Apple Tops Estimates

Google rises; Accenture slips; plus more of Wednesday's stocks in the news

After the close of trading Wednesday, Apple Computer (AAPL ) posted 26 cents, vs. 12 cents earnings per share in the fourth quarter, beating analysts' average estimates of 18 cents. Revenues grew to $2.35 billion. The computer maker says it shipped two million iPods in the fourth quarter.

Soleil Securities upgraded Google (GOOG ) to hold from sell. WR Hambrecht raised its estimates and target.

Accenture (ACN ) posted 30 cents, vs. 25 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share on a 9.9% revenue rise. The consulting company sees $3.5 billion to $3.7 billion first-quarter net revenues and 28 cents to 31 cents GAAP earnings per share. The company expects 9% to 12% fiscal 2005 net revenue growth and $1.34 to $1.39 earnings per share. It set an additional $3 billion stock buyback. Deutsche Bank downgraded to hold from buy. S&P keeps hold.

Merriman Curhan upgraded Ask Jeeves (ASKJ ) to buy from neutral.

Jones Apparel (JNY ) cut the earnings per share guidance to 75 cents to 77 cents for the third quarter, to 40 cents to 45 cents for the fourth quarter, and to $2.49 to $2.56 for 2004. The apparel maker says sales were impacted by recent hurricanes, soft consumer confidence, and weak employment indicators. It sees $3.00 to $3.10 fiscal 2005 earnings per share.

Yahoo! (YHOO ) posted 17 cents, vs. 5 cents third-quarter earnings per share (GAAP) on sharply higher revenue. Goldman raised estimates and reiterated outperform.

McDonald's (MCD ) posted 12% higher September systemwide sales and 10% higher third-quarter systemwide sales. On a preliminary basis, the fast-food chain posted 61 cents third-quarter earnings per share, including a 7-cent benefit from a lower tax rate. Analysts were expecting, on average, 49 cents earnings per share.

Intel (INTC ) posted 30 cents, vs. 25 cents third-quarter earnings per share on 8.1% higher revenues. The chip giant sees $8.6 billion to $9.2 billion fourth-quarter revenues. S&P reiterates hold. Banc of America maintains buy, saying the downside is limited.

WebMethods (WEBM ) raised the $43 million to $50 million second-quarter revenue guidance to $50 million to $51 million. The software company expects breakeven to 2 cents second-quarter earnings per share (pro forma), vs. the previous guidance of a 2-cent to 13-cent loss.

Harley-Davidson (HDI ) posted 77 cents, vs. 62 cents third-quarter earnings per share on 15% higher revenues.

Travel and real estate giant Cendant (CD ) plans to spin-off mortgage and fleet-management unit PHH Corp. to Cendant shareholders.

Borders (BGP ) sees a 1-cent to 3-cent third-quarter loss. The book retailer says quarter-to-date through Oct. 10, same-store sales at Borders have declined 1.9% and declined 4.5% at Waldenbooks. The company sees $1.55 to $1.62 fourth-quarter earnings per share on a flat-to-low single-digit decline in same-store sales.