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Markets & Stocks
Hot stocks: Cigna sinks
May 2, 2001: 4:36 p.m. ET

A warning leads to sell-off in Cigna shares but Internet stocks rise
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Shares of Cigna, the big insurer, tumbled 15 percent Wednesday after the company said its earnings this year would fall below forecasts. But Internet stocks, battered by a year-long sell-off, rallied after money-losing Priceline.com said it would post a profit this quarter.

Wednesday's losers

Cigna (CI: down $15.85 to $92.85, Research, Estimates). The insurer warned that earnings this year would fall below estimates. JP Morgan and Merrill Lynch downgraded the stock.

Valero Energy. (VLO: down $4.44 to $43.41, Research, Estimates). UBS Warburg downgraded the petroleum refining company to "reduce" from "hold."

CNET Networks (CNET: down $0.41 to $12.32, Research, Estimates). The Internet news and content site late Tuesday reported a first-quarter loss that was larger than most analysts' forecasts, and said its sales declined. The company lost 13 cents per share -- excluding unusual costs; analysts expected 10 cents a share.

Loudcloud (LDCL: down $1.03 to $5.40, Research, Estimates). The Internet infrastructure manager plans to cut 122 jobs, 19 percent of its work force, in an effort to reach the cash flow breakeven point.

Mitchell Energy & Development (MND: down $4.06 to $50.44, Research, Estimates). The independent producer of natural gas and natural gas liquids said late Tuesday that its chairman and majority shareholder George Mitchell is selling 4.5 million shares of common stock at $53 per share, for total proceeds of $238.5 million.

Williams Cos. (WMB: down $3.12 to $40.26, Research, Estimates). The pipeline company said Tuesday it was considering a takeover bid for oil and natural gas company Barrett Resources (BRR: Research, Estimates) after analysts were mistakenly connected to a Williams conference call at which the bid was discussed.

Wednesday's winners

Priceline.com (PCLN: up $0.37 to $6.96, Research, Estimates). The online discount service late Tuesday reported a first-quarter operating loss that was narrower than expected and forecast a profit for the current quarter.

CMGI (CMGI: up $1.67 to $5.82, Research, Estimates); InfoSpace (INSP: up $0.71 to $5.64, Research, Estimates); Internet Capital Group (ICGE: up $0.80 to $3.69, Research, Estimates). Other Internet stocks advanced on the Priceline.com announcement.

Finisar Corp. (FNSR: up $5.97 to $22.10, Research, Estimates). First Albany upgraded the company, which makes parts for high-speed data communications, to "strong buy" from "buy."

Viasystems Group (VG: up $0.48 to $4.48, Research, Estimates).  Bear Stearns upgraded the electronics manufacturing services to "buy" from "attractive."

Simplex Solutions (SPLX: Research, Estimates).  Shares of the Software and services company rose in their first day of trading after being priced at $12 late Tuesday.

ResMed. (RMD: up $9.40 to $54.80, Research, Estimates) The company, which makes medical equipment for treating, diagnosing and managing sleep disorders,  said sales in the first quarter rose to $42.7 million, an increase of 42 percent. Robertson Stephens upgraded the company to "buy" from "long-term attractive."

Brocade Communications Systems (BRCD: up $6.98 to $49.94, Research, Estimates). The data storage products maker is poised to meet or exceed Wall Street's profit expectations of 5 cents a share for its fiscal third quarter as customers rekindle technology projects, President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Reyes said Wednesday.

Cisco Systems (CSCO: up $2.20 to $20.00, Research, Estimates). In a note to clients, Morgan Stanley said demand for Cisco's networking gear could pick up in the months ahead. At the same time, talk circulated that the company is working through its inventory glut.

KPMG Consulting (KCIN: up $0.45 to $16.37, Research, Estimates). The Internet consulting company reported third-quarter operating earnings of $42.2 million, or 34 cents per share, excluding one-time items, beating First Call's consensus estimate of 25 cents per share.

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD: up $1.09 to $32.95, Research, Estimates). The chipmaker's CEO said the company was comfortable with the lower end of current second-quarter estimates of about 20 cents a share.

Jones Apparel Group (JNY: up $1.87 to $42.97, Research, Estimates). The clothing designer said income for the quarter ended April 7 was 75 cents per diluted share, better than the 71 cents consensus estimate of analysts polled by First Call.

S1 (SONE: up $1.90 to $8.98, Research, Estimates). WR Hambrecht upgraded the stock to "strong buy" from "buy" Wednesday -- even after the provider of e-finance services posted a wider first-quarter net loss and said it expects second-quarter revenue to be below analysts' forecasts, while maintaining its target of profitability before costs this year.

--  from staff and wire reports graphic





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