will be about 0.5%. Ruby Tuesday reiterated 38 cents to 39 cents third quarter earnings per share guidance.

Nextel Partners (NXTP ) posted a 22-cent fourth quarter loss vs. a 33-cent loss on a 62% total revenue rise. Nextel also retired $37 million in debt during the fourth quarter.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ ) posted 24 cents vs. 13 cents first quarter earnings per share (GAAP) on lower-than-expected flat revenues. The computer company affirmed the 27 cents second quarter earnings per share guidance. CS First Boston says the first quarter revenue missed expectations. Goldman downgraded to in-line.

American Pharmaceuticals (APPX ) posted 38 cents vs. 12 cents fourth quarter earnings per share on 51% net sales rise. The drug maker sees 20% growth in 2003 net sales, and 20%-25% growth in net income (excluding costs related to the commercialization of ABI-007).

Kenneth Cole (KCP ) posted better-than-forecast 41 cents vs. 11 cents fourth quarter earnings per share on a 17% revenue rise. The retailer sees 30 cents to 32 cents first quarter earnings per share, and $1.53-$1.57 for 2003.

Pizza chain Papa John's (PZZA ) posted 59 cents vs. 53 cents fourth quarter earnings per share despite 3% lower sales, and sees $2.40-$2.48 2003 earnings per share.

Qualcomm (QCOM ) and China Unicom established a joint venture with Unicom-BREW Wireless Technologies to foster the development of BREW-based code division multiple access wireless data applications.

News Corp. (NWS ) and Liberty Media (L ), after planning a joint offer to take control of Hughes Electronics, are no longer working together. News Corp. is going it alone, and Libery Media is considering an independent bid for Hughes, the parent of satellite broadcaster DirecTV, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Medtronic (MDT ) received FDA approval for its InSync III cardiac resynchronization therapy system.

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