United Natural Foods Rises
United Natural Foods (UNFI ) posted 23 cents, vs. 12 cents (including items) fourth-quarter earnings per share on a 22% sales rise. The grocery chain reaffirmed the 93 cents to 97 cents fiscal 2005 earnings per share (excluding items) and still sees $1.9 billion to $2 billion in revenue. S&P upgraded to accumulate from hold.
Washington Redskins owner Daniel Synder has been acquiring stock in Six Flags (PKS ), and he may try to take a controlling stake, according to The Wall Street Journal . S&P maintains avoid.
Banc of America keeps the neutral rating on Red Hat (RHAT ), saying earnings will likely be in line, but that a new chief financial officer is needed to lift valuation.
Swiss banking giant UBS says it will acquire Charles Schwab's (SCH ) brokerage unit, SoundView Capital Markets, as well as the Capital Markets Division of Schwab for $265 million in cash. The acquisition will be integrated in the equities business of UBS's investment bank.
Albertsons (ABS ) posted 34 cents, vs. 44 cents second-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations on slightly lower same-store sales. The grocery chain posted a 13% total sales rise, and reaffirmed the fiscal 2005 earnings per share from continuing operations guidance of $1.40 to $1.50.
Merck (MRK ) was hit by a disappointing study of its cholesterol drug Zocor. The study found that large doses of the drug for patients at a high risk of heart attack didn't yield better results than a placebo or a less-aggressive Zocor treatment, according to The Wall Street Journal .
Piper Jaffray downgraded Guidant (GDT ) to market perform from outperform.
Bear Stearns downgraded America West (AWA ) to underperform from peer perform.
QLT (QLTI ) reiterated its confidence in Visudyne's potential in the treatment of age-related macular degeneration. QLT also reiterated the 2004 guidance for Visudyne sales of $430 million to $455 million.
Sabre Holdings (TSG ) says its Travelocity unit acquired Las Vegas-based All State Tours for $25 million in cash. As part of the purchase, Travelocity acquired the All State Ticketing brand and Web site, www.ShowTickets.com.
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