Apple Earnings Soar

AMD posts lower net but sees better growth; Lehman ups Google target; plus more of Thursday's stocks in the news

Apple Computer (AAPL ) shares moved higher Thursday after the company posted third quarter earnings per share of 37 cents, vs. 8 cents one year earlier, on a 75% revenue rise. The maker of iPods sees fourth quarter EPS of 32 cents on revenue of about $3.5 billion. S&P raised its estimate on Apple and keeps its hold recommendation.

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD ) posted second quarter EPS of 3 cents, vs. 9 cents, on flat revenue and higher costs. The company expects microprocessor sales growth to exceed normal seasonal patterns. S&P raised its estimate and keeps its hold opinion.

Lehman Bros. reportedly raised its target price for Google (GOOG ) to $350 from $275.

XM Satellite Radio (XMSR ) agreed to acquire privately-held WCS Wireless for 5.5 million XM shares. The principal assets of WCS are wireless spectrum licenses in geographic areas covering 163 million people throughout the U.S. S&P keeps its hold opinion on XM.

Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPDI ) posted second quarter EPS of 41 cents, vs. 41 cents, as higher R&D costs offset a 22% revenue rise. The contract research outfit sees better-than-expected third quarter EPS of 67 cents to 69 cents, and 2005 EPS of $2.26 to $2.30 on revenue of $940 million to $950 million. Baird upgraded its rating on the shares to outperform from neutral.

Avid Technology (AVID ) shares dropped after the company said it sees second quarter EPS (GAAP basis) of 34 cents to 36 cents on revenue of about $160 million. The digital media software concern cites less broadcast revenue being recognized and unfavorable foreign currency translation impacts.

Lehman Bros. upgraded its rating on General Motors (GM ) to equal-weight from underweight.

Homebuilder M.D.C. Holdings (MDC ) posted second quarter EPS of $2.25, vs. $1.87, on a 20% revenue rise.

UnitedHealth Group (UNH ) posted second quarter EPS of 61 cents, vs. 47 cents, on a 28% revenue rise. Based on strong financial performance in the first half, the managed-care company forecasts 2005 EPS of $2.45 to $2.47.

The board of directors of United Rentals (URI ) says John Milne, its president and CFO, failed to perform his duties, which would constitute cause of termination if not cured in accordance with his employment agreement. The equipment-rental concern reaffirmed its $1.60 to $1.70 2005 EPS guidance.

Marriott International (MAR ) posted lower-than-expected second quarter operating EPS of 75 cents, vs. 67 cents, on an 11% revenue rise. The lodging outfit sees EPS of 61 cents to 65 cents for the third quarter and $2.68 to $2.78 for all of 2005.

Yum Brands (YUM ) posted second quarter EPS of 62 cents, vs. 58 cents, on 3% higher system-wide same-store sales and 4% higher total revenue. The restaurant chain sees EPS of 70 cents for the third quarter and $2.62 for all 2005.

Knight-Ridder (KRI ) posted second quarter EPS of $1.00, vs. $1.08, as higher operating costs offset slightly higher total operating revenue.

Tribune Co. (TRB ) posted second quarter EPS (including items) of 73 cents, vs. 29 cents, as lower costs offset a 2.3% revenue decline.

MGIC Investment (MTG ) posted second quarter EPS of $1.87, vs. $1.56, as lower total losses and expenses offset a 2% revenue decline.

Southwest Airlines (LUV ) posted second quarter EPS of 20 cents, vs. 14 cents, on 13% higher total operating revenue. The carrier says that based on current cost trends, it expects third quarter unit costs, excluding fuel, to be in line with second quarter unit costs.

Walgreen (WAG ) raised its quarterly dividend by 24% to 6.5 cents per share.

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