The Day's Winners

  • Coinstar ( CSTR), which makes machines to count change, added 5% to $29.45 after posting a second-quarter profit. The company earned $636,000, or 3 cents a share, compared with a loss of $6.3 million, or 30 cents a share, a year ago. Excluding charges, the company earned 21 cents, compared with the consensus estimate of 13 cents. Revenue rose to $37.9 million from $31.2 million last year. Coinstar also announced a $15 million stock buyback program. For the year, the company expects to earn about 90 cents to 98 cents in its North American business.

  • PacifiCare Health Systems ( PHSY) tacked on 3% to $25.40 after reporting a 33% rise in second-quarter profits. The company earned $20.3 million, or 56 cents a share, in the quarter, up from $15.3 million, or 45 cents a share, a year ago. Excluding charges, PacifiCare earned 88 cents a share, ahead of the consensus estimate of 80 cents. Revenue dropped to $2.8 billion from $3 billion last year. PacifiCare expects to earn $3.37 to $3.47 a share for the year, compared with a consensus projection of $3.23.

  • Online travel reservations company priceline.com ( PCLN) was climbing 12% to $2.07 after announcing a stock buyback program, which seemed to offset the fact that the company lowered its third-quarter forecast. priceline now expects to break even or report a profit of up to 2 cents a share, while analysts are looking for 3 cents. priceline said it approved the $40 million buyback program on Wednesday.

  • Shares of Urologix ( ULGX) jumped 46% to $5.88 on rumors of a takeover by Medtronic ( MDT). The rumors haven't been confirmed, but they suggest that Medtronic might offer as much as $8 a share for Urologix, which offers nonsurgical, catheter-based therapies for urinary disorders.

    The Day's Losers

  • Shares of Adobe Systems ( ADBE) plunged 26% to $17.64 after the company warned Wednesday that its third-quarter results would be lower than expected. Adobe said it expects to earn 18 cents to 23 cents a share, down from an earlier forecast of 24 cents to 27 cents and below estimates of 25 cents. The company blamed lower than expected July revenue for the shortfall. Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and UBS Warburg all downgraded the stock on the news.

  • Peoples Energy ( PGL) lost 16% to $29.56 on a downgrade to reduce/sell from neutral by Merrill Lynch. Merrill said that the Illinois government has asked for further information regarding a joint venture the company's Peoples Gas subsidiary had with Enron. Merrill said the request is a negative for the stock, even though no conclusions have been reached.

  • PG&E Corp. ( PCG) fell 38% to $8.55 after posting lower earnings amid escalating financial woes. The company, which operates power plants and gas pipelines, earned $218 million, or 59 cents a share, down from $750 million, or $2.07 a share, a year ago. Excluding charges and the partial recovery of uncollected power costs previously written down, PG&E earned $186 million, or 50 cents a share, missing the consensus estimate of 55 cents. Revenue was up 15% to $5.75 billion. Additionally, the company said the downgrade of its National Energy Group's debt to junk status by Standard & Poor's has set off triggers on about $1.6 billion of the division's debt. PG&E warned that it Moody's also downgrades the debt, about $1 billion in the holding company's debt could be declared due by lenders.

  • Plato Learning ( TUTR) was falling 27% to $5.50 after warning of an expected third-quarter shortfall as government funding for schools has been slower than anticipated. The company expects to see breakeven results to a profit of 2 cents a share in the quarter, well below the consensus analyst estimate of 21 cents. Revenue is expected to be $20 million to $21 million in the quarter, compared with estimates of almost $27 million.

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