Intel Beats Consensus Estimates

HP slips on broker downgrade; AMD shares slide on significantly lower operating income; plus more of Tuesday's stocks in the news

Intel (ITC ) posted 33 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share, vs. 33 cents a year ago, beating consensus estimates of 31 cents. The company saw a 9.8% rise in sales to $9.6 billion.

Computer processor maker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD ) expects fourth-quarter sales to be up just slightly from the third-quarter's $1.239 billion. Operating income is expected to be down "significantly" from third-quarter's $68.4 million. The company says prior guidance called for overall sales to increase, driven by strong processor sales. The shares were sharply lower Tuesday.

Morgan Stanley downgrades Hewlett-Packard (HPQ ) to underweight from equal-weight.

Alcoa (AA ) posts 39 cents, vs. 39 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations despite a 12% revenue rise. The world's largest aluminum maker says higher input costs, especially for energy, petroleum-based products, and freight, coupled with the weak dollar, negatively affected several businesses.

European chipmaker STMicroelectronics (STM ) sees fourth-quarter gross margin of about 36.6%, vs. a previous expected range of 38 to 39%. The company cites foreign exchange, continued pricing pressure, and lower-than-expected manufacturing utilization and performances at certain factories.

Nokia's (NOK ) Multimedia Business Group will streamline its global R&D activities. The company notes its earlier set a target to bring the overall company research and development expenditure down to 9% to 10% of net sales by the end of 2006.

Genentech (DNA ) posts 21 cents, vs. 14 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share (non-GAAP) on 41% higher operating revenue and 47% higher product sales. Earnings per share are a penny below First Call.

Taser International (TASR ) says during the first-half of 2005, it is possible the company may see some delays in orders as agencies test and evaluate potential new entrants.

Unisys (UIS ) sees a 7-cent to 10-cent fourth-quarter loss, vs. its 27 cents to 31 cents earnings per share guidance. The company cites a pretax and non-cash impairment charge of $120 million or 25 cents/share and an 8-cent shortfall due to revenue recognition treatment on large contract and revenue drop.

Williams-Sonoma (WSM ) says 7.3% higher sales for the eight-week holiday period are below expectations. The company cites a weaker response to the Pottery Barn brand, and a year-over-year increase in pre-holiday gift cards. It reiterates its 93 cents to 97 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share.

Merrill reportedly upgrades Network Appliances (NTAP ) to buy from neutral.

Sepracor (SEPR ) revises an anticipated commercial availability of its Lunesta brand eszopiclone for treatment of insomnia. It notes the FDA's process for formally classifying Lunesta as a Scheduled IV controlled substance is not yet complete.

Kemet (KEM ) says based on conversations with major distribution customers, the company believes its revenue in March 2005 will improve compared to December.

CVS (CVS ) posts 4.6% higher December same-store sales, and 8.9% higher total sales.

Nortel Networks (NT ) completes its restatements of 2001 and 2002 financial statements, and a revision of 2003. The company posts 10 cents 2003 earnings per share, a 78-cent 2002 loss, and $8.08 2001 loss.

Infineon Technologies (IFX ) decides to terminate a deal to sell its fiber optics business to Finisar Corp. Infineon to assess its legal options to recover damages incurred and begin the necessary restructuring of its fiber optics business.

Dendreon (DNDN ) says final analysis of the primary endpoint in its study of its Provenge in advanced prostate cancer did not show a statistically significant delay in time to disease progression in the overall group or in Gleason score subgroups.

Applebee's (APPB ) posts 1.3% higher December system-wide comparable sales and 2% higher comparable sales for franchise restaurants. It sees 29 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share, and $1.48 to $1.51 2005 earnings per share. S&P keeps its hold rating.

VeriSign (VRSN ) agrees to acquire Santa Cruz, Calif.-based LightSurf for $270 million in Versign stock. LightSurf provides multimedia messaging and interoperability solutions for the wireless market worldwide.

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