Jo-Ann Stores Skids

Lincare Holdings falls; Symantec drops; plus more of today's stocks in the news

Jo-Ann Stores (JAS ) posted 54 cents, vs. 40 cents third-quarter earnings per share on a 4% net sales rise. Jo-Ann sees $1.05 to $1.15 fourth-quarter earnings per share, and cut the fiscal 2004 earnings per share guidance by 30 cents, to $1.70 to $1.80 (including charges). The arts-and-crafts retailer sees $1.95 to $2.10 fiscal 2005 earnings per share. Wachovia downgraded.

Wachovia says Medicare cuts could reduce Lincare Holdings (LNCR ) earnings per share in 2004.

S&P believes Symantec (SYMC ) is lower on news that Computer Associates (CA ) will offer a free one-year subscription to its eTrust anti-virus software for Windows users. S&P reiterates accumulate.

Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS ) posted 18 cents, vs. 14 cents third-quarter earnings per share on a 2.5% same-store sales rise, and a 16% total sales rise. Dick's sees 91 cents to 92 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share, and raised the $1.95 fiscal 2004 earnings per share guidance to $1.99 to $2.00 on a 1% to 2% same-store sales rise.

Innovative Solutions (ISSC ) posted 23 cents, vs. 12 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share on a 40% revenue rise.

Deutsche Bank downgraded MedImmune (MEDI ) to sell from hold.

J.P. Morgan views October industry software and hardware data as somewhat discouraging. The broker remains concerned that industry growth likely to continue to decelerate, but still likes Take-Two Interactive (TTWO ).

Agilent Technologies (A ) posted 3 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share, vs. a 51 cents loss (GAAP) despite a 4% net revenue drop. Agilent sees 5 cents to 15 cents first-quarter earnings per share (excluding restructuring and amortization charges). S&P reiterates hold. Banc of America raised its targets.

MedImmune (MEDI ) cut the 84 cents to 89 cents 2003 GAAP earnings per share guidance to 68 cents to 76 cents due to lower-than-expected sales of the FluMist flu vaccine. RBC Capital and Deutsche Bank downgraded. S&P reiterates accumulate, but cut the price target.

Wachovia says Medicare reimbursement cuts for Lincare Holdings (LNCR ) could be worse-than-expected in 2004.

ThinkEquity reportedly upgraded Career Education (CECO ) to strong buy from verweight. S&P reinstated coverage with buy. Yesterday the education company said its Gibbs College/Montclair campus was in receipt of a wrongful-termination suit.

Home Depot (HD ) posted third-quarter net earnings that topped the average analyst estimate by 4 cents a share. Sales rose 14.7% to $16.6 billion. The home-improvement retailer raised its target for earnings per share growth this year to a 15% to 17% improvement over 2002, but reiterated its sales growth guidance of 9% to 12%.

Merrill Lynch upgraded General Electric (GE ) to buy from neutral. Merrill sees the resumption of double-digit earnings growth after four years of relatively flat profits.

Office-supply retailer Staples (SPLS ) posted 33 cents, vs. 27 cents third-quarter earnings per share on 4% higher North American retail same-store sales, and a 13% total sales rise. The results beat analysts' average estimates by a penny per share. Staples says it's comfortable with the 41 cents fourth-quarter consensus estimate. It sees low double-digit fiscal 2005 sales growth, and 20% earnings per share growth.

Cigna (CI ) will sell its retirement business to Prudential Financial (PRU ) for $2.1 billion in cash.

Thomas Weisel upgraded Sycamore Networks (SCMR ) to outperform from underperform on an improving end-market and competitive position.

Saks (SKS ) posted 9 cents, vs. 1 cent third-quarter earnings per share on a 3.1% same-store sales rise, and a 4.3% total sales rise.

Cendant (CD ) sees 2004 revenue increasing by 5% to 8% over 2003 to $18.9 billion to $19.4 billion, and sees earnings per share from continuing operations increasing 10% to 15% to $1.55 to $1.62.

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