Biogen Tops Estimates; Autobytel.com to Announce Auction Model

Plus, AMG reports inflows to large-cap equity funds hit their highest point since mid-May.
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Biogen

(BGEN)

reported third-quarter earnings of 39 cents a share, a penny better than the 22-analyst

First Call/Thomson Financial

estimate and up from 24 cents a year ago. The company said net income rose 65% in the third quarter amid surging sales of its only product, the multiple sclerosis drug

Avonex

. Revenue rose 43%, to $208 million in the quarter from $145.9 million a year ago. Avonex accounted for $163.4 million of the total, up from $107.4 million a year-ago. Royalties accounted for the remaining revenue.

Autobytel.com

(ABTL)

plans to announce at a 9 p.m. EDT press conference tonight that it's getting into the auction business, sources close to the company confirmed. President and CEO Mark Lorimer will speak at a San Francisco soiree "celebrating the launch of a new Autobytel.com model," according to an invitation. The company will expand its partnerships with car dealers to include new and used cars for the auctions, a source said.

Rumors of the pending announcement pushed the company's stock up 46.2% Thursday to 19 1/2, and it moved up to 20 in after-hours action on

Island ECN

(see below).

--

Suzanne Galante

Inflows to equity funds totaled $2.3 billion in the week ended yesterday, according to

AMG Data Services

. Large-cap equity index funds reported the largest inflow since mid-May, while international equity funds also reported inflows. Emerging-markets funds, however, including Latin America and Asia, as well as European funds, showed redemptions. Taxable bond funds reported outflows for the fourth consecutive week, while inflows to investment grade corporate bond funds were mitigated by yet another week of outflows from high-yield funds.

After-Hours Markets

Things were dragging a bit in after-hours trading.

Volume was light. Island ECN was tech-heavy, while two Seattle staples topped

Market XT

. Many Island stocks were marooned after 5 p.m. EDT, without trading much until the exchange closed at 8 p.m. EDT.

Imaging Technologies

(ITEC)

, although No. 2 on the most-actives list, was a good example. It was stuck on 39,400 all night long.

Island ECN, owned by Datek Online, offers trading, mainly in Nasdaq-listed stocks, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EDT. Prior to Sept. 15 Island offered trading from 8 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. EDT

.

MarketXT, formerly Eclipse Trading, offers after-hours trading to retail clients of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter's (MWD) Discover Brokerage and Mellon Bank's (MEL) Dreyfus Brokerage Services. Clients can trade 200 of the most actively traded New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Stock Market issues, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. EDT Monday through Thursday.

TheStreet.com

updates the most active issues on both MarketXT and Island ECN in Got a Minute? and in the Evening Update.

--

Eric Gillin

In other post-close news (earnings estimates from First Call/Thomson Financial; earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified):

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

ACE

(ACL)

said it sees an after-tax impact of about $35 million on its third-quarter operating income due to catastrophe losses, citing earthquakes in Taiwan, Turkey and Mexico, a cyclone in Hong Kong, and Hurricane Floyd. The six-analyst estimate is for 45 cents a share in the third quarter.

CareMatrix

(CMDC)

said it expects net income for the third quarter and the full year to fall below analyst expectations due to a slowed development pipeline. The company said it sees third-quarter earnings of 4 cents to 6 cents a share and full-year earnings of 75 cents to 80 cents a share. The 13-analyst estimate calls for third-quarter earnings of 35 cents a share, and $1.36 for 1999. CareMatrix said the expected earnings do not include the possible write-off of company assets.

Hi/fn

(HIFN)

said it sees fourth-quarter earnings per share above the five-analyst estimate of 37 cents. Separately, following a 30% drop in its share price and a subsequent trading halt, Hi/fn said two major customers had cut orders for the company's specialty semiconductors for the first quarter of next year. Hi/fn says it sees no fundamental changes in its business and that its long-term outlook remains unchanged.

Mortgage.com

(MDCM)

said its third-quarter revenues would be around $12 million to $12.3 million, up 25% to 28%, from last year. The company also said it canceled an agreement with

Intuit

(INTU) - Get Report

, but did not expect the contract termination to hurt its 1999 revenues. The two-analyst estimate is for a loss of $1 in the third quarter.

Printronix

(PTNX)

posted second-quarter earnings of 32 cents a share, in line with the two-analyst estimate but down from a year-ago 37 cents. The company said despite higher revenue and improved gross margins in the latest quarter, earnings were lower because of higher operating expenses and income taxes.

Symmetricom

(SYMM)

said it sees a second-quarter and 2000 loss after taking charges related to a recent acquisition. The company said it expects $7 million to $9 million in second-quarter charges and $4 million in charges over the next 12 months. Symmetricom bought

Hewlett-Packard's

(HWP)

communications synchronization business for about $30 million in cash.

Offerings and stock actions

Credit Suisse First Boston

priced 3.2 million shares of software company

Interwoven

(IWOV)

at $17 a share, above the estimated pricing range of $13 to $15.

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

priced the 3.1 million-share IPO of

Jupiter Communications

(JPTR)

, a market research firm, at $21 a share, above the just-boosted $18 to $20 price range.

TriZetto's

(TZIX)

4.2 million-share IPO was priced at $9, the low end of the estimated $9 to $10 range.

Bear Stearns

is the lead underwriter.

Miscellany

Boeing's

(BA) - Get Report

commercial airplane division director, Alan Mulally, said the top product development priority will be expanding the range and capacity of the current fleet and not developing new aircraft. Mulally also said one of Boeing's near-term goals was developing a larger version of its 777 passenger jet to carry cargo.

Saddle up, urban cowboys and -girls.

Chase Manhattan

(CMB)

said it would move 3,500 trust and custody jobs from New York to Dallas and Tampa, Fla., partly because of cost and space. Chase said the relocations will occur in its treasury solutions and global investor services units.

Estee Lauder

(EL) - Get Report

promoted Fred Langhammer, currently president and COO, to the position of CEO. Leonard Lauder, son of the cosmetics giant's founder, will continue as chairman.

Gartner Group

(IT) - Get Report

elected Michael Fleisher president and CEO, effective immediately. Fleisher, who was formerly an executive vice president and CFO, succeeds William Clifford, who resigned to lead a recently formed Internet venture.

The

Justice Department

said

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

agreed to pay more than $250 million to clean up pollution in the Housatonic River near its plant in Pittsfield, Mass., in a settlement of claims that the plant contaminated the river with polychlorinated biphenyls. GE agreed to remove polluted sediment from the half-mile stretch of river nearest the plant by 2001, cleaning both river banks and property in the river's flood plain.

3Dfx Interactive

(TDFX)

said President and CEO Gregory Ballard has resigned effective Oct. 31, saying the company needed some fresh perspective at the top. The company, which makes graphics accelerator chips, boards and software, said it has begun a search for a successor.