business

Cisco Beats the Street

Toll Brothers rises; Priceline.com tumbles; plus more of today's stocks in the news

Cisco Systems (CSCO ) posted 17 cents first-quarter earnings per share (excluding charges), vs. 14 cents -- 2 cents better than analysts' average estimates. Revenue rose 5.3%, to $5.1 billion.

Toll Brothers (TOL ) posted a 24% rise in fourth-quarter closings, a 46% rise in contracts, and a 39% rise in backlog. Raymond James reiterates strong buy.

Priceline.com (PCLN ) shares plunged after the online travel agency posted 24 cents third-quarter earnings per share, vs. a 63 cents loss (including an impairment charge) on a 9% revenue rise. Priceline sees 2 cents to 8 cents fourth-quarter GAAP earnings per share. S&P maintains hold. Thomas Weisel cut its estimates.

Esperion Therapeutics (ESPR ) shares rose after providing significant evidence that its investigational heart-disease drug, ETC-216, rapidly reduced the size of plaque in coronary arteries, and reversed atherosclerosis in some patients. Needham reiterates strong buy.

Red Hat (RHAT ) shares fell after SoundView says it views the entry of Novell into the Linux market as a long-term negative for Red Hat as it increases competitive pressure of SuSE upon Red Hat; it could reduce premium investors will pay for Red Hat shares.

Symbol Technologies (SBL ) posted 5 cents third-quarter earnings per share on a slight revenue rise. The results are unaudited, but the company believes they accurately reflect the results to be reported. J.P. Morgan added Symbol to its Focus List, Morgan Stanley upgraded, and S&P maintains avoid.

Tommy Hilfiger (TOM ) posted 71 cents, vs. 67 cents second-quarter earnings per share on flat revenue. The apparel manufacturer reiterated the forecast for 10 cents to 14 cents third-quarter earnings per share, and 35 cents to 39 cents in the fourth quarter. Including a favorable trademark litigation settlement which amounted to 8 cents per share, Tommy sees $1.35 to $1.43 fiscal 2004 earnings per share.

International Multifoods (IMC ) sees $1.30 to $1.40 fiscal 2004 operating earnings per share, below the $1.71 consensus, citing lower-than-anticipated sales volumes in its U.S. Consumer Products business.

InterActiveCorp (IACI ) posted third-quarter earnings per share (adjusted) of 17 cents, a penny shy of the consensus forecast and up from 7 cents a year ago. Excluding items, InterActive sees 2003 earnings per share of 72 cents to 75 cents. It says 2003 adjusted earnings per share may fall short due to unforseen charges, the continued impact of the termination of the Hotels.com agreement, and facility closure costs. It set a 50 million share buyback.

International Game Technology (IGT ) shares rose after Jefferies upgrades to buy from hold. Yesterday, IGT posted fourth-quarter EPS of 29 cents, vs. 15 cents from continuing operations, on a 14% revenue rise.

Digene (DIGE ) shares rose after the company announced that Cigna Healthcare has updated a cervical cancer screening tool to include human papillomavirus testing in combination with a Pap test. ST Robinson Humphrey upgraded Dignene shares to equal-weight.

Pepsi (PEP ) affirmed the 2003 forecast for $2.19 earnings per share, including merger costs of about 2 cents. Cash from operations is anticipated to be $3 billion. The soft-drink manufacturer confirmed plans to buy back between $1.5 billion to $2 billion worth of stock by the end of the year.

Watson Pharmaceuticals (WPI ) posted 47 cents, vs. 38 cents third-quarter earnings per share on a 17% revenue rise -- two cents ahead of analysts' average expectations. Watson sees $1.82 to $1.85 2003 earnings per share.

National Semiconductor (NSM ) raised the second-quarter revenue outlook to 7% to 10% sequential growth due to continuing strong order rates across a number of product lines, especially in power management and wireless chips.

American Eagle Outfitters (AEOS ) posted 19% lower October same-store sales, and 8.3% lower total sales. The retailer sees 22 cents to 24 cents third-quarter earnings per share before a charge.

Genentech (DNA ) cited positive results from an article containing Phase III data on Rituxan, which shows patients who received Rituxan plus CHOP chemotherapy demonstrated a statistically significant prolongation in time to treatment.

Prudential Financial (PRU ) posted $307 million vs. $302 million third-quarter consolidated net income on a 1.6% revenue rise. Prudential posted 46 cents vs. 70 cents third-quarter earnings per share from financial services.

Northrop Grumman (NOC ) won a Pentagon contract to develop tools and technologies that will allow the military to predict the short-term structural health and readiness of its aircraft. The initial contract is worth $14.1 million, but the value could rise to $32 million.

Newmont Mining (NEM ) plans to offer 20 million shares.

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