Sun Micro Profits Slip

Cree shares plummet; Bowater falls on fourth-quarter warning; plus more of Friday's stocks in the news

Sun Microsystems (SUNW ) posted 1 cent second-quarter earnings per share, vs. a 3-cent loss, despite 1.6% lower sales. S&P reiterates its hold rating.

Semiconductor device maker Cree Inc. (CREE ) posted 32 cents (including a 5-cent benefit), vs. 17 cents second-quarter earnings per share on a 34% revenue rise. The company targets 24 cents to 27 cents third-quarter earnings per share on $94 million to $98 million in revenue. S&P reiterates its sell rating.

Paper company Bowater, Inc. (BOW ) sees a 45-cent to 55-cent fourth-quarter loss, before items. The company says prices of newsprint, coated, and specialty papers have improved, but market pulp and lumber prices have declined. It also incurred approximately 31,000 metric tons of market pulp production downtime.

Merrill upgrades Disney (DIS ) to buy from neutral.

According to newswire reports, a spokeswoman for Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ ) heart care company said 300 stents were withdrawn from the market due to problems relating to some of the stents' polymer coating.

Coors (RKY ) and Molson agree to increase a special dividend to Molson shareholders as part of merger deal. Molson Class A non-voting, Class B common shareholders, (excluding Pentland), to $5.44 (Canadian) per share, vs. the prior $3.26 (Canadian).

The Wall Street Journal reports that Marsh & McLennan (MMC ) and New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer are still apart in negotiating a settlement. S&P reiterates its hold rating.

Piper Jaffray upgrades Ask Jeeves (ASKJ ) to outperform from market perform.

Banc of America upgrades Novell (NOVL ) to buy from neutral.

Exponent (EXPO ) sees lower-than-expected $34.5 million to $35.0 million fourth-quarter revenue and 20 cents to 22 cents earnings per share. The company expects continued lower growth in the first-half 2005 due to a likely carryover of slower activity in selected practices and quarter-to-quarter comparable sales against a strong second-half of 2004.

First Albany upgrades Ligand Pharmaceuticals (LGND ) to buy from neutral. Yesterday the company presented at the JP Morgan healthcare conference.

Citigroup upgrades RSA Security (RSAS ) to buy from hold.

The FDA clears I-Flow Corp.'s (IFLO ) 10-inch ON-Q Soaker Catheter for delivery of local anesthetic to the surgical site to reduce pain following surgery.

Goldman upgrades CNET Networks (CNET ) to in-line from underperform.

Digi International (DGII ) posted 13 cents, vs. 8 cents first-quarter earnings per share on a 12% revenue rise. The company sees $29 million to $30 million second-quarter revenue and 12 cents to 14 cents earnings per share. The company expects revenue growth to be in excess of 10% for fiscal 2005.

Everest Re (RE ) estimates aggregate after-tax catastrophe losses for fourth-quarter of $133 million, or about $2.32 per diluted share, net of tax. Sees $2.00 after-tax operating earnings per share, despite the impact of these losses.

Gander Mountain (GMTN ) sees fourth-quarter same-store sales down 6%, total sales up 31%, and $17.2 million to $19.2 million in pretax income. The company cuts $8 million to $13 million in fiscal 2005 pretax income forecast to $2 millin to $4 million on a 2% to 3% same-store sales drop. It cites unseasonably warm weather into mid-December.

URS Corp. (URS ) posted 59 cents, vs. 57 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share on 8.3% higher revenues. The company expects first-quarter earnings per share to be between 19% to 23% of the company's 2005 earnings per share guidance of $2.10.

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