Amgen Jumps on Strong Earnings, Faster Schedule for Arthritis Drug

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Amgen

(AMGN) - Get Report

shares flew to 73 in after-hours trading from a close of 66 5/16 following the company's strong second-quarter earnings report. The company earned 50 cents a share, topping the 23-analyst

First Call

estimate of 46 cents and moving ahead of the year-earlier 41 cents.

But the bigger news for Amgen was that the company is pushing up its rheumatoid arthritis drug,

Il-1ra

. The

Food and Drug Administration

said it was OK to file based on the two Phase II trials the company did on the drug. Amgen won't have to conduct Phase III trials. It will file for approval of the drug by the end of the year, way ahead of schedule.

The news is bad -- at least initially -- for

Immunex

(IMNX)

, which markets RA hit

Enbrel

, and

Centocor

(CNTO)

, which hopes for approval of its RA candidate

Remicade

later this year. The sudden crowdedness of the market will spook IMNX and CNTO investors, analysts said. But it remains to be seen how strong Amgen's data are.

--

Jesse Eisinger

Conoco

(COC)

will replace

Battle Mountain Gold

(BMG)

in the

S&P 500

after the closing bell Aug. 6.

DuPont

(DD) - Get Report

is spinning off the remaining 70% of Conoco it owns.

Merrill Lynch

(MER)

said Herbert Allison, its president and COO -- and the anticipated successor to Chairman and CEO David Komansky -- is retiring from the company after 28 years. Vice Chairmen Stephen Hammerman and John "Launny" Steffens will assume Allison's duties while a replacement is found.

In other postclose news (earnings estimates from First Call; earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified):

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

Catalyst

(CLYS)

said it expects to break even in its second quarter. The six-analyst view called for earnings of 12 cents vs. the year-earlier 6 cents. The company blamed severance costs for a former CFO for the expected shortfall.

Coca-Cola Enterprises

(CCE)

said it expects to record a second-quarter charge of $103 million due to

Coca-Cola's

(KO) - Get Report

European product recall. On June 24, CCE said it expected the recall to cost $60 million.

Flowers Industries

(FLO) - Get Report

said it sees second-quarter earnings coming in around 10 cents a share due to production realignment costs and promotional expenses at its

Mrs. Smith's Bakeries

business. The 10-analyst estimate called for a repeat of the year-ago 19 cents.

Intergraph

(INGR) - Get Report

said its second-quarter revenue will fall about $25 million below expectations because of weak orders and revenue from worldwide computer hardware businesses. The three-analyst estimate called for a loss of 15 cents a share during the quarter vs. the year-ago loss of 43 cents.

LaserVision

(LVCI)

reported fourth-quarter earnings of 17 cents a share, 3 cents ahead of the five-analyst estimate and above the year-ago penny. The company also set a 2-for-1 stock split.

Tropical Sportswear

(TSIC)

sees third-quarter earnings of 40 cents to 42 cents a share due to the cancellation of about $6.5 million in orders and the deferral of about $4.5 million in other orders. The single-analyst forecast called for earnings of 67 cents vs. the 40 cents made a year earlier.

Vitesse Semiconductor

(VTSS)

shares slipped 2 3/4 to 69 in after-hours trading despite a positive third-quarter earnings report. The company made 24 cents a share, 1 cent ahead of the 13-analyst estimate and above the year-ago 18 cents.

In other earnings news:

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Austria's

RHI

agreed to acquire

Global Industrial Technologies

(GIX) - Get Report

for $300 million.

BFGoodrich

(GR)

and

Coltec

(COT) - Get Report

completed their $2 billion merger after battling lawsuits brought by rivals alleging the companies were violating antitrust laws.

GenTek

(GK)

agreed to acquire a unit of Germany's

Jenoptik

for $218 million in cash and the assumption of debt.

Canada's

Le Groupe Forex

said it received a new offer from an undisclosed U.S. firm that's better than the C$26-a-share bid made last month from

Louisiana-Pacific

(LPX) - Get Report

.

Liberty Media

(LMGA)

said it agreed to swap some assets for 109.6 million shares of

TCI Music

(TUNE)

stock. Liberty will exchange its Internet content and interactive television assets, rights to provide interactive video services to

AT&T's

(T) - Get Report

cable television systems and $150 million in cash and notes.

Offerings and stock actions

Central Garden & Pet

(CENT) - Get Report

increased its stock buyback plan by $25 million, bringing the total amount authorized to $130 million.

Inktomi

(INKT)

filed for a 3.3 million-share offering.

Miscellany

The

Justice Department

sued

Toyota's

(TOYOY)

U.S. unit, claiming the pollution-detection systems on 2.2 million of its vehicles violated clean air laws.