Stocks to Watch: Ford Ousts CEO, P&G Tops Estimates

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Ford

(F) - Get Report

has decided to oust Chief Executive Jacques Nasser, a move that doesn't really come as a surprise. Auto industry analysts have been suggesting for several months that Nasser's job was in jeopardy, as the Firestone tire recall hit Ford especially hard. Ford, which has been struggling with slowing sales along with the rest of the industry, recently cut its dividend in an effort to reduce costs. Chairman William Clay Ford will replace Nasser. North American group vice president Nick Scheele is expected to take the post of chief operating officer.

Earnings Reports & Warnings

Concord EFS

(CEFT)

posted third-quarter earnings of 16 cents a share, matching estimates. Revenue rose 20% to $437.1 million.

Hollywood Entertainment

(HLYW)

reported third-quarter earnings of 17 cents a share, in line with the consensus estimate. Revenue rose 13% to $344.9 million. The company also raised its fourth-quarter sales and earnings outlook.

Procter & Gamble

(PG) - Get Report

reported first-quarter core earnings of 96 cents a share, 2 cents ahead of the consensus estimate. The company expects second-quarter sales growth in the low single digits and earnings growth in the low- to mid-single digits. P&G remains comfortable with analysts' estimates for fiscal 2002.

Verizon

(VZ) - Get Report

reported adjusted third-quarter income of $2.04 billion, or 75 cents a share, which includes costs of 3 cents a share related to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. The company earned $1.98 billion, or 73 cents a share, in the third quarter a year ago. Revenue rose 3.7% to $17 billion. For the fourth quarter, the company is targeting revenue growth of about 3% and earnings, including expenses from the terrorist attacks, of 77 cents to 80 cents a share. Analysts expected income of 77 cents in the third quarter, and Wall Street is projecting earnings of 80 cents in the fourth quarter.

Analyst Actions

Merrill Lynch trimmed its estimates for

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

based on the continuing economic downturn in the U.S. and Europe along with softening IT demand. The firm now expects Dell to post fourth-quarter revenue of $7.5 billion, down from a previous estimate of $7.8 billion. Merrill is looking for revenue of $33.1 billion, down from $34.7 billion, and earnings of 75 cents, down from 80 cents, in fiscal 2003. The firm believes Dell is on track to post earnings of 15 cents to 16 cents a share for the October quarter.

Goldman Sachs removed

Philip Morris

(MO) - Get Report

from the firm's recommended list and now rates the stock a market outperform. The firm also reduced its 12-month price target on the stock.

Credit Suisse First Boston lowered

Qualcomm's

(QCOM) - Get Report

earnings estimates. The firm expects Qualcomm to make this quarter's number, but said the company's guidance for the December quarter could be cautious. The firm lowered its December quarter estimate to 26 cents a share from 29 cents and reduced its fiscal 2002 expectation. CSFB also cut its price target on Qualcomm.

Mergers, Acquisitions & Joint Ventures

Research in Motion

(RIMM)

signed a supply agreement to provide the BlackBerry wireless email product to VoiceStream Wireless, a unit of

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

. Under the terms of the deal, VoiceStream will buy BlackBerry wireless handhelds and the associated software for distribution throughout its nationwide service area.

Myriad Genetics

(MYGN) - Get Report

and

Pharmacia

(PHA)

initiated a new research collaboration in the field of pharmacogenomics. The collaboration will focus on identifying genetic differences among individuals in the general population.