Sanford Bernstein came out with positive comments on

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

, raising its second-quarter revenue expectation for the software maker to $7.35 billion from $6.90 billion. The firm based its new estimate on feedback from the company that Xbox unit sales and Windows XP sales will be stronger than originally projected. The firm reiterated its outperform rating on the stock.

Earnings Reports & Outlooks

Accenture

(ACN) - Get Report

posted first-quarter earnings of 25 cents a share, beating Wall Street's estimates by a penny. The company remains comfortable with analysts' earnings estimates for the second quarter and believes that estimates for the rest of the fiscal year are reasonable.

Avaya

(AV)

lowered its expectations for the first quarter. The company now expects a loss of 9 cents to 11 cents a share on an as-reported basis, with revenue of about $1.3 billion. Analysts are looking for earnings of 7 cents.

Best Buy

(BBY) - Get Report

raised its fourth-quarter earnings forecast to $1.35 to $1.40 a share. Analysts are expecting income of $1.27. The electronics retailer said sales and gross margins exceeded its expectations in the quarter.

Lennar

(LEN) - Get Report

reported fourth-quarter earnings of $2.32 a share, topping estimates by 12 cents. Revenue rose to $1.96 billion, up almost 14% from the same quarter a year ago.

Skechers USA

(SKX) - Get Report

raised its fourth-quarter sales guidance, saying it now expects a top line of $200 million to $215 million. But the company did include the following statement in its press release: Skechers "expressly cautions the reader not to predict the company's 2001 fourth quarter and full-year results based upon the increased sales reported in this release."

Analyst Actions

J.P. Morgan downgraded

Nokia

TST Recommends

(NOK) - Get Report

to hold from buy, and the firm lowered its ratings on

Ericsson

( ERICY) and

Alcatel

( ALA) to underperform from hold.

Mergers, Acquisitions & Joint Ventures

Brio Technology

said the Air Force will use the company's software to help integrate financial information from existing databases to develop a new budgeting system.

Hyseq

(HYSQ)

signed a deal with

Amgen

(AMGN) - Get Report

to develop and commercialize alfimeprase, a treatment for peripheral arterial occlusions and other cardiovascular indications. As part of the transaction, Hyseq granted Amgen warrants to purchase Hyseq common stock at a premium to the current market price. No additional financial terms were disclosed.

RadioShack

(RSH)

is halting its investment in the "store-in-store" boutiques inside

Blockbuster

( BBI) shops following a six-month trial at 130 locations, according to a report in

The Wall Street Journal

.

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