AIG, Other Insurers Rise on Marsh News

Qualcomm shares dip after downgrade; Omnicom net rises; plus more of Tuesday's stocks in the news

American International Group (AIG ) is among a number of insurance stocks seen higher after New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said he would not bring criminal charges against Marsh & McLennan (MMC ). The Marsh board accepted the resignation of Greenberg CEO Jeffrey Greenberg on Monday and named Michael G. Cherkasky as president and CEO and elects him to board of directors. The company is to announce significant reforms in the business model of the Marsh Inc. unit.

Qualcomm (QCOM ) drops after Morgan Stanley downgrades to underweight from equal-weight.

Silicon Laboratories (SLAB ) posted 40 cents, vs. 29 cents third-quarter earnings per share (adjusted) on a 46% revenue rise. The company sees $93 million to $97 million in fourth-quarter revenue. Friedman Billings and Deutsche Bank reportedly downgraded the shares.

Advertising group Omnicom (OMC ) posted 79 cents, vs. 66 cents third-quarter earnings per share on 14% higher revenues. S&P reiterates its accumulate rating.

Shopping.Com (SHOP ) is up after its initial 6.9 million ordinary shares were offered at $18 per share.

Delta Air Lines (DAL ) rose after JP Morgan upgraded its rating to neutral. Yesterday the company entered into a commitment letter with American Express Travel Related Services, a unit of Americna Express, to provide up to $600 million of financing to Delta, subject to certain conditions.

Lilly (LLY ) shares rose after news that the company's investigational compound ruboxistaurin may reduce vision loss from diabetes-induced eye disease, according to new analyses of previously reported data presented.

Flextronics (FLEX ) posted 17 cents, vs. 9 cents second-quarter earnings per share(non-GAAP) on a 18% sales rise. The company sees 18 cents to 21 cents third-quarter earnings per share on sales of $4.1 billion to $4.4 billion, lower than analysts' estimates. CIBC World downgraded the shares to sector perform from outperform.

Lockheed Martin (LMT ) posted 69 cents, vs. 48 cents third-quarter earnings per share on a 4% sales rise. The company sees $2.65 to $2.75 2004 earnings per share and $3.00 to $3.25 earnings per share for 2005.

Halliburton (HAL ) posted 9 cents third-quarter loss, vs. 13 cents earnings per share despite a 15% revenue rise. The company notes the results included a net loss from discontinued operations primarily for a proposed asbestos and silica settlement of $230 million, or 51 cents per share.

DuPont (DD ) posted 33 cents third-quarter earnings per share, vs. a 88-cent loss on a 6.5% sales drop. The company cited higher sales volumes and selling prices and reaffirms its $2.25 to $2.35 2004 earnings-per-share forecast, excluding the impact of special items.

Pulte Homes (PHM ) posted $1.99, vs. $1.28 third-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations on a 24% revenue rise. It still sees $7.40 to $7.70 2004 earnings per share from continuing operations and forecasts $9.00 to $9.50 for 2005.

Fresh Del Monte (FDP ) posted 24 cents, vs. 60 cents third-quarter earnings per share, despite a 8.3% sales rise. The company cites an increase in containerboard, fuel costs, a decline in banana production and a decline in banana pricing in Asia. The company reaffirmed its $2.05 to $2.15 2004 earnings per share guidance.

Electronic Data Systems (EDS ) rescheduled its third-quarter earnings until Nov. 3. The company says the postponement will enable the company and its auditors to complete evaluation of possible impairment of assets related to its Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) account.

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