Yahoo! Climbs on Upgrades

FedEx gains on higher profit, Fisher Scientific agrees to acquire Apogent; plus more of today's stocks in the news

Citigroup upgraded Yahoo! (YHOO ) to buy from hold and set a $60 price target on the stock. First Albany also upgraded the stock to buy from neutral.

Pentair (PNR ) says it sees first-quarter EPS of 70 cents to 75 cents, vs. the 65 cents consensus. It says the change in guidance is expected to translate to 2004 EPS of $3.25 to $3.35, vs. its previous estimate of $3.15 to $3.30.

Carreker (CANI ) posted fourth quarter earnings per share of 5 cents, vs. a $2.22 loss one year earlier, on a 16% rev. rise. The company expects a revenue shortfall in its global payment technologies and consulting segments to continue into the first half of 2004 due to the impact of bank consolidations and a changing marketplace.

Chico's FAS (CANI )shares were lower after Jefferies downgraded the stock to hold from buy on valuation. The company was not aware of any news event to account for the price decline, but noted the analyst comments.

Morgan Stanley upgraded Huaneng Power International (HNP ) to overweight from equal-weight. Yesterday, the company posted 39% higher 2003 net profit on a 27% revenue rise.

Kaufman Brothers upgraded Earthlink (ELNK ) to hold from sell on valuation.

FedEx (FDX ) posted third-quarter earnings per share of 71 cents (excluding items), vs. 49 cents, on a 9.2% revenue rise. The package-delivery outfit sees earnings per share from continuing operations of $1.15 to $1.25 for the fourth quarter and $3.35 to $3.45 for all of fiscal 2004. FedEx sees $1.4 billion in fiscal 2004 capital expenditures, $200 million below its previous forecast. S&P reiterates a buy ranking on the shares.

Central Freight (CENF ) says as a result of accelerated expansion into the Pacific Northwest, it expects first-quarter EPS to be substantially lower than its previous 12 cents to 16 cents guidance. BB&T Capital downgrades to hold from buy.

First Albany upgraded Big 5 Sporting Goods (BGFV ) to strong buy from buy. It cites the company's strong operating momentum, increased flexibility, and compelling valuation. Yesterday, the company said it would redeem $15 million in senior debt.

Oceaneering International (OII ) shares fell after it terminated an agreement to acquire Subsea 7's remotely operated vehicle drill rig operations because closing conditions weren't met, and cut its earnings outlook. Baird downgraded the stock to neutral.

Apogent Technologies (AOT ) agrees to be acquired by Fisher Scientific International (FSH ) in a deal valued at about $3.7 billion. Terms: AOT holders to get 0.56 shares of FSH, valuing AOT share at $29.30 based on yesterday's close.

Vivendi Universal (V ) posts 0.60 euros fourth-quarter loss, vs. 8.98 euros loss a year ago, despite a 55% revenue drop. It sees very strong growth in 2004 adjusted net income and net debt below 5 billion euros. It says it is in position to pay a dividend to shareholders in 2005.

First Albany upgraded Linear Technology (LLTC ) to strong buy from buy. First Albany sees upside potential to the company's near term estimates.

E*Ttade Financial (ET ) says through February, first-quarter Retail DARTs, Professional DARTs and Total DARTs were trending ahead of fourth-quarter levels. If trends continue, it says it is positioned to deliver results beyond the high end of 70 cents to 85 cents 2004 EPS guidance.

Scholastic (SCHL ) posted a 15-cent third-quarter loss per share, vs. a 1-cent loss a year earlier, despite a 9% revenue rise. The company cited greater than anticipated challenges in its Direct-to-Home Continuity and Trade businesses. It expects fiscal 2004 earnings per share to fall below $1.95.

Stanley Works (SWK ) raised its first-quarter earnings per share guidance from a range of 49 cents to 51 cents to a range of 63 cents to 67 cents. It says if current sales trends continue, actual results could potentially exceed the revised guidance.

Biomet (BMET ) posted third-quarter earnings per share of 34 cents, vs. 28 cents one year earlier, on a 16% sales rise. The company says it is comfortable with analysts' estimates for $420 million to $438 million in fourth-quarter sales, and earnings per share of 34 cents to 36 cents.

Lennar (LEN ) posted first-quarter earnings per share of 84 cents, vs. 68 cents, on a 16% revenue rise. The company raised its fiscal 2004 earnings per share estimate to $5.30 from $5.25.

KB Home (KBH ) posted first-quarter earnings per share of $1.75, vs. $1.25, on a 24% revenue rise.

Brookstone (BKST ) posted fourth-quarter earnings per share of $2.33, vs. $2.12, on 12% same-store sales, and an 18% total sales rise. It sees a first-quarter loss of 40 to 45 cents per share on a high single-digit same-store sales increase, and fiscal 2005 earnings per share of $1.53 to $1.58.

Following CareMark Rx's (CMX ) planned acquisition of AdvancePCS, the company will be added to the S&P 500 index after the close of business on a date to be announced. CareMark will replace Tupperware, which will be added to the S&P MidCap 400, replacing ADVP.

Goodyear Tire (GT ) does not expect to file its 2003 Form 10-K with the SEC by Mar. 30 due to an ongoing investigation of overseas accounting problems. According to a New York Post article, Time Warner (TWX ) is considering strategic alternatives for its American Online division, including a possible sale, spinoff, or a significant restructuring of the business.

Worldquest Network (WQNI ) agreed to merge with Ntera Holdings Inc., a privately held provider of VoIP services. Worldsquest holders will own 20% of the common stock of the combined company.

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