Sun Micro to Take a Steep Charge

Adtran advances; Flextronics climbs; plus more of today's stocks in the news

After the close of trading Monday, Sun Microsystems (SUNW ) says it will take a $1.05 billion charge in to account for a drop in the value of deferred tax assets. The charge will be recorded against fourth-quarter fiscal 2003 earnings, and Sun will revise its results to show a loss of loss of 32 cents a share. For the current quarter, Sun now sees a loss of 7 cents to 10 cents a share.

Pacific Growth raised its estimates on telecom-equipment provider Adtran (ADTN ), and reiterated its overweight rating on the stock.

UBS Warburg upgraded contract manufacturer Flextronics (FLEX ) to buy from neutral, and raised the $13 target to $18.

EResearchTechnology (ERES ) signed agreements with a top-10 pharmaceutical organization, worth total of $36 million over two years, to provide comprehensive cardiac safety and related services for compounds in all phases of clinical development. The provider of diagnostics services raised the 82 cents to 84 cents 2004 earnings per share guidance to 92 cents to 94 cents, and upped the $87 million to $89 million revenue guidance to $96 million to $98 million.

Lehman Brothers sees a buying opportunity for International Rectifier (IRF ) after Friday's selloff.

The news of a deadly fire last Thursday in a National Healthcare (NHC ) nursing home in Nashville continue to pressure shares. Reports are out that National Healthcare has previously said its insurance may be inadequate in this type of emergency. Also shares of real estate investment trust National Health Investors (NHI ) are down, in sympathy.

Candela (CLZR ) permanently closed a Boston skin spa due to continuing, growing losses.

Ceradyne (CRDN ) received a four-year indefinite-quantity contract from the Department of Defense to supply small arms protective inserts for the U.S. Army. The contract involves a base award for 2004 of about $29 million, with options for the next three years ranging from $4 million to $14 million a year.

Wal-Mart (WMT ), the world's largest chain store, says September same-store sales are on track to grow near the high end of its forecast of 3% to 5%.

Canada's Manulife Financial (MFC ) will buy life insurer John Hancock Financial (JHF ) in a stock-for-stock merger valued at $10.3 billion. Terms: 1.1853 Manulife shares per John Hancock share.

Goldman Sachs upgraded auto-parts retailer Pep Boys (PBY ) to outperform from in-line.

SoundView keeps its neutral rating on Omnivision Technologies (OVTI ), saying high expectations are already built into the stock valuation.

Raymond James upgraded PrivateBancorp (PVTB ) to outperform from market perform.

Advest cut its estimates, and reiterates neutral on Kingsway Financial Services (KFS ). Late Friday, Kingsway said third-quarter profit will be reduced by about 20 million Canadian dollars due to a provision for unpaid claims. Earlier Friday, the company said it would delay a trust preferred offering.

C.E. Unterberg upgraded Ess Technology (ESST ) to short-term buy from short-term market perform.

Energy Conversion Devices (ENER ) will extend filing its annual report pending analyses of its purchase accounting for the acquisition of interests in United Solar Ovonic.

Adams Harkness upgraded PDF Solutions (PDFS ) to strong buy from market perform.

Nam Tai Electronics (NTE ) plans to increase the production capacity of flexible printed circuit sub-assemblies for cellular phones.

Morgan Stanley upgraded R. R. Donnelley (DNY ) to equal-weight from underweight.

Wachovia upgraded DiamondCluster (DTPI ) to outperform from market perform.

Epimmune (EPMN ) received a five-year, $16.7 million contract from the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases for the design and development of prophylactic HIV vaccines for clinical evaluation by the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.

Credit Suisse First Boston downgraded Idec Pharmaceuticals (IDPH ) to underperform, and has a $30 target.

Enterpise software maker SAP (SAP ) reportedly says that pricing pressure is high, adding that 40% of the contracts it has lost were due to pressure from Oracle's discount pricing.

Forest Labs (FRX ) received an approvable letter from the FDA to expand the use of Lexapro to include the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder.

Lehman Brothers upgraded Apple Computer (AAPL ) to overweight from equal-weight, and raised the target to $24, from $22. Lehman cited solid back-to-school demand and a potential upgrade cycle for the G5 PowerMac.

Thomas Weisel downgraded Affymetrix (AFFX ) to underperform from peer perform on increasing competition and lower earnings visibility.

Merrill Lynch downgraded Nvidia (NVDA ) to sell from neutral.

Silicon Storage (SSTI ) will license its SuperFlash technology to Toshiba. Silicon Storage will receive licensing fees and royalties on sales of microcontrollers that incorporate its SuperFlash technology.

First Albany upgraded (FWHT ) to buy from neutral on valuation, and the merits of the Internet advertising company's U.S. business.

The Department of Defense says it awarded a contract for its TRICARE retail pharmacy program to mail-order pharmacy services company Express Scripts (ESRX ) The contract is for one year with four subsequent option years exercisable by the government. Humana (HUM ) reportedly is the losing bidder.

Progenics Pharmaceuticals (PGNX ) was awarded a contract by the National Institutes of Health to develop a novel vaccine against HIV, providing the company with up to $28.6 million over the next five years to fund preclinical research.

Aftermarket Technology (ATAC ) sees 15 cents to 17 cents third-quarter EPS (GAAP) vs. the previous guidance of 15 cents to 20 cents; it sees 97 cents to $1.02 EPS in 2003, citing lower-than-expected Chrysler volumes, soft demand for aftermarket engines, and an early build-out of transmissions for Kia.

Merrill reportedly downgraded Nvidia (NVDA ) to sell from neutral.

Marvel Enterprises (MVL ) settled a legal dispute with one-time Marvel Comics creator Joe Simon, by which Simon will assign to Marvel all copyrights he holds in the character Captain America. Marvel will build Captain America across film and other mediums.

Bank of Hawaii (BOH ) will repurchase up to an additional $200 million in stock, bringing the total authorized buyback to $1 billion.

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