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Stock Reports Thursday
07:19 ET MNST upgraded at Wachovia 21.60: Wachovia upgrading Monster Worldwide to Outperform from Mkt Perform based on increasing evidence that the labor mkt in the U.S. is truly improving, combined with a more attractive valuation; firm believes that recent issues that have pressured the stock over the last two months (NASDAQ 100 rebalancing, negative story in Fortune, overhang from delayed secondary offering) have been discounted into the stock and should dissipate in the coming weeks and months. Target range is $24-$29.
07:19 ET deCODE genetics isolates two major new obesity genes under alliance with Merck (DCGN) 7.46: Co announces that it has isolated two new genes as part of its alliance with Merck & Co, Inc. to develop drugs for the treatment of obesity. Following the gene discovery announced in September, deCODE scientists have discovered common versions of two additional genes that significantly predispose individuals to obesity. The companies are now analyzing the genes and the biological pathways they delineate to select optimal targets for the development of new drugs.
07:19 ET PDI Inc reaffirms Y03, guides Y04 above consensus (PDII) 26.24: Company sees Y03 EPS of $0.90-0.95 below the Reuters Research consensus of $1.01. For Y04 sees $1.15-1.25 above the R.R. consensus of $1.13
07:18 ET Panera Bread reports Nov comps (PNRA) 37.56: For the 4 weeks ended Nov 29, co reports that comparable bakery-cafe sales increased 0.1% (co-owned +1.7%, franchised -0.7%).
07:17 ET AT&T to offer VoIP service -- WSJ (T) 19.88: The Wall St Journal reports that AT&T will soon be offering Voice-over-IP service allowing customers to place phone calls over the Internet. The co says VoIP is the "most significant, fundamental new technology shift in telecommunications in decades, and will deliver tremendous value to all customers." The co plans to have the service available in 100 markets, starting with three on the East Coast, and also plans a major expansion of existing phone programs for businesses that rely on VoIP. The co is expected to announce the initiative today.
07:15 ET ERTS upgraded at JP Morgan 41.35: JP Morgan upgrades Electronic Arts to Overweight from Neutral, citing valuation as well as checks that indicate the co's titles continue to sell well at retail; firm thinks concerns regarding mixed reviews the co's titles have received from some well-regarded industry websites, and concerns over retail sales, are overblown; according to their channel checks at Wal-Mart and EB Games, the co's games are among some of the best movers at retail, and firm also believes that solid Nov and Dec NPD numbers, the likelihood of a hardware price cut sometime in 1H04, and the launch of the PSP (not included in their ests) could be the key catalysts to the stock over the next 6-9 months.
07:13 ET Encore Medical prices 8.5 mln share offering at $6.25 (ENMC) 6.38: Encore is selling 6 mln shares of common stock, and certain of Encore's stockholders are selling 2.5 mln shares of common stock.
07:12 ET Ciena beats by a penny, ex items (CIEN) 6.35: Reports Q4 (Oct) loss of $0.08 per share, ex items, $0.01 better than the Reuters Research consensus of ($0.09); revenues rose 14.1% year/year to $70.6 mln vs the $70.3 mln consensus. Company sees Q1 revs flat to up as much as 10% over Q4 revs.
07:12 ET Convera awarded $5.2 mln government contract (CNVR) 3.90: Co has been awarded a $5.2 million contract for RetrievalWare 8.0 by a U.S. Government Agency in support of U.S. national security objectives. The new agreement involves a license for the company's new search and categorization technology, RetrievalWare 8.0, which will provide the customer with unique dynamic classification capabilities and extensive foreign language support.
07:07 ET Early Research Calls : JP Morgan upgrading ERTS to Overweight from Neutral; also initiating coverage on MYOG with Overweight... Sanders Morris upgrading TXN to Buy from Hold... Wachovia upgrading MNST to Outperform from Mkt Perform... RBC Capital upgrading VPI to Outperform from Sector Perform... Lehman upgrades cruise line names RCL and CCL to Overweight from Equal Weight... JP Morgan cuts GLG to Neutral from Overweight; also starts ODSY with a Neutral rating... Merrill Lynch upgrading BRCD to Neutral from Sell; also reinstating coverage on FFIV with Buy rating and $30 tgt calling the co an outperformer under the radar... Deutsche Bank reiterating Buy rating and $45 tgt on SCOX.
