Rambus Jumps

ITT Educational sinks; Jones New York will buy Maxwell Shoe; plus more of today's stocks in the news

Chipmaker Rambus (RMBS ) is seen higher on a report that an administrative law judge, who last week dismissed a government antitrust suit against Rambus, sided with the company on almost every point.

ITT Educational (ESI ) shares fell on reports that federal agents have served the company with a search warrant at its Indiana headquarters.

Apparel company Jones New York (JNY ) proposed to acquire footwear maker Maxwell Shoe (MAXS ) for $20 per share in an all-cash deal valued at about $300 million. Maxwell Shoe shares rose.

Debt-rating agency Moody's placed communications systems maker Avaya 's (AV ) long-term ratings under review for a possible upgrade following the issuance of $251 million of stock. The proceeds will be used for the redemption of 35% of its $665 million outstanding book value of senior secured notes.

United Rentals (URI ) posted 15 cents, vs. 9 cents fourth-quarter adjusted earnings per share on a 6.9% revenue rise. The company sees $1.00 to $1.10 2004 earnings per share (excluding charges). S&P maintains accumulate.

Tiffany & Co. (TIF ) posted 74 cents, vs. 60 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share on 10% higher same-store sales. The luxury jeweler maintains the fiscal 2005 guidance of 11% to 13% growth in net sales, and 12% to 15% growth in net earnings. S&P reiterates hold.

Ingram Micro (IM ) reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit. It posted 30 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share (GAAP), vs. a 7 cents loss on 15% higher worldwide sales. The world's largest distributor of computer products sees 23 cents to 25 cents first-quarter earnings per share on $6.1 billion to $6.3 billion in sales, which reflects a seasonal sequential decline from a particularly strong fourth quarter. S&P reiterates hold.

Weight Watchers (WTW ) posted 35 cents, vs. 26 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share on a 14% net revenue rise. The diet-planning company says it's confident it will continue to deliver on its track record of superior performance. Weight Watchers expects $1.90 to $2.00 earnings per share in 2004.

Liquor distributor Constellation Brands (STZ ) sees $2.00 to $2.03 fiscal 2004 earnings per share on 29% sales growth, and $2.43 to $2.53 fiscal 2005 (both including charges).

SemTech (SMTC ) posted 16 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share, vs. breakeven on a 25% sales rise. SemTech sees 17 cents to 18 cents first-quarter earnings per share on 7% to 10% higher sequential sales.

Express Scripts (ESRX ) posted 86 cents, vs. 72 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share on a 4% revenue rise. It expects 87 cents to 89 cents first-quarter earnings per share, and the remaining quarters are expected to accelerate to achieve 20% to 25% growth for the year. Wachovia upgraded to outperform.

Dollar Tree (DLTR ) posted 69 cents, vs. 54 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share on a 15% net sales rise. The discount retailer sees first-quarter same-store sales growth of slightly positive to 3%. S&P reiterates hold. Wedbush Morgan cut its estimates.

Pizza chain Papa John's (PZZA ) posted 46 cents, vs. 59 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share on a 1.2% revenue rise, and reaffirmed the $2.20 to $2.28 2004 earnings per share (excluding items).

Tax-refund preparer H&R Block (HRB ) posted 59 cents, vs. 73 cents third-quarter earnings per share despite a 2% revenue rise.

Big Lots (BLI ) posted 80 cents, vs. 57 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations on a 4.7% same-store sales rise, and a 9.2% net sales rise. Big Lots sees 3 cents to 7 cents first-quarter earnings per share on a mid-single digit same-store sales rise. It sees a mid-single digit February same-store sales rise.

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