Landstar Advances

Boston Scientific jumps on Taxus data; Footstar to restate results as CEO exits; plus more of today's stocks in the news

Raymond James upgraded transportation company Landstar System (LSTR ) to strong buy from market perform. The analyst cited several company-specific positive trends after a year of declines.

Boston Scientific (BSX ) shares soared after announcing that its highly anticipated drug-coated coronary stent dramatically reduced the rate of vessel reblockage among heart disease patients who received the device in late-stage clinical testing. The results may provide a boost to the medical device maker's bid to win U.S. regulatory clearance for the Taxus IV stent. Shares of Angiotech Pharmaceuticals (ANPI ) also rose; Angiotech is the original developer of technology for the drug-coated stent. Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ ), which makes the only commercially available drug-coated stent in the U.S., slipped in trading.

Deutsche Bank upgraded WebMD (HLTH ) to buy from hold.

Shoe company Footstar (FTS ) fired its CEO after a 10-month investigation uncovered as much as $34 million in accounting errors. The company now expects 2003 sales to be 11%-12% lower than a year ago.

J.P. Morgan upgraded Toll Brothers (TOL ) to overweight from neutral.

Trimeris (TRMS ) says new data show Fuzeon-based regimens provide a significant durable response in HIV patients through 48 weeks. SG Cowen downgraded to market perform from outperform.

Harris Nesbitt reportedly upgraded Aeropostale (ARO ) to outperform from neutral.

Exelixis (EXEL ) reached a pact with the FDA on a Phase III registration trial of XL119, its small-molecule anticancer compound, via Special Protocol Assessment process. Exelixis sees a Phase III study starting in the first half of 2004. CIBC is positive.

Alpharma's (ALO ) Purepac Pharmaceutical unit received final approval from the FDA for gabapentin capsules in 100 mg, 300 mg, and 400 mg. Gabapentin is the generic equivalent of Pfizer's Neurontin.

UBS Financial upgraded IBM Corp. (IBM ) to buy from neutral, on the belief that semiconductor business will improve.

Wal-Mart (WMT ) said September same-store sales are currently tracking at the high end of its 3% to 5% target growth range.

Merrill raised its ratings on chip-equipment makers Applied Material (AMAT ) and Kulicke & Soffa (KLIC ) to buy from neutral.

The United Auto Workers announced a tentative contract agreement with the Chrysler arm of DaimlerChrysler DCX but said it was still in talks with General Motors and Ford.

ChevronTexaco (CVX ) and Exxon Mobil (XOM ) may submit rival bids to buy a 25% stake, valued at more than $11 billion, in Russian oil group Yukos-Sibneft, as soon as this week, according to the Wall Street Journal, whcih cited sources.

Vivendi Universal (V ) received a notice of grievance from France's Commission des Operations de Bourse. It says it intends to continue to cooperate fully with investigations into Vivendi's financial information on fiscal years 2000, 2001, and 2002.

SoundView downgraded Motorola (MOT )to neutral from outperform.

The FDA approved Cubist Pharmaceuticals' (CBST ) Cubicin for the treatment of complicated skin and skin structure infections caused by Gram-positive bacteria.

Abbott Laboratories (ABT ) says a study found ProSure, developed by Abbott's Ross Products Division, helps slow and reverse weight loss, and build muscle in people with advanced cancer.

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