07:02 ET CIEN prelim -$0.08, penny ahead; revs $70.6 mln vs $70.3 mln consensus :
06:54 ET European Markets FTSE...4321...-14.40...-0.3%. DAX...3841.84...+20.92...+0.6%.
06:54 ET Asian Markets Nikkei...10075.14...+164.58...+1.7%. Hang Seng...12554.58...+156.20...+1.3%.
06:49 ET Right Management to be acquired by Manpower for approx. $18.75/share (RHT) 17.16: Co agrees to be acquired by Manpower (MAN) for stock valued at approx. $18.75 per RHT share. Pursuant to the agreement, the exchange rate will not be greater than 0.4497, nor less than 0.3680. If the average trading price is less than $37.80, Right may terminate the agreement, unless Manpower exercises its option to issue an additional number of its shares such that the total number of shares of Manpower common stock exchanged for each share of Right common stock multiplied by the average trading price is equal to $17.00.
"JJ Call me a 2'x4' again on the forum and your going to pay" Sportman.
08:43 ET S&P Index adds IVAN to TSE : Ivanhoe Energy Inc.(IVAN) announces has been added to the Standard & Poor's Toronto Stock Exchange (S&P/TSX) Composite Index, effective Dec. 19, 2003.
08:42 ET Susquehanna and Patriot Bank announce definitive merger (SUSQ) 25.40: Co and Patriot Bank Corp. announced the signing of a definitive merger agreement pursuant to which SUSQ will acquire Patriot in a stock and cash transaction valued at $212 mln.
08:41 ET PPDI downgraded at RW Baird 28.54: -- Update -- RW Baird downgrades PPD Inc to Neutral from Outperform and cuts their target to $26 from $34 following lower than expected 2004 guidance and higher than expected margin pressure in the co's core Development biz.
08:39 ET Pre-Market Movers : Higher on News: EGHT +17%, VOCL +9.9% (AT&T VoIP launch), MOBE +13.8%, SQNM +11%, ECIL +10%, ASTM +9.8%, ATML +9%, MONE +8.3%, EVOL +6%, TQNT +5.6%, ERTS +3.3%, BRCD +2.9%, MNST +1.9%, MYOG +1.9%, FFIV +1.4%... Lower on News: PPDI -14%, PUMA -7.8%, QUIX -7.8%, CDWC -3%... Nasdaq PMI +0.1%.
08:36 ET FBR downgrades select independent refiners : Friedman Billings Ramsey downgrades GI, PCO, SUN, and TSO to Mkt Perform from Outperform based on valuation; firm recommends that investors take profits prior to year-end, as refining stocks having increased 27% on avg so far in Q4 (82% in 2003), and while fundamental conditions remain favorable, they believe the forward refining margin curve and many of the stocks are pricing in close to a best-case scenario.
08:33 ET GT downgraded at McDonald 7.36: McDonald Investments downgrades Goodyear Tire to Underweight from Hold after the co revealed the possibility of additional accounting irregularities in Europe; while firm estimates that the magnitude of this new problem is much less than the $89 mln already uncovered in North America, it exacerbates the lack of confidence they have in the numbers the co has reported.
08:32 ET : Intial response to the influx of economic data, including the better than expected Retail Sales and the worse than expected Initial Claims reports, is slightly negative. Nasdaq futures slip 1 point to +1.5 above fair value; S&P futures slide 0.3 points to +1.9 above fair value.
08:31 ET Home Depot authorizes $1 bln share buyback (HD) 33.08: Co announced it has completed its $1 bln share repurchase program announced earlier this year and also announced that its Board has approved an additional $1 bln stock buyback.
08:30 ET Retail Sales 0.9% vs 0.7% consensus; ex-auto 0.4% vs 0.3% consensus :
08:30 ET Initial Claims 378k vs 359k consensus :
"JJ Call me a 2'x4' again on the forum and your going to pay" Sportman.