Wednesday: WSJ Shakes Up Its Utility Average

Author:
Publish date:

Compiled by John J. Edwards III
Staff Reporter

The equity rally's battery ran low on juice Wednesday, but maybe it can pick up some power from one of the companies in our first post-close item:

Editors of

The Wall Street Journal

changed six of the 15 stocks in the

Dow Jones Utilities Average

, saying the new companies will revitalize the index by increasing representation from the Sun Belt. Removed from the measure were

Houston Industries

(HOU)

,

Niagara Mohawk

(NMK)

,

DTE Energy

(DTE) - Get Report

,

Centerior Energy

(CX) - Get Report

,

PanEnergy

(PEL)

and

Peoples Energy

(PGL)

. Added were

Southern

(SO) - Get Report

,

Duke Power

(DUK) - Get Report

,

Texas Utilities

(TXU)

,

Enron

(ENE)

,

Williams

(WMB) - Get Report

and

Columbia Gas System

(CG) - Get Report

.

CNBC

reported that the settlement talks between state attorneys general and tobacco companies may have hit a snag. The Connecticut attorney general told the network that the issue of limiting the tobacconists' liability is a major sticking point and "could be a deal-breaker." The parties are negotiating a $300 billion settlement of the states' reimbursement claims for smoking-related health-care costs.

Unitrin

(UNIT) - Get Report

agreed in principle to acquire

Reliable Life Insurance

(RLIFA)

in a stock and cash deal.

Bankrupt comic-book publisher

Marvel

(MRV)

and

Toy Biz

(TBZ)

filed a joint plan of reorganization for Marvel with the

U.S. Bankruptcy Court

in Delaware. A group of Marvel's equity holders Tuesday endorsed a rival reorganization plan by Marvel's bondholders.

Network Appliance

(NTAP) - Get Report

reported fourth-quarter operating earnings of 22 cents per share, beating the

First Call

expectation of 21 cents. The company earned 17 cents a year ago.

(As originally published, this story incorrectly said the company's net loss of 33 cents per share, which included a charge, fell short of the First Call estimate, which excluded the charge.)

Telco Communications

(TCGX)

reported first-quarter earnings of 20 cents per share, 2 cents better than the First Call consensus estimate and up from the year-ago 12 cents.

Upscale fashion house

Donna Karan

(DK) - Get Report

earned just 4 cents per share in the first quarter, way short of the First Call view of 23 cents and the year-ago pro-forma 29 cents. The company said it expects its bottom line to improve in the second half.

Foodmaker

(FM) - Get Report

, a franchiser of

Jack in the Box

fast-food restaurants, reported second-quarter earnings of 17 cents per share, beating the First Call estimate of 14 cents and the year-ago 10 cents.

The Street

discussed Foodmaker's turnaround in a

March 24 story.