Ford

(F) - Get Report

lowered its guidance for the fourth quarter. The automaker, which has been under siege lately from

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

in the 0% financing wars, now expects a loss of 50 cents a share for the quarter. Analysts were calling for a loss of 14 cents. The company blamed the forecast on increased credit loss reserves and high marketing and product costs. Ford previously expected to narrow its loss from the third quarter, when the company lost 28 cents a share. The warning is the latest in a series of bad news out of Ford, and comes just weeks after the company slashed its dividend and ousted its CEO.

Earnings Reports & Outlooks

Chico's FAS

(CHS) - Get Report

reported third-quarter earnings of 32 cents a share, in line with estimates. Sales rose 36.2% to $94 million. The retailer said actions taken to reduce selling, general and administrative expenses should have a "positive impact" on fourth-quarter results. Separately, the company said November same-store sales rose 18.7%.

Oracle's

(ORCL) - Get Report

chief executive said growth would return next year. Speaking at a conference in San Francisco, Larry Ellison

said the current recession would end in 2002, and that when it does, his company would boast operating margins of up to 50%.

UnitedHealth Group

(UNH) - Get Report

expects to meet analysts' earnings estimates of $2.76 a share this year. For 2002, the company is projecting earnings per share growth of 17% to 19% on revenue approaching $26 billion.

Mergers, Acquisitions & Joint Ventures

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

agreed to acquire the assets of Egghead.com for $6.1 million in cash. Separately, Lehman Brothers expects Amazon to make more progress toward profitability in 2002, although the firm said revenue growth is uncertain.

Offerings

SeaChange International

(SEAC) - Get Report

filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to sell 3 million common shares. Shareholders will sell 210,000 shares and the company will offer the rest.

Miscellaneous News

Ariba

(ARBA)

named Jim Frankola chief financial officer, succeeding Robert Calderoni, who was recently named chief executive. Previously, Frankola was a senior officer with

Avery Dennison

(AVY) - Get Report

. Ariba also said Tuesday it received a pact for software to manage online sourcing for

General Dynamics

(GD) - Get Report

.

Brocade

(BRCD)

named Morris Taradalsky vice president of engineering and chief technical officer. Paul Bonderson, one of the company's founders, will assume the newly created role of vice president of strategic development. Taradalsky most recently served as executive vice president of engineering at

Exodus Communications

(EXDSQ)

.

Polymedica

(PLMD)

said the Securities and Exchange Commission opened a formal investigation into its accounting practices and public disclosures. The diabetes test-kit distributor previously disclosed the investigation as an inquiry, and has already said the U.S. attorney in Florida is investigating its Liberty Medical Supply unit for alleged billing fraud. In a statement, Polymedica said it was cooperating with the SEC probe, which it said allows the Commission to "obtain relevant information from third parties in addition to the company." The company denied wrongdoing.

Goldman Sachs analyst Laura Conigliaro said that a recent visit with

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

management led her to believe that business is improving in the U.S. and is stabilizing in other major selling areas.