Alpharma Shares Lower

Gateway to slash jobs in restructuring; Wal-Mart hikes dividend; plus more of today's stocks in the news

Biogen Idec (BIIB ) posted a fourth quarter loss of $4.03 per share, vs. earnings per share of 26 cents (GAAP basis one year earlier, despite sharply higher revenues. The biotech company cited the writeoff of acquired in-process R&D related to its merger with Idec. It reaffirmed its long-term goal of achieving a 15% compounded annual growth rate. It also set a 12 million share buyback program.

Gateway (GTW ) CFO Rod Sherwood said at the Morgan Stanley Semiconductor & Systems Conference on Mar. 2 that the company's employee levels are at about 7,400, and will fall to the mid-5,000 range over the next few months as part of an ongoing restructuring.

Alpharma (ALO ) shares were lower after the company posted fourth quarter earnings per share of 24 cents, vs. a $1.40 loss one year earlier, on a 1.9% revenue rise. The company sees breakeven first quarter results from continuing operations, with full-year 2004 earnings per share of 80 cents to 90 cents. The company's guidance came in below some Wall Street estimates.

Pall Corp. (PALL ) posted second quarter earnings per share of 20 cents, vs. 25 cents one year ago, as higher selling, general and administrative costs offset a 10% sales rise.

Seagate Technology (STX ) says better inventory management and firming pricing, offset by smaller than expected total available enterprise and mobile markets, results in its current third quarter earnings per share outlook at the low end of its previously stated range of 20 cents to 30 cents.

Genesco (GCO ) posted fourth quarter earnings per share (GAAP) of 77 cents, vs. 55 cents one year earlier, on a 1.2% sales rise. Genesco increased its fiscal 2005 EPS estimate from $1.36-$1.41 to $1.37-$1.44, including about 9 cents in charges tied to the planned closing of the Jarman chain and other underperforming stores.

Correction: Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores (WMT ) raised its annual dividend 44% to 52 cents. Earlier, it was incorrectly reported as a quarterly dividend increase.

Verizon Communications (VZ ) was among the Baby Bells expected to benefit from an Appeals Court rules against FCC regulations that require regional phone companies to lease networks to rivals at reasonable rates. Toys R Us (TOY ) posted fourth quarter earnings per share of 67 cents, vs. $1.30 one year earlier, as costs to close certain stores offset 1.4% higher total sales. Office Depot (ODP ) will acquire 124 former Kids R Us stores for $197 million in cash and assumption of lease payments, other obligations.

AnnTaylor Stores (ANN ) says Barry Erdos resigned as chief operating officer and a member of board. The company does not plan to name a new COO. Prudential downgraded the shares to neutral from overweight. On a preliminary basis, Wendy's Intl. (WEN ) posted 9.9% higher same-store sales at Wendy's U.S. company-owned restaurants and a 7.6% to 7.8% increase at franchised restaurants. Prudential raised its estimate.

Costco Wholesale (COST ) posted second quarter earnings per share of 48 cents, vs. 39 cents one year ago, on an 11% same-store sales rise and a 14% net sales rise (including favorable foreign exchange effects).

Ligand Pharmaceuticals (LGND ) posted fourth quarter earnings per share of 8 cents, vs. a 9-cent loss one year ago, on a sharp rise in total revenues. Ligand sees basic earnings per share of 12 cents to 19 cents in 2004. It signed a five-year deal with Cardinal Health (CAH ) for the manufacturing and packaging of Ligand's Avinza that will double production capacity. Contract terms were undisclosed.

Italian authorities advised Bank Of America (BAC ) that activities of the company and certain former or current employees in Milan are being investigated in connection with the collapse of Parmalat Finanziera SpA.

AutoZone (AZO ) posted second quarter earnings per share (GAAP) of $1.04, vs. 79 cents one year earlier, on flat same-store sales growth and a 3.4% net sales rise.

SCO Group (SCOX ) posted a first quarter loss of 16 cents per share, vs. a 6-cent loss one year ago, on a 16% total revenue decline. SCO sees $10 million to $14 million in second quarter total revenues.

Xilinx (XLNX ) sees fourth quarter revenue up 9% to 10% sequentially, with its gross margin target unchanged at about 63%. Xilinx says demand for its Spartan-3 FPGAs continues to be strong. S&P reiterated its buy recommendation.

Biovail (BVF ) posted a fourth quarter loss of 60 cents per share, vs. a 65-cent loss one year ago, despite a 16% revenue decline. Biovail lowered its total 2004 revenue guidance to $800 million to $940 million, and cut its $2.00 to $2.20 earnings per share guidance to $1.35 to $1.70.

Foot Locker (FL ) posted fourth quarter earnings per share from continuing operations of 47 cents, vs. 33 cents one year earlier, on a 3.9% same-store sales rise and a 9.9% total sales rise. The company sees a mid- to high single digit total sales increase for fiscal 2005 and 10% to 20% earnings per share growth. S&P keeps its accumulate opinion.

Burlington Resources (BR ) affirmed its 2004 expectations to reach the upper end of its long-term average annual volume growth target of 3% to 8% and achieve cumulative production growth of 20% from now through 2006.

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.