PetroChina Warms to China's Economic Boom

Ciphergen Biosystems soars; Linens 'n Things slips; plus more of today's stocks in the news

Chinese stocks continue their upward climb, in light of China's economic growth and infrastructure spending. Among the biggest beneficiaries are oil stocks, including PetroChina (PTR ), and basic materials stocks, including Sinopec Beijing Yan (BYH ).

Ciphergen Biosystems (CIPH ) cut the $19 million fourth-quarter revenue guidance to $15 million to $15.5 million. The company says new ProteinChip System placements in the U.S. were short of expectations due to increased indirect competition and more direct competition.

Lehman Brothers cut its estimates on Linens 'n Things (LIN ), saying the home-goods retailer's margins have been impacted by greater promotional activity.

NetFlix (NFLX ), a rental-video subscription company, says it ended the fourth quarter with about 1.48 million total subscribers. The fourth-quarter subscriber growth was 74% year over year, and 15% sequentially.

Jefferies downgraded pharmaceutical-services company McKesson (MCK ) to hold from buy. Bear Stearns downgraded to peer perform from outperform. On Wednesday the company announced the award of a two-year contract from the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is valued at $2.9 billion a year. Bear Stearns says the contract was awarded to McKesson partly because of the company's aggressive pricing. The previous contractor, AmerisourceBergen (ABC ), said the contract loss would likely result in lower fiscal 2004 results. Bear Stearns downgraded the shares to peer perform from outperform. Baird and Raymond James reportedly also downgraded the stock.

Despite competition, some of the U.S.'s biggest phone companies have quietly raised long-distance rates and fees in recent months. The biggest new increase coming is from No. 1 long-distance carrier AT&T (T ), according to USA Today .

Goldman downgraded Kinder Morgan (KMP ) to in-line from outperform.

Piper Jaffray raised Computer Associates ' (CA ) $28 target to $31, and thinks December-quarter revenues will beat the company's guidance.

British Airways (BAB ) cancelled its afternoon flight to Washington, D.C., on a terror threat for the second day in a row. On Wednesday, fighter jets escorted a a BA flight from London to Washington.

Citigroup (C ) and HSBC (HBC ) received approval to issue credit cards in China.

Software-maker Micromuse (MUSEE ) asked the Nasdaq for a hearing in an effort to stop the stock exchange from delisting its shares, after Micromuse failed to file its annual report with the Securities & Exchange Commission by the deadline.

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