Wednesday, April 28, 1999

"All generalizations are false, including this one." -- Alexander Chase

Latest Market Numbers

AOL Triples Earnings

Online services provider America Online (NYSE: AOL) turned in fiscal third-quarter earnings of $0.11 a share, excluding one-time items and the impact of its acquisition of Netscape Communications, which closed on March 17. That's better than last year's $0.04 a share and analysts' mean estimate of $0.09. Operating margins improved to 16% from 9% a year ago. Adding in Netscape's numbers actually diminishes AOL's total profit before special charges and gains to $109 million, or $0.09 a share, versus $117 million, or $0.11 per share.

Combined revenues for AOL and Netscape came in at $1.25 billion, a 66% gain year-over-year. Advertising, commerce, and other revenues increased 94% to $275 million, while subscription revenues rose 50% to $869 million. AOL netted 1.8 million more members during the quarter, bringing its total membership to 16.9 million as of the end of March -- including more than 3 million members overseas but not counting CompuServe's roughly 2 million members, ICQ's more than 32 million registered users, and Netscape Netcenter's 15 million registered users.

AOL President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) pointed out that the company's prime-time audience now exceeds that of major cable networks. "This quarter marked a major advance in America Online's growth as a multiple-brand, multiple-product company," he said.

News to Go

Internet service provider (ISP) MindSpring Enterprises (Nasdaq: MSPG) reported first-quarter earnings per share of $0.16 before charges. That's up from $0.08 a year ago and ahead of analysts' expectations of $0.13, according to First Call. Total revenues of $61.6 million compare with $21.4 million in the same year-earlier quarter and $39.5 million in the preceding quarter.

Drug wholesaler McKesson HBOC (NYSE: MCK) restated improperly recorded revenues and earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter ended March 31 as well as prior quarters in that fiscal year. The company also revised its forecast for fiscal 2000 to $2.50 a share. That compares with analysts' current mean estimate of $2.94 a share.

The nation's second-largest drugstore chain CVS Corp. (NYSE: CVS) will reportedly discuss some details about its Internet commerce strategy today when it reports first-quarter earnings, according to Bloomberg. Earlier this month, the company's head of corporate development said CVS planned to develop a website to sell products by the end of the year.

Diagnostic products, specialty pharmacy services, and disease management company Chronimed (Nasdaq: CHMD) said it has hired Paine Webber to "explore strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value which may include a merger or sale of all or part of the company." The announcement came as the company reported fiscal Q3 EPS of $0.04, down from $0.12 a year ago.

The New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) will stop taking ads for cigarette, cigar, or tobacco products starting May 1, making it the first national newspaper to do so. To be sure, tobacco ads represent less than 1% of the Times' ad revenue, but the move marks another symbolic blow against the brow-beaten tobacco industry.

Earnings to Go:
(Quarterly earnings per share versus that of the same year-earlier quarter and compared with analysts' mean estimate according to First Call. Where noted, earnings exclude one-time charges and gains.)

Aetna (NYSE: AET) -- Q1 EPS: $1.08 vs. $0.90 last year; estimate: $1.01
Allegheny Teledyne (NYSE: ALT) -- Q1 EPS: $0.33 (before one-time items) vs. $0.35 last year; estimate: $0.30
Arch Chemicals (NYSE: ARJ) -- Q1 EPS: $0.59 vs. $0.65 last year; estimate: $0.55 (one analyst)
Ascend Communications (Nasdaq: ASND) -- Q1 EPS: $0.36 (before charges) vs. $0.26 last year; estimate: $0.36
Borg-Warner Automotive (NYSE: BWA) -- Q1 EPS: $1.32 vs. $1.09 last year; estimate: $1.30
Coherent Inc. (Nasdaq: COHR) -- fiscal Q2 EPS: $0.22 vs. $0.29 last year; estimate: $0.21
Conseco Inc. (NYSE: CNC) -- Q1 EPS: $0.92 (excludes investment loss) vs. $0.70 last year; estimate: $0.90
Consolidated Graphics (NYSE: CGX) -- fiscal Q4 EPS: $0.65 vs. $0.41 last year; estimate: $0.63
IKON Office Solutions (NYSE: IKN) -- fiscal Q2 EPS: $0.15 vs. $0.27 last year; estimate: $0.14
Infinity Broadcasting (NYSE: INF) -- Q1 EPS: $0.06 vs. $0.04 last year; estimate: $0.05
Interface Inc. (Nasdaq: IFSIA) -- Q1 EPS: $0.11 vs. $0.20 last year; estimate: $0.16
Jones Apparel Group (NYSE: JNY) -- Q1 EPS: $0.51 vs. $0.37 last year; estimate: $0.43
Osteotech Inc. (Nasdaq: OSTE) -- Q1 EPS: $0.22 vs. $0.15 last year; estimate: $0.20
pcOrder.com (Nasdaq: PCOR) -- Q1 EPS: loss of $0.20 vs. breakeven last year; estimate: loss of $0.25
QuadraMed (Nasdaq: QMDC) -- Q1 EPS: profit of $0.24 (before charges) vs. loss of $0.20 last year; estimate: profit of $0.20
SDL Inc. (Nasdaq: SDLI) -- Q1 EPS: $0.33 (before charges) vs. $0.19 last year; estimate: $0.25

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Yi-Hsin Chang (TMF Puck), Writer
Jennifer Silber (TMF Amused), Editor