Ford Boosts Profit Outlook

Cooper Tire to sell automotive unit; 3Com loss narrows; plus more of Friday's stocks in the news

Ford Motor (F ) raised the third-quarter earnings per share guidance from a range of breakeven to 5 cents, to a range of 10 cents to 15 cents, excluding items. As a result, Ford now sees $1.90 to $2.00 2004 earnings per share. It cited strong performance in the auto sector.

Cooper Tire (CTB ) agreed to sell its automotive business, Cooper-Standard Automotive, to an entity formed by The Cypress Group and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, for about $1.165 billion in cash, subject to post-closing adjustments.

3Com (COMS ) posted a 9-cent first-quarter loss (GAAP), vs. a 29-cent loss on flat revenue. It expects second-quarter revenues of $170 million to $180 million and about 38% gross margin. 3Com is no longer targeting enterprise revenue of $800 million to $850 million in fiscal 2005. S&P reiterates hold.

Circuit City (CC ) posted a 6-cent second-quarter loss, vs. a 19-cent loss from continuing operations on an 8.8% revenue rise.

Legg Mason downgraded EBay (EBAY ) to hold from buy.

Tektronix (TEK ) posted 43 cents, vs. 13 cents first-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations on a 24% net sales rise. It expects $235 million to $245 million in second-quarter net sales, and 30 cents to 35 cents earnings per share (excluding a business realignment and one-time items). S&P reiterates hold. Needham keeps buy.

Cintas (CTAS ) posted 42 cents, vs. 37 cents first-quarter earnings per share on a 10% revenue rise. It reiterated the $3.0 billion to $3.2 billion fiscal 2005 revenue and $1.70 to $1.80 earnings per share guidance. S&P reiterates accumulate.

Citigroup (C ) The Financial Services Agency of Japan determined that there were fundamental problems in Citibank Japan's internal controls and governance structure. Citigroup's Private Bank unit will be required to discontinue all banking operations by Sept. 30.

Texas Instruments (TXN ) set a $1 billion stock buyback. The chipmaker plans to increase its quarterly dividend by more than 17%. S&P says the news is positive, but keeps the hold ranking.

Scientific-Atlanta (SFA ) says a Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued an opinion that the company infringed on a Gemstar-TV Guide patent, which is related to interactive program guides in digital cable set-top boxes.

Eli Lilly (LLY ) and Boehringer Ingelheim say a Committee for Medicinal Products in Human Use of the European Medicines Agency issued a positive opinion recommending approval of duloxetine for the treatment of major depressive episodes.

Biomet (BMET ) posted 27 cents, vs. 30 cents first-quarter earnings per share as higher costs and expenses offset an 18% revenue rise. Biomet says it remains comfortable with $433 million to $467 million in second-quarter revenue, and 37 cents to 39 cents earnings per share estimates.

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