Juniper Beats the Street

Abbott Labs gives a disappointing forecast; Sun Microsystems posts a loss; and more stocks in the news

Juniper Networks (JNPR ) shares were higher Friday after the company reported better-than-expected earnings per share of 4 cents, vs. 2 cents a year ago (GAAP), on 33% revenue rise. It also raised its guidance.

General Electric (GE ) reported fourth-quarter earnings per share of 45 cents, in line with the forecast and up from 31 cents a year ago, on a 4% total revenue rise. The conglomerate sees double-digit 2004 EPS growth in 9 of its 11 businesses.

Sun Microsystems (SUNW ) posted a fiscal second-quarter operating loss of 3 cents per share, vs. breakeven a year ago, on a slight revenue decline.

Bear Stearns initiated Chicago Merc (CME ) with an 'outperform' rating. The shares were sharply higher Friday.

Corning (GLW ) shares advanced after S&P Ratings Services raised the outlook on the company's 'BB+' debt rating to stable from negative, reflecting Corning's ongoing progress toward sustainable profitability and cash generation.

Adecco (ADO ) shares dropped after the company said its CFO Felix Weber and head of its U.S. staffing operations Julio Arrieta will step down amid Adecco's internal probe into accounting flaws and control issues.

Abbott Laboratories (ABT ) was down after giving a forecast for 2004 that was below analysts' projection. The company reported fourth-quarter operating EPS of 65 cents, vs. 55 cents, on 14% higher worldwide sales.

Home Depot (HD ) sees 9% to 12% fiscal year 2004 sales growth, and EPS growth of 10% to 14%, excluding an estimate of impact of EITF 02-16. The home-improvement retailer forecast 3% to 6% higher fiscal 2004 comparable-store sales.

Texas Instruments (TXN ) says CEO Thomas Engibous will transition out of roles of president and CEO over the next four months, but will continue as chairman. Richard Templeton will become president and CEO. S&P views the move positively.

Zimmer Holdings(ZIM ) shares were solidly higher after the company said it sees fourth quarter EPS exceeding the 44 cents consensus estimate by 4 cents or more on better than expected revenues of about $700 million; it sees 2004 EPS exceeding the $1.99 consensus by 5 cents to 8 cents. S&P, Wachovia, and First Albany each raised their estimates on Zimmer.

Merrill Lynch upgraded PMC-Sierra (PMCS ) to 'neutral' from 'sell'.

JP Morgan downgraded Timberland (TBL ) to 'underweight' from 'neutral'.

RBC Capital reportedly upgraded Sanmina-SCI (SANM ) to 'outperform' from 'sector perform'.

JP Morgan upgraded Polo Ralph Lauren (RL ) to 'overweight' from 'underperform', and added the shares to its Focus List.

Goldman reportedly upgraded Sprint PCS (PCS ) to 'in-line' from 'underperform'.

Cree (CREE ) reported second-quarter EPS of 17 cents, vs. 12 cents a year ago, on a 28% revenue rise. It sees 17 cents to 19 cents in third-quarter EPS on $75 million to $76 million in revenue. Morgan Keegan upgrades to outperform from market perform, while SoundView raises estimates.

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