Microsoft and the government could be edging closer to a
settlement deal to resolve the antitrust case against it, according to published reports. The
said, according to sources, the focus is on changes in Microsoft's business practices, rather than any proposal to break up the company.
The Wall Street Journal
said a deal could result in tough restrictions on the software giant's conduct. Citing sources close to the situation, the
said the talks could still collapse but that the gulf between the two sides is narrowing. Separately, the software titan said it has a pact with
for tax products on Microsoft Network. H&R Block was up fractionally to 44 7/16.
Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures
Bausch & Lomb
said it offered to buy
Wesley Jessen Visioncare
for $34 a share, or about $600 million. Bausch & Lomb said its offer is better for Wesley Jessen shareholders than Jessen's proposed $420 million purchase of
On the news, Bausch & Lomb was off 13/16 to 55 9/16. Meanwhile, Wesley Jessen shares were on fire, up 9 1/4, or 32.2%, to 34 1/8. Ocular was off 3/4, or 4.4%, to 16 1/2.
shares were higher after the
reported that the entertainment giant has been quietly lobbying
over fears that its programming would be denied fair access to
Web sites if the online company's merger with
is approved. Disney's stock was up 9/16 to 41 1/16, while AOL was off 1 to 71. Time Warner off slightly, down 3/16 to 101 1/16.
said it partnered with
to develop a range of Bluetooth wireless technology products, which allows wireless data exchange between computers, for IBM's ThinkPad laptops. IBM was off 1 5/16 to 112 15/16.
Earnings/revenue reports and previews
Earnings estimates from First Call/Thomson Financial; earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified.
stock was flat at 17 3/4 after it posted third-quarter earnings of 41 cents a share, in line with the 11-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 36 cents.
, a supplier of machine vision systems, was soaring 11 3/4, or 24%, to 60 3/4, after it said it expects first-quarter earnings-per-share of about 33 cents, 15% better than the seven-analyst estimate of 29 cents per share.
was up 2 5/8, or 7.1%, to 39 7/8, after it reported third-quarter earnings of 39 cents a share, including a gain of 2 cents. The 16-analyst estimate called for earnings of 34 cents while the year-ago EPS was 26 cents. FedEx said income rose 45% in the quarter, with earnings beating estimates despite soaring fuel prices.
fell 5/8, or 7.6%, to 7 5/8, after it posted fourth-quarter losses of $1.88 per share, below the six-analyst estimate of a $1.30 loss per share but better than the year-ago $1.90. The company has also restated 1999 earnings, revising third-quarter earnings at a loss of 52 cents per share compared with the 14-cent loss it originally reported. For the second quarter, the company amended losses at $1.28 per share from a loss of $1.30 per share originally filed. Finally, it restated its first-quarter loss as $1.44 per share, compared with a loss of $1.46 it originally filed.
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
gave up 2 33/64 to 87 5/8, after it reported first-quarter earnings of $1.34 a share, better than the 12-analyst estimate of $1.06 and up from the year-ago 88 cents.
was up 1/2 to 21 7/8 after it said its first-quarter earnings will be higher than estimates with sales growing in the mid-single digits from a year ago. The eight-analyst estimate calls for earnings of 20 cents a share.
slipped 3/16 to 8 1/16 after it posted fourth-quarter earnings of 5 cents a share, in line with the eight-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 3 cents.
Offerings and stock actions
was flying in its trading debut. Blaze Software was up 20 1/4, or 126.5%, to 36 1/4. It was priced at $16 a share, above the estimated $12 to $14 range.
priced 4 million shares. The company provides software that allows companies to personalize interactions around communication channels including the Internet, automated response systems, manned customer service systems and others. The Internet e-commerce play is expected to post strong gains when shares begin trading tomorrow.
was priced at $20 a share, above the estimated $17 to $19 range. It has not started trading. CIBC World Markets priced 5 million shares. The company is an Israeli manufacturer of wireless access products that enable connectivity to a local area computer networks.
was surging on news that its board approved a 2-for-1 stock split. Credence was up 11 1/2, or 8.8%, to 143.
set a $3 billion share repurchase program. It was up 3/16 to 63 3/4.
Genzyme Molecular Oncology
said it would offer 3 million shares of common stock. It was off 2 3/4, or 11.3%, to 21 1/2.
This morning, Dow component
rating was upgraded to buy from outperform and its price target was boosted to 200 from 150 at
. General Electric advanced 1 1/4 to 152 1/8.
: named focus one stock at
. Bell Atlantic was up 1 13/16 to 59 11/16.
: rating DOWN to market perform from buy and price target cut to 30 at
Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette
. Compuware was down 2 15/16, or 10.8%, to 24 5/16.
: coverage INITIATED with a buy rating and a 12-month price target of 54 at
Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown
. Dycom was up 2 5/16, or 5.2%, to 47 1/4.
: price target UP to 225 from 175 by
analyst Jim Linnehan; 12-month share price target UP to 210 from 175 at Lehman Brothers. Exodus was up 7 5/8 to 177.
: coverage INITIATED with a buy rating and a 98 price target at Lehman. Gilead was up 3 7/16, or 5.4%, to 67 1/2.
: coverage INITIATED with a buy rating and an 80 price target at Alex. Brown. Masco was up 3 1/16 to 73.
: coverage INITIATED with a buy rating and a 12-month price target of 80 at
. Palm was up 6 1/16, or 11.8%, to 57 5/8.
: INITIATED attractive at
. Pets.com was up 1/4 to 6 1/8.
: coverage RESUMED with a buy rating and a 69 price target at Alex. Brown. Quanta was up 3 3/8, or 6%, to 59 7/8.
: coverage INITIATED with a buy rating and a 140 12-month price target at J.P. Morgan. Sonicwall was up 2 3/8 to 93 1/2.
said Dale Morrison resigned as president, CEO and a director of the company. The New Jersey-based company said its board has appointed David Johnson to serve as CEO until a special committee concludes a search for a new long-term CEO. Johnson had served as Campbell's president and CEO from 1990 to 1997.
The soup company hasn't been looking so
M'm! M'm! Good! of late. It was hit with shareholder lawsuits this year, alleging that company documents misled shareholders about revenue. Last month, Campbell recalled 109,000 pounds of canned vegetable beef soup in 13 states after consumers found long pieces of metal in the soup. What would
think? Campbell was off 9/16 to 29 1/8.
board of directors withheld a 1999 bonus from Chairman and CEO Vance D. Coffman at his request because of the defense company's poor financial performance. Lockheed was up 1/8 to 17 1/4.
said it named Francis Cash as CEO effective April 17. The former CEO, David Benson, resigned in January. Meditrust was off 1/16 to 2 5/8.
British cable television operator
said it would offer its digital service on 90% of its network by June and aimed to have 500,000 customers by the end of the year.
upgraded Telewest to intermediate-term buy from neutral. Telewest was up 5 1/4, or 7.6%, to 74.
The Heard on the Street column in the
announcement that it is buying the 15% of
Travelers Property Casualty
it doesn't already own.
The move suggests Citigroup could be looking to buy other insurance companies using its own higher-priced stock, which sells for about 18 times earnings. Citigroup was up 1/16 to 58 13/16.