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Oracle Tops Views; Jabil Slammed on Poor Growth Forecast

Oracle

(ORCL)

recorded fourth-quarter earnings of 36 cents a share, topping the 30-analyst

First Call

prediction of 32 cents and moving ahead of the year-ago 27 cents. The stock popped up 2 1/2 to 27 5/8 in after-hours trading.

Elsewhere in earnings news,

Jabil Circuit

(JBL)

shares tumbled 11 to 43 in after-hours trading following its third-quarter report. The circuit board designer posted quarter earnings of 29 cents a share, on target with the 26-analyst outlook and above the year-ago 23 cents. But Jabil said growth rates for the fourth quarter may be lower than anticipated due to last-minute design delays on new products from two customers. The delays could reduce fourth-quarter revenue and earnings by as much as 10%, the company said. Analysts had expected 33 cents for the fourth quarter.

The design delay is "an illustration of dealing with a new product launch for a customer

namely,

Nortel Networks

(NT)

that wants to make sure all their T's are crossed and all their I's are dotted," said Herve Francois, an analyst with

Credit Suisse First Boston

, which has no banking relationship with Jabil.

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The one-to-six-week delay is but a "little blip," according to analyst Jim Savage of

Thomas Weisel Partners

, which has acted as an underwriter for Jabil. Savage is cutting his revenue estimates for the August quarter to $550 million from $600 million and reducing his profit estimates to 30 cents from 33 cents a share.

However, he still expects Jabil to earn $1.61 a share in the fiscal year ending August 2000, up from $1.13 in fiscal 1999, and grow revenue to $3 billion from $2 billion. Jabil's new customer,

Lucent

(LU)

, will help fuel growth in fiscal 2001, said Savage.

Prior to the earnings report, Jabil shares had gained 45% for the year.

"Before tonight I was telling people this is a great company, but I wouldn't put new money in it, because the stock was close to our price target of 55," Francois said. Now he is urging them to buy again.

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

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

Harmon Industries

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warned it expects to earn about 10 cents a share in the second quarter and about $1.25 in fiscal 1999. The three-analyst estimate called for quarter earnings of 37 cents and full-year earnings of $1.50. The company blamed a subcontractor's performance on a major transit project, which Harmon said led to delays and rework.

H&R Block

(HRB)

recorded fourth-quarter earnings of $3.03, topping both the 30-analyst estimate of $2.85 and the year-earlier $2.39.

Isle of Capri

(ISLE)

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 27 cents a share, beating the two-analyst forecast by 4 cents and moving ahead of the year-ago 14 cents.

Natrol

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said its second-quarter earnings will come in equal to or slightly below last year's 15 cents a share, but that its second-quarter revenue will be about 10% higher than in the year-ago period. The two-analyst estimate called for earnings of 16 cents for the quarter.

O'Sullivan Industries

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said it will take a $2.1 million charge in the fourth quarter related to retirement costs for Chairman Daniel O'Sullivan.

Winnebago

(WGO)

reported third-quarter earnings of 65 cents a share, above both the single-analyst view of 52 cents and the year-ago 31 cents.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Lockheed Martin

(LMT)

said it will extend to August 31 the deadline for its $45.50-per-share offer to buy up to 49% of

Comsat

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.

Pharmacia & Upjohn

(PNU)

agreed to acquire

Sugen

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in a deal valued at $650 million. Pharmacia & Upjohn said each of Sugen's 23.5 million shares will be exchanged for $31 worth of Pharmacia & Upjohn stock.

PhyCor

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said it received a $200 million investment from

E.M. Warburg Pincus

.

Offerings and stock actions

Merrill Lynch

priced

CareInsite's

(CARI:Nasdaq) 5.65 million-share IPO top-range at $18 a share. The company, which develops and provides Internet-based health-care e-commerce and links doctors with suppliers, patients and payers, is a unit of

Synetic

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. Last night, the price range for CareInsite's offering was raised to $16 to $18 from $14 to $16.

National Discount Brokers

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said it canceled a planned 2.6 million-share stock offering due to recent weakness in online brokerages.

Miscellany

Able Telecom

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said it hired

Wachovia Securities

to evaluate strategic alternatives.

The

Overseas Private Investment Corporation

approved $200 million in financing to help pay for a controversial natural gas pipeline project in Bolivia being developed by

Enron

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and

Royal Dutch Petroleum

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. The project would run through one of the world's last tropical dry forests.

Kaiser Aluminum

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said its CEO, George Haymaker, will retire Dec. 31 and will be replaced by President and COO Ray Milchovich.

Staff Reporter Kevin Petrie contributed to this story

.