Sun Beats Expectations

Apple Computer soars; Alcon tumbles; plus more of Thursday's stocks in the news

Sun Microsystems (SUNW ) posted a first-quarter loss per share of 5 cents, vs a 9-cent loss. Excluding charges, the server and software giant posted breakeven on a per share basis, beating analysts' average estimates. Revenue was $2.63 billion, slightly less than expectations.

Apple Computer (AAPL ) posted 26 cents, vs. 12 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share on a 37% revenue rise. The computer maker sees $2.8 billion to $2.9 billion in first-quarter revenues, and 39 cents to 42 cents earnings per share. S&P reiterates hold. JP Morgan upgraded to overweight from neutral.

Alcon (ACL ) says anecortave acetate did not meet the primary non-inferiority endpoint of clinical study vs. Visudyne photodynamic therapy in the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration. Wachovia cut its value range.

SanDisk (SNDK ) posted lower-than-expected 29 cents, vs. 9 cents third-quarter earnings per share on a 45% revenue rise. It says industry-wide supply of NAND flash memory increased at faster rate than the increase in demand during summer months. S&P keeps hold.

Novellus Systems (NVLS ) posted 38 cents, vs. 4 cents third-quarter earnings per share from operations on 88% higher revenues. The chip-maker saw significant weakening in its bookings outlook in September. S&P downgraded and Banc of America cut its estimates.

Renovis (RNVS ) says its licensee, AstraZeneca, will continue Phase III tests of its stroke drug Cerovive as planned, following an interim analysis of Cerovive's effectiveness and safety. Piper Jaffray and CICB World say the news is positive.

Linens'n Things (LIN ) cut the 44 cents to 50 cents third-quarter earnings per share guidance to 37 cents to 38 cents, including an accounting charge. The home-goods retailer sees flat same-store sales. It cited a decline in guest traffic, as well as hurricanes that negatively impacted stores in the Southeast. Bear Stearns downgraded to underperform.

General Motors (GM ) posted lower-than-expected 78 cents, vs. 79 cents third-quarter earnings per share. The auto maker revised the 2004 earnings per share outlook to $6.00 to $6.50, excluding a one-time charge. GM Europe will reduce its annual structural costs by about 500 million euros ($600 million) by 2006 and cut its workforce by up to 12,000.

Citigroup (C ) posted $1.02, vs. 90 cents third-quarter earnings per share on a 5.8% revenue rise.

Nokia (NOK ) posted 14 euro cents (US$0.17) vs. 17 euro cents third-quarter earnings per share as higher R&D impairments and pricing actions offset a 1% sales rise.

Bank of America (BAC ) posted 91 cents, vs. 96 cents third-quarter earnings per share as the merger with Fleet Financial, restructuring charges, and other items offset a 45% rise in net-interest income.

Cypress Semiconductor (CY ) posted 2 cents, vs. 12 cents third-quarter earnings per share (GAAP) as higher costs offset a 1% revenue rise. The chip maker posted 22 cents (including an 18-cent gain) vs. 8 cents third-quarter earnings per share (pro forma). It says it's disappointed with the results and cited an over-inventory situation.

Abbott Laboratories (ABT ) posted 51 cents, vs. 48 cents third-quarter earnings per share on 10% sales rise. It sees 66 cents to 68 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations.

Dow Jones (DJ ) posted 15 cents, vs. 14 cents third-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations on a 5% revenue rise. The publishing giant says results were negatively affected by very weak technology advertising, which led to a 6% decline in ad linage at The Wall Street Journal in the quarter.

Supervalu (SVU ) posted 57 cents, vs. 46 cents second-quarter earnings per share on 0.9% rise in adjusted same-store sales and 2.3% total sales drop. The grocery chain sees $2.80 to $2.90 fiscal 2005 earnings per share.

Southwest Airlines (LUV ) posted 15 cents, vs. 13 cents third-quarter earnings per share on a 7.8% revenue rise.

Chip-equipment maker Lam Research (LRCX ) posted 64 cents, vs. 4 cents first-quarter earnings per share on 27% higher revenues. It set a $250 million stock buyback. S&P reiterates accumulate.