Ford Lowers Earnings Outlook

Ariba sees lower-than-expected revenue; Shopko acquired by private equity firm Goldner Hawn Johnson & Morrison for about $1 billion; plus more of Friday's stocks in the news

Ford Motor (F ) cut its 2005 earnings outlook Friday afternoon, citing "difficult business conditions" affecting the auto industry. The company lowered its 2005 earnings forecast to $1.25 to $1.50 per share from a prior expectation at the low end of a $1.75 to $1.95 range. The company said its full-year guidance excludes special items totaling about 8 cents to 10 cents a share. In addition, the auto maker says it no longer expects to achieve its goal of $7 billion in pretax profits, excluding special items, for 2006, according to news reports. Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said it revised the rating outlook on Ford Motor Co., Ford Motor Credit Co. (Ford Credit), and all related entities to negative from stable.

Borland Software (BORL ) cut its 3 cents to 5 cents first-quarter earnings per share (GAAP) estimate to a 1-cent to 3-cent loss on lower-than-expected revenue of $70 million to $72 million. The company cited slower closure rates in U.S. and Europe, and a weaker-than-expected spending environment.

Time Warner (TWX ), Comcast (CMCSA ), and Adelphia creditors reached an agreement in principle for the two cable giants to buy Adelphia in a cash and stock deal valued at slightly over $17.6 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Software company Ariba Inc. (ARBA ) sees lower-than-expected second-quarter total revenue of $79 million to $81 million and license revenues of about $12 million. The company anticipates a loss of about 13 cents to 15 cents (including charges) per share. It says the broad market environment for enterprise software remains soft.

Shopko Stores (SKO ) agrees to be acquired by private equity investment firm Goldner Hawn Johnson & Morrison Inc., in a deal valued at slightly more than $1 billion, including about $330 million in debt assumption. Terms of the agreement give holders $24 per Shopko share.

May Department Stores (MAY ) and Federated Department Stores (FD ) say the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has requested additional information in connection with its review of the proposed merger between the two companines.

USF Corp. (USFC ) sees 12 cents to 16 cents first-quarter earnings per share, excluding significant items, vs. a year ago's 32 cents. The company cited reduced volumes, productivity in Midwest region, slower-than-expected growth in Northeast, density, and pricing competition.

Trex Co. (TWP ) sees first-quarter earnings per share of 50 cents to 52 cents, vs. a year ago's 63 cents, on net sales of about $90 million. The company reaffirms previously announced guidance for 2005, which calls for earnings per share of $2.16 to $2.23 on net sales of $300 million to $310 million.

Accenture (ACN ) posted 35 cents, vs. 22 cents second-quarter earnings per share on a 15% revenue rise. The company sees 48 cents to 50 cents third-quarter earnings per share (GAAP) and $1.49 to $1.53 fiscal 2005 earnings per share.

Magma Design Automation (LAVA ) sees lower-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue of $34.5 million to $35.5 million and 6 cents to 10 cents earnings per share (pro forma). The company cites delays in processing of a number of completed sales orders.

Lufkin Industries (LUFK ) raised its first-quarter earnings per share guidance to 95 cents to $1.05 from 65 cents to 85 cents.

Constellation Brands (STZ ) posted 62 cents, vs. 55 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share (excluding charges), on a 17% sales rise. The company sees 45 cents to 49 cents first-quarter earnings per share (56 cents to 60 cents on a comparable basis).

BioSource International (BIOI ) says it has been informed by Genstar Capital Partners II L.P., its largest stockholder, that BIO-RAD's $8.50 per share cash offer is "significantly" below Genstar's view of BioSource's inherent value.

Party City (PCTY ) posted 7.1% lower March same-store sales and 6.9% lower total sales. The company withdrew a previous financial outlook for the fourth quarter, and will not be providing an outlook for future periods.

Darden Restaurants (DRI ) says same-restaurant sales at Olive Garden were up 9% to 10% for March and same-restaurant sales at Red Lobster were up 3% to 4%.

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