WinnersAetna (AET) said first-quarter profits rose significantly as the nation's second-largest health insurance firm raised premiums and rid itself of unprofitable clients. The company posted operating income of $64.9 million, or 44 cents a share, compared with $15 million, or 10 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. But revenue fell to $5.26 billion from $6.43 billion. The stock was up 12% to $49.13. Covance (CVD) was gaining 11% to $19.19 a day after the company reported first-quarter earnings of 19 cents a share, a penny ahead of estimates. The company, a provider of drug development services, forecast earnings of 81 cents a share for 2002 and said it hopes to deliver earnings growth of about 30% through 2003.
Gundle/SLT Environmental (GSE - Get Report), a provider of geosynthetic lining systems for waste management, mining and other uses, was again climbing sharply, the second straight session the stock has been a big winner. Gundle was up 22% to $9.50 a day after the company reported a first-quarter profit of $22.3 million, or $2.02 a share, including a gain from the purchase of Serrot International. Before items, Gundle lost $1.6 million, or 14 cents a share, including a charge of 5 cents a share. Media software company Macromedia (MACR) was gaining 19% to $20.76 after the company said it expects revenue growth to resume in the first fiscal quarter of 2003. The company also expects to return to profitability, on a pro forma basis, in the June quarter. Macromedia reported fourth fourth-quarter revenue of $75.6 million and a loss, before items, of 10 cents a share. Under generally accepted accounting principles, Macromedia lost $1.37 a share. Simplex Solutions (SPLX) was jumping 41% to $17.38 on news that Cadence Design (CDN) will acquire the company for $18 a share in a deal valued at about $300 million.