Qwest Reportedly Raises Bid for MCI

Exxon Mobil rises on an oil-price jump; Johnson & AIG admits to improper accounting; plus more of Thursday's stocks in the news

Qwest Communications (Q ) raised its takeover bid for MCI (MCIP ) to $27.50 per share, or $8.9 billion, roughly 20% above Verizon's (VZ ) latest offer, according to WSJ.com.

Exxon Mobil (XOM ) was higher Thursday on a jump in crude oil prices. May WTI crude climbed above the $55-per-barrel mark as Goldman Sachs projects a "super spike period" in the oil market, according to MarketScope.

DePuy Orthopaedics Inc., a Johnson & Johnson (JNJ ) company, received a subpoena from the U.S. Attorney's Office requesting documents related to any consulting and service contracts which DePuy has entered into with orthopaedic surgeons.

American International Group (AIG ) admitted to improper accounting that slashes the business insurance company's net worth by $1.77 billion.

Elan Corp. (ELN ) and Biogen Idec (BIIB ) announce their ongoing safety evaluation of Tysabri has led to previously diagnosed case of malignant astrocytoma being reassessed as progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy.

Federal Home Loan (FRE ) posted $3.78, vs. $6.68 2004 earnings per share on a 3.8% drop in net interest income. The company says a change in 2004 net income due to a decrease of $4.5 billion related to its derivative instruments are not in qualifying hedge accounting relationships.

J.C. Penney (JCP ) rises after Women's Wear Daily, in an unconfirmed report, said that Cerberus Capital Management LP, Carlyle Group, and a third firm are partnering to attempt a $16 billion to $18 billion leveraged buyout of J.C. Penney.

Continental Airlines (CAL ) says its pilots, mechanics, dispatchers, and simulator engineers have ratified a new collective bargaining agreements with the airline.

Western Digital (WDC ) raised its third-quarter guidance of 16 cents to 19 cents earnings per share on $885 million to $915 million in revenue to 29 cents to 31 cents earnings per share on $900 million to $915 million in revenue. The company cites better-than-expected pricing for desktop computer hard drives. S&P and Bear Stearns up estimates.

Stryker Corp. (SYK ) receives a subpoena from the Department of Justice requesting documents for contracts and service agreements between the company and any orthopedic surgeon using or considering the use of hip/knee joint replacement products made or sold by the company. Baird downgrades.

Biomet (BMET ) received a subpoena from the Department of Justice requesting documents related to any consulting and professional service agreements with orthopedic surgeons using or considering the company's hip or knee implants. Baird downgrades to neutral.

Timken Co. (TKR ) raised its 38 cents to 42 cents first-quarter earnings per share guidance to 57 cents to 62 cents and $1.70 to $1.85 2005 to $2.05 to $2.20 (excluding special items). The company cites strong industrial market demand, price increases, raw material surcharges, and increased productivity.

UTStarcom (UTSI ) delayed the filing of its 2004 10-K, and its amended and restated 2003 10-K. The company expects to report restated 2003 revenues of $1.965 billion and $1.75 earnings per share. It also expects 2004 revenues of $2.704 billion and 56 cents earnings per share.

Ruby Tuesday (RI ) posted slightly better-than-expected 42 cents, vs. 48 cents third-quarter earnings per share (preliminary) on 8% lower same store sales. The company lowers fourth-quarter earnings per share guidance to 40 cents to 43 cents and sets a 5 million share buyback.

Rowe Companies (ROW ) posted a 22-cent first-quarter loss, vs. 1 cent earnings per share from continuing operations on 6.6% lower net shipments.

FDA grants tentative approval to Hi-Tech Pharmacal's (HITK ) ANDA for Levofloxacin Ophthalmic Solution USP, the generic equivalent of Santen's Quixin Ophthalmic Solution, indicated for the treatment of bacterial infections.

Forest Labs (FRX ) announced that the FDA, following an initial review of the company's supplemental New Drug Application for Lexapro, an SSRI antidepressant, for treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder, has determined application not approvable.

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