EDS Drops

Palm advances; DuPont Photomask slides; plus more of today's stocks in the news

Electronic Data (EDS ) will sell $1.1 billion of debt, and prepay remaining obligations under a software subscription pact after Moody's put the long-term credit rating under review. S&P rates avoid, and UBS Financial rates neutral.

Handheld-device maker Palm (PALM ) posted a 51-cent fourth-quarter loss vs. a 95-cent loss (GAAP basis) on 3.2% lower revenues, beating analysts' average estimates. Excluding items that include costs related to the PalmSource spin-off, Palm reported a fourth-quarter loss of 30 cents per share, vs. a loss of 62 cents a share.

Thomas Weisel upgraded McData (MCDTA ) to outperform from peer perform.

Biosite (BSTE ) and Beckman Coulter signed an agreement for Beckman Coulter to make, and for Biosite to commercialize, a b-type natriuretic peptide test for use on Beckman Coulter's immunoassay system.

Stamps.com (STMP ) confirmed a lawsuit against PayPal and eBay for breach of contract, and breach of implied covenants of good faith, fair dealing, and interference with contract, among other claims, with respect to a license agreement.

DuPont Photomask (DPMI ) says fourth-quarter revenue is currently tracking at the low end of the previous guided range, or $80 million. Also, Peter S. Kirlin resigned as chairman and CEO, effective immediately.

Thomas Weisel upgraded Techne (TECH ) to outperform from peer perform.

Pfizer (PFE ) will give a press briefing Thursday afternoon, saying it will disclose important developments regarding malaria, SARS, and smallpox.

ATI Technologies ATYT posted 7 cents vs. 8 cents third-quarter earnings per share (adjusted) as higher costs offset a 29% revenue rise. ATI sees $335 million to $365 million fourth-quarter revenue, and slight improvement in gross margin; as a result, the adjusted net income should improve in the fourth quarter, relative to the third quarter.

Freddie Mac (FRE ) expects the cummulative effect of its financial restatement to increase retained earnings per share as of Dec. 31, 2002, by a range of $1.5 billion to $4.5 billion. The mortgage-finance giant will report a material increase in the fair value of shareholders' equity for year-end 2002, from year-end 2001.

Newspaper publisher Pulitzer (PTZ ) affirmed the previous 2003 earnings per share guidance of at least $1.95, assuming a reasonably stable ad environment. Pulitzer expects $15 million to $16 million in 2003 capital expenditures -- slightly higher than the previous outlook.

Verity (VRTY ) posted 11 cents vs. 9 cents fourth-quarter GAAP earnings per share on a 12% revenue rise. Verity sees 3 cents to 6 cents first-quarter GAAP earnings per share on a modest sequential decrease in revenues, citing seasonality and a challenging economic environment. S&P maintains avoid.

CNF (CNF ) sees 26 cents to 31 cents earnings per share, and says the weak economy continues to affect all businesses, particularly North American operations at Menlo Worldwide Forwarding. Morgan Stanley downgraded to equal-weight from overweight.

Human Genome (HGSI ) received FDA clearance to begin a clinical trial of ABthrax, its novel drug for prevention and treatment of anthrax infections, in healthy adults.

Boston Scientific (BSX ) says a German court has found that its Express coronary stent infringes two of seven German patents and utility models asserted by Medinol Ltd. Boston Scientific expects to prevail on an appeal, and sees no significant business impact.

Harrah's Entertainment (HET ) plans to develop up to eight regional casinos throughout Great Britian in a 50-50 joint venture with Gala Group, the U.K.'s leading mid-market gaming operator.

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