PeopleSoft Jumps

Alcoa drops on a warning; Visteon slips; plus more of Friday's stocks in the news

A federal judge rejected the government's request to block Oracle's (ORCL ) proposed $7.7 billion bid to acquire PeopleSoft (PSFT ). Morgan Stanley reportedly downgraded PeopleSoft to equal-weight from overweight. Merrill Lynch upgraded to neutral from sell. S&P says the decision removes the hurdle to this potential acquisition, and reiterates the accumulate ranking on Oracle.

Alcoa (AA ) sees 30 cents to 35 cents third-quarter earnings per share from continuing operation, citing a strike at a Quebec smelter, a fire at its KAMA packaging plant, and the costs of closing two plants. Morgan Stanley reportedly downgraded to equal-weight.

Auto-parts maker Visteon (VC ) expects second-half and 2004 financial performance to be significantly below the previous forecast due to the impact of lower-than-anticipated Ford North American volume, and an expected $825 million to $900 million third-quarter charge. CS First Boston cut to underperform.

In a letter to the board, Disney (DIS ) CEO Michael Eisner said he plans to step down when his contract expires on Sept. 30, 2006. The move may be an effort to head off looming battles over his leadership.

At Thursday's Smith Barney technology conference, Electronic Data's (EDS ) CEO said the company is likely to cut up to 20,000 jobs over next two years.

Perry Ellis (PERY ) says in response to recent speculation, it says its does, from time to time, review potential acquisitions. The apparel maker says its approach is designed to enhance value for shareholders.

Ameritrade (AMTD ) reported 113,000 average client trades per day in August, and sees fourth-quarter earnings per share near the lower end of the 10 cents to 22 cents guidance.

Vishay Intertechnology (VSH ) says due to lower demand in all end markets, it doesn't expect to meet third-quarter flat revenue guidance. It expects fourth-quarter results to show sequential improvement in revenues and net earnings. S&P reiterates hold.

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