Dell Meets Estimates

Coca-Cola declines; Blockbuster and Hollywood Entertainment rise on possible merger; plus more of Thursday's stocks in the news

Dell (DELL ) posted third-quarter earnings per share of 33 cents, vs. 26 cents a year ago, meeting analysts' consensus estimate. The company set fourth-quarter earnings-per-share at 36 cents and $13.5 billion in revenue.

Coca-Cola (KO ) says it will increase investment in marketing and innovation by $350 million to $400 million annually, and set a 3% to 4% annual volume growth target. The company maintained 2004 earnings-per-share guidance, and expects weak results in certain key markets to persist into 2005.

PeopleSoft (PSFT ) voted unanimously to recommend stockholders reject Oracle's (ORCL ) amended unsolicited offer of $24 per share. The company sees $1.05 to $1.10 2005 earnings per share on license revenue of $640 million to $655 million, and total revenue of $2.8 billion to $2.9 billion.

Blockbuster (BBI ) confirmed it has expressed interest in acquiring Hollywood Entertainment (HLYW ) for about $1 billion, including Hollywood Entertainment's debt. The deal would price Hollywood Entertainment shares at $11.50 per share in cash.

Starbucks (SBUX ) posted 25 cents, vs. 17 cents a year ago, fourth-quarter earnings per share on a 34% rise in consolidated net revenues. The company sees $1.12 to $1.15 fiscal 2005 earnings per share, slightly lower than current consensus.

Jones Apparel Group (JNY ) agreed to acquire Barneys New York in a deal valued at about $400 million.

Tiffany & Co. (TIF ) posted 14 cents, vs. 19 cents, third-quarter earnings per share, as weaker-than-expected sales in Japan, direct marketing channel, and higher precious metal and diamond costs offset a 7.2% total sales rise. The company cut its $1.55 to $1.60 fiscal 2005 earnings-per-share forecast to $1.43 to $1.48.

Nortel Networks (NT ) delayed filing of final statements and related period reports to permit resolution of focused revenue reporting issues and remaining accounting matters. The company expects 2004 revenue growth to be in the low single digits.

Whole Foods Markets (WFMI ) posted 46 cents, vs. 38 cents, fourth-quarter earnings per share on a 24% sales rise. S&P reiterated its hold ranking.

Chipmos Technologies (IMOS ) posted 17 cents, vs. 9 cents, third-quarter earnings per share on a 61% revenue rise. It says demand in driver IC business was slightly lower in the third quarter, vs. the second quarter.

Rayovac (ROV ) posted 52 cents, vs. 39 cents, fourth-quarter earnings per share on a 50% sales rise.

AnnTaylor (ANN ) posted 20 cents, vs. 42 cents, third-quarter earnings per share as narrowed gross margin offset 1.4% higher same-store sales, and 16% higher total sales. The clothing retailer expects 28 cents to 32 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share on same-store sales in the low-single-digit positive range.

Pep Boys (PBY ) posted 14 cents, vs. 24 cents, third-quarter earnings per share from continuting operations, despite 4.1% higher third-quarter same-store sales and 4% higher total sales.

GenCorp (GY ) rose after Steel Partners II, L.P. offered to acquire for cash all shares of GenCorp for $17 per share, subject to certain conditions.

Rogers Wireless (RCN ) rose after Rogers Communications (RG ) says it is proposing to launch an exchange offer for all outstanding Class B RCN shares owned by the public. The terms of the offer would give 1.75 Rogers Communications shares for each Rogers Wireless share held.

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