• America Online Latin America ( AOLA) said its fourth-quarter loss narrowed to $70.5 million, or $1.05 a Class A common share, from a loss of $105.5 million, or $1.68 a share, a year earlier. Before preferred dividends the company lost 20 cents a share. Revenue was $18.7 million, up from $7.9 million a year earlier. Analysts had been looking for a loss of 21 cents a share for the quarter and revenues of $25.25 million, according to First Call.

    Contracts and Joint Ventures

  • Nuance Communications ( NUAN) has contracted to provide Yahoo ( YHOO) with speech recognition software for its phone and phone-card services. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. The Nuance software will enable Yahoo!-by-Phone users to navigate services such as e-mail, voice mail and news and information via a telephone.

    Analysts' Actions

  • Salomon Smith Barney downgraded Pegasus Communications ( PGTV) to neutral from buy and reduced its price target to $6 from $12 after the company missed earnings estimates and lowered guidance. The satellite television broadcaster reported a fourth-quarter loss of $82.5 million, or $1.43 a share, compared with a loss of $73.7 million, or $1.34 a share, in the year-earlier period. Analysts had been looking for a loss of $1.31 a share.

    Mergers and Acquisitions

  • Great Lakes Chemical ( GLK) agreed to sell its publicly traded Osca ( OSCA) unit to BJ Services ( BJS) for about $200 million. Osca holders would receive about $28 a share, well above its Tuesday close of $21.99. Great Lakes owns 53.2% of Osca.

    Miscellaneous

  • Federal prosecutors opened a preliminary inquiry into whether Computer Associates ( CA) overstated its profits to inflate its stock price, the New York Times reported. The company said it hasn't been contacted by the authorities regarding any investigation, and did not know what was being investigated. The company's "pro forma, pro rata" financial statements have long been the subject of debate among analysts. Computer Associates says it has always abided by accounting rules.

  • IDEC Pharmaceuticals ( IDEC) said the Food and Drug Administration approved its drug for delivering radiation directly to tumors. The drug, Zevalin, was approved to treat patients with low-grade non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system, that are no longer responding to to Rituxan, a biotech drug IDEC co-markets with Genentech.

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