Intuit Reports Higher Earnings

Millennium gains after drug gets FDA nod; Applied Materials slips on disappointing outlook; plus more of today's stocks to watch

After the market close Wednesday, Intuit (INTU ) said third-quarter income from continuing operations (pro forma) increased to $220.3 million, or $1.05 a share, from $150.5 million, or 69 cents a share, a year earlier. The pro forma EPS beat a lowered consensus estimate of $1.01. Revenue in the quarter was $634.7 million, up 29% from a year ago and slightly higher than analysts' lowered projection, driven primarily by strong gains in Intuit's TurboTax business. For the fourth quarter, Intuit says it sees revenue of $240 million to $250 million, or year-over-year growth of 28% to 34%, and a pro forma net loss per share of 6 cents to 9 cents.

Applied Materials (AMAT ) shares fell after the chip-equipment maker posted a 4-cent second-quarter loss per share, vs. 3 cents earnings per share a year ago, on 4% lower revenue. The company reportedly sees 3 cents to 4 cents for third-quarter EPS. BoA says the outlook is disappointing, and expects the stock to trade in the $10 to $15 range in the near term.

Network Appliance (NTAP ) posted 7 cents, vs. 4 cents, fourth-quarter earnings per share (pro forma) on an 18% revenue rise. The company posted 7 cents vs. 2 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share on a GAAP basis. It also set a $150 million stock buyback. The shares fell on the news. S&P downgraded the shares.

Motorola (MOT ) shares rose as the company reportedly reiterates its second-quarter outlook of 1 cent to 3 cents in EPS on $6.4 billion to $6.6 billion in sales in a quarterly report filed yesterday.

Tiffany & Co. (TIF ) shares jumped after the company posted 24 cents, vs. 22 cents, first-quarter earnings per share on a 14% sales rise (a 10% rise on constant exchange rate). The luxury goods retailer sees low-teens percentage increase in fiscal 2004 net sales and says it will meet its EPS forecast of $1.33 to $1.38.

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF ) shares fell after the apparel retailer posted 26 cents, vs. 23 cents, first-quarter earnings per share on an 11% sales rise. The retailer posted 6% lower first-quarter same-store sales. S&P reiterates hold, while USB Piper downgrades the stock to outperform from strong buy.

Williams Cos. (WMB ) shares rose after Prudential upgrades to buy from hold. Yesterday the company posted first-quarter EPS of 4 cents.

Gateway (GTW ) shares fell after the company reportedly says the U.S. Attorney's office recently began preliminary inquiry relating to its 2000 financial results.

J2 Global Communications (JCOM ) shares jumped after it announced that its eFax subscription services will be made available via the upcoming Microsoft (MSFT ) Office 2003 Editions.

Merrill Lynch downgraded Rite Aid (RAD ) to hold from buy.

Duane Reade (DRD ) shares fell after the company says if New York State legislation is enacted, its 2003 EPS could be adversely impacted by about 7 cents to 12 cents per share, excluding the impact of any retroactive provision that may apply.

Millennium Pharmaceuticals (MLNM ) shares rose after the FDA approved Veldase for injection for relapsed, refractory multiple myelonoma. The company notes this treatment is the first FDA approved proteasome inhibitor.

Citigroup upgrades Juniper Networks (JNPR ) and Enterasys Networks (ETS ) to outperform from in-line. Citigroup also upgrades the telecommunications-equipment sector to marketweight from underweight.

Ariad Pharmaceuticals (ARIA ) shares rose after a court rules in favor of the company and co-plaintiffs in their patent infringement suit filed against Eli Lilly (LLY ) alleging infringement of a U.S. patent covering methods of treating human disease by regulating NF-B cell signaling activity.

Federated Department Stores (FD ) posts first-quarter EPS of 24 cents, vs. 43 cents a year ago, on 5% lower same-store sales and 4.7% lower total sales. The department store chain says second-quarter sales will be difficult. It sees second-quarter EPS of 50 cents to 55 cents (including $10 million to $15 million store closing costs) and 2% to 3% lower same-store sales.

Computer Sciences (CSC ) posted 95 cents, vs. 82 cents, fourth-quarter earnings per share from operations on a 1.4% revenue rise. The company sees 52 cents first-quarter earnings per share on 25% revenue growth and $2.78 to $2.88 fiscal 2004 earnings per share on $14.3 billion to $14.7 billion in revenue.

Hartford Financial Services (HIG ) posted a $4.46 first-quarter loss per share (including a $2.5 billion increase in asbestos reserves) vs. $1.17 EPS.

An FDA committee recommended approval of Bristol-Myers Squibb's (BMY ) Reyataz for treatment of HIV-1 infection.

Jack In The Box (JBX ) posted 44 cents, vs. 45 cents, second-quarter earnings per share on 4.3% lower same-store sales. The company sees 49 cents third-quarter EPS.

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