Cree Falls on Lowered Estimates

PepsiCo posts higher earnings; Wal-Mart, Disney get analyst downgrades; Aviva to buy Amerus; plus more stocks in the news Thursday

From Standard & Poor's Equity Research

Cree (CREE) shares moved lower Thursday after the company said that fourth quarter EPS will fall short of its previous estimated range of 22 cents to 24 cents on revenue of about $106.7 million. It cites lower LED sales due to production challenges.

Ford Motor (F) Slashes its quarterly dividend in half to 5 cents from 10 cents. In addition, it says its board of Directors voluntarily reduced board member fees by half.

SAP AG(SAP) sees €2.2 billion in second-quarter revenues and €1.41 EPS (pro forma). Thje software outfit sees €5.80-€6.00 2006 pro forma EPS. S&P MarketScope Europe reports that the second-quarter numbers were below expectations.

CIBC World downgraded Disney(DIS) to sector underperform from sector perform.

Merrill reportedly downgraded Wal-Mart(WMT) to neutral from buy.

Amerus Group (AMH) agrees to be acquired by Aviva PLC in a $2.9 billion deal, at $69 cash per Amerus Group share.

PepsiCo (PEP) posts 80 cents vs. 70 cents second quarter earnings per share (EPS) on a 12% revenue rise. Citing the strength of the company's first half EPS performance, as well as confidence in the balance of year outlook, it expects 2006 EPS of at least $2.95.

Tribune (TRB) posts 53 cents vs. 72 cents second quarter EPS from continuing operations on a 1.4% revenue drop and higher expenses.

Marriott (MAR) posts 43 cents vs. 29 cents second quarter EPS on a 7.1% revenue rise. It sees 28 cents to 30 cents third quarter EPS and $1.52 to $1.57 in 2006.

Wyeth (WYE) reaffirms 2006 pro forma EPS estimates of $2.97 to $3.07; if trends continue, EPS would reach at least the upper end of the range. It plans to launch oral contraceptive Lybrel in 2007.

Texas Industries (TXI) posts $1.58 vs. $1.09 fourth quarter EPS from continuing operations on a 5.8% sales rise and $12.4 million net gain from the sale of real estate.

Tekelec (TKLC) posts 25 cents first quarter loss vs. 24 cents EPS (GAAP) on a 23% revenue decline. It says the application of residual method of revenue recognition affected the timing of revenue recognition. It says it is not in a position to provide guidance for the second quarter and full-2006.

Warner Music Group (WMG) says it is reviewing today's decision by the European Court, which annulled a merger between Sony and BMG, to determine what impact it might have on a potential combination of WMG and EMI Group PLC.

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