GE Profit Rises

Godfather game delay whacks Electronic Arts; Rambus earnings decline; plus more of Friday's stocks in the news

General Electric (GE ) posted second quarter earnings per share of 44 cents, vs. 36 cents one year earlier, on a 13% revenue rise. The conglomerate narrowed its EPS outlook to the high end of its original guidance for 2005; it now expects EPS of $1.80 to $1.83.

Hunt(J.B.) Transport (JBHT ) posted second quarter EPS of 33 cents, vs. 27 cents, on 12% revenue rise.

Shares of Symbol Technologies SBL fell after the company cut its second quarter revenue guidance to $425 million to $430 million. Symbol named Sal Iannuzzi as CFO, effective immediately. S&P keeps strong sell. JP Morgan downgraded the shares to neutral from overweight.

Electronic Arts (ERTS ) shares fell after word that the company was delaying release of the launch of its game based on The Godfather. S&P reiterates hold.

Tyson Foods (TSN ) shares were seen higher after a U.S. appeals court lifted a ban on Canadian cattle imports. Merrill reportedly upgraded Tyson to buy from neutral and downgradeD Smithfield Foods (SFD ) to neutral from buy.

Chiron CHIR shares fell after the cpompany cut its supply estimate for Begrivac for the 2005-06 flu season to 4 million doses outside the U.S. The FDA says Chiron's Pulminiq is "approvable" but requires additional study to confirm efficacy of the drug. S&P reiterates strong sell.

Investors Financial (IFIN ) shares dropped Friday after the company posted second quarter EPS of 64 cents (including items), vs. 50 cents. It sees 10% growth in 2005 EPS (GAAP), but a flat 2006. The company cites a flatter-than-expected yield curve; narrower reinvestment spreads; and weaker market-sensitive revenues.

Rambus (RMBS ) posted second quarter EPS of 5 cents, vs. 8 cents, on a 14% revenue rise.

MRO Software (MROI ) posted third quarter EPS (GAAP basis) of 16 cents, vs. 12 cents, on a 15% rise in revenues. The company sees fourth quarter EPS (GAAP) of 18 cents to 21 cents on revenue of $52 million to $54 million. It sees 2006 GAAP EPS growth in the 15% to 25% range. Piper Jaffray reportedly downgraded the shares to market perform.

Citigroup (C ) said that Robert B. Willumstad will step down from his positions of president, COO, and board member, to become CEO of a public company. S&P maintains its strong buy opinion on the shares.

Novartis (NVS ) inked a deal to purchase Bristol-Myers Squibb's (BMY ) U.S. and Canadian Consumer Medicines business and related assets for $660 million in cash.

Cintas (CTAS ) posted fourth quarter EPS of 48 cents, vs. 42 cents, on 9.6% revenue rise. The company sees fiscal 2006 EPS of $1.95 to $2.05 on revenue of $3.35 billion to $3.45 billion.

Itron (ITRI ) sees better-than-expected second quarter EPS (pro forma) of 38 cents to 42 cents on revenue of about $132 million to $135 million. It sees $175 million in second quarter new order bookings (excluding an order from Progress Energy announced July 15).

Smith (A.O.) (AOS ) posted second quarter EPS from operations of 48 cents, vs. 58 cents, on flat sales and softer customer demand.

National City (NCC ) posted second quarter EPS of 97 cents, vs. 83 cents, on lower loan loss provisions and higher net interest income.

Priceline.com (PCLN ) updated its second quarter EPS guidance to 36 cents to 40 cents (pro forma) from 34 cents to 40 cents on revenues of $265 million to $270 million. It sees 2005 EPS of $1.20 to $1.28, which reflects the acquisition of Bookings B.V. S&P reiterates its hold opinion.

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