JPMorgan to Sell Insurance Biz

Pfizer to explore sale of its consumer products unit; Cisco posts higher second quarter earnings; plus more stocks in the news Wednesday

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) agreed to sell its life insurance and annuity underwriting business, Chase Insurance, to Protective Life (PL) for a cash price of about $1.2 billion. Separately, Protective Life posted 96 cents vs. 80 cents fourth quarter earnings per share (EPS.)

Pfizer (PFE) In response to media inquiries ahead of the pharmaceutical company's Feb. 10 meeting with financial analysts, Pfizer says it will be exploring alternatives for Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, including retaining, spinning off or selling business.

Cisco Systems (CSCO) posts 22 cents (including 3 cents stock-based compensation expense) vs. 17 cents second quarter EPS on a 9.3% sales rise. It expects third quarter sales to rise 10% to 12%.

Time Warner (TWX) says it will study a proposal by the investment bank Lazard Freres that was commissioned by the investor Carl Icahn. The proposal calls for the media giant to split into four separate companies, according to news reports.

Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) posts 88 cents vs. 67 cents third quarter EPS from continuing operations on a 2.5% revenue rise. It sees $1.10 to $1.14 fourth quarter EPS on revenue of about $3.8 billion and fiscal year 2006 EPS of $3.27 to $3.31 on revenue of about $14.6 billion.

PepsiCo (PEP) posts 65 cents vs. 58 cents fourth quarter EPS on a 14% sales rise. It expects mid-single-digit volume and net revenue growth, with revenue growth outpacing volume growth. The company sees EPS of at least $2.93 in 2006.

McDonald's (MCD) posts 5.7% higher January global same-store sales.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) posts 44% higher fourth quarter net profit on a 13% revenue rise.

New York Times (NYT) says January 2006 advertising revenues for its business units increased 3.4%, and total company revenues rose 3.2% compared to a year ago.

Corporate Executive Board Company (EXBD) posts 52 cents vs. 42 cents fourth quarter earnings per share (GAAP) on a 29% revenue rise. It sees $1.80 to $1.84 2006 EPS (GAAP) and sets a $150 million share buyback. It also ups its 10 cents quarterly dividend to 30 cents.

Blue Nile (NILE) posts 29 cents vs. 24 cents fourth quarter EPS on a 14% sales rise. It sees first quarter EPS of 11 cents to 12 cents, including stock option expense, and 62 cents to 72 cents 2006 EPS. It also sets a $100 million stock buyback.

AU Optronics (AUO) posts fourth quarter net profit of NT$11.5 billion vs. net loss of NT$2.2 billion on an 84% revenue rise. It posts 62 cents fourth quarter earnings per American Depositary Share.

Liz Claiborne (LIZ) is to streamline operations, as well as redeploy resources to more efficiently manage its multi-brand and multi-channel portfolio. As a result, the company plans to take charges totaling about $60 million, with the majority of the charge occuring in the first half of 2006.

DIRECTV Group (DTV) posts 9 cents fourth quarter EPS vs. 21 cents loss on a 7% revenue rise. It also sets a $3 billion stock buyback.

Segue Software (SEGU) agrees to be acquired by Borland Software for $8.67 per share cash. Separately, Segue posts 9 cents vs. 4 cents fourth quarter EPS on a 19% revenue rise.

ARAMARK (RMK) posts 50 cents vs. 38 cents first quarter EPS on a 7.2% sales rise. It sees 28 cents to 30 cents second quarter EPS on sales of $2.75 billion to $2.85 billion.

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