Company Report: EC Expected to Oppose Aluminum Merger; Staples Bolstered By Earnings - TheStreet

Company Report: EC Expected to Oppose Aluminum Merger; Staples Bolstered By Earnings

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Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

is negotiating a possible acquisition of

Global Crossing

(GBLX)

, which would give Deutsche access to the U.S., Asia and Latin America, people familiar with the matter said, reported in

Bloomberg

.

According to the source, the two companies have not agreed on a price. Yesterday,

USA Today

reported that Deutsche launched an offer to buy

Qwest Communications

(Q)

and

US West

(symbol)

. Qwest rose 1 1/4 to 59 1/4, Deutsche Telekom gained 8 13/16, or 10%, to 97 1/16 and Global Crossing gained 3 7/16, or 6.8%, to 54 3/8.

Goldman Sachs

priced a 23 million-share IPO for

3Com's

(COMS)

Palm

(PALM)

unit at $38 a share, above the expected range of $30 to $32.

Meanwhile,

ABN Amro

initiated coverage of Palm -- which began trading today -- with a buy rating and set a 90 price target on the stock. Palm jumped 57 1/16, or 150.1%, to 95 1/16.

3Com will receive 532 million shares from the offering and will divest the shares within six months by handing them over to its stockholders.(

TheStreet.com

looked at a fund offering its lucky investors a piece of the Palm IPO in a separate

story.)

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Aetna

(AET)

gained 2 13/16, or 5.3%, to 55 13/16 after it said

WellPoint Health Networks

(WLP)

and

ING America Insurance Holdings

, a unit of

ING Groep

(ING) - Get Report

launched a $10.2 billion takeover bid for Aetna, one day before Aetna ousted its CEO and began examining its operations. WellPoint lost 1 1/8 to 60 3/4. Aetna said WellPoint and ING America Insurance Holdings made a $70-a-share offer, which included $44 in cash and $26 in WellPoint stock. Last night, WellPoint and ING confirmed they were interested in Aetna.

For more on the Aetna situation, take a look at the

story written by

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com

joint newsroom.

The

European Commission

is anticipated to block the proposed three-way aluminum industry combination of

Alcan

(AL) - Get Report

,

Pechiney

(PY) - Get Report

and

Alusuisse

because of competition concerns, according to published reports. Alcan lost 1 3/16 to 33 1/4, while Pechiney gained 3/4 to 27.

Mexico's

Grupo Financiero Banorte

and

Hewlett-Packard

(HWP)

said they formed an e-commerce venture focused on the business-to-business market in Latin America. Hewlett-Packard rose 3/8 to 134.

Silicon Graphics

(SGI)

lost 1/4 to 9 7/8 after it said it will sell its

Cray Supercomputer

business to

Tera Computer

(TERA)

. Tera lost 1 1/8, or 10.2%, to 9 7/8.

Sony

(SNE) - Get Report

shed 12 1/16 to 299 15/16 after saying it has licensed

Spyglass'

(SPYG) - Get Report

browser technology for use in its digital cable set-top boxes. Spyglass sailed up 15 1/4, or 22.8%, to 82 1/4.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

(

Earnings estimates from First Call; new highs and lows on a closing basis unless otherwise specified. Earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified.

)

Ann Taylor

(ANN)

rose 1/2 to 19 1/2 after it said February same-store sales rose 1.7%.

Costco Wholesale

(COST) - Get Report

gained 3 1/8, or 6.7%, to 49 5/8 after it posted second-quarter net income of 39 cents a share, in line with the 22-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 33 cents.

Dillards

(DDS) - Get Report

was unchanged at 17 3/8 after it said its February same-store sales were flat.

Federated Department Stores

(FD)

inched up 1/8 to 36 7/16 after it said February same-store sales rose 5.3%.

Goody's Family Clothing

(GDYS)

rose 3/32 to 6 3/4 after it said February same-store sales rose 4%, and announced some changes to its accounting methods. The company has adopted certain accounting changes related to sales returns and leased departments. Goody's said the changes won't have an impact on the company's annual net earnings for fiscal 1998 and fiscal 1999.

However, Goody's said its previously issued statements of operations for the four quarters of fiscal 1998 and the first three quarters of fiscal 1999 will be restated to account for these changes. Goody's said the change will either increase or decrease some previously reported quarterly net earnings by a penny a share.

J.C. Penney's

(JCP) - Get Report

lost 3/4 to 14 3/4 after it said February same-store sales fell 2.4%.

Neiman Marcus'

(NMG.A)

rose 3/8 to 22 after it said February same-store sales rose 11.2%.

RSL Communications

(RSLC)

gained 2 1/4, or 10.5%, to 23 3/4 after it posted a fourth-quarter loss of $2.00 a share including items. The six-analyst estimate called for a loss of $1.43, while the year-ago loss was $1.33. The company said it was exploring options for certain nonstrategic assets and also seeks to better focus on core European and U.S. operations.

Sears'

(S) - Get Report

was unchanged at 27 5/8 after it said February domestic same-store sales rose 3.1%.

Sotheby's

(BID) - Get Report

lost 1 1/16 to 22 after it reported fourth-quarter earnings of 57 cents a share, beating the three-analyst estimate of 55 cents, but lower than the year-ago 66 cents. The company said investigations and lawsuits could have a material impact on its results.

Staples

(SPLS)

dropped 4 11/16, or 17.8%, to 21 5/8 after it reported fourth-quarter earnings of 28 cents a share, in line with the 21-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 22 cents.

TJX

(TJX) - Get Report

inched up 1/4 to 16 3/4 after it said February same-store sales rose 4%.

Thanks to an extra shopping day last month,

TeleCheck

said February same-store sales by retailers across the nation rose 4.8%. TeleCheck, a unit of

First Data

, is a check acceptance company.

Walgreen

(WAG)

slipped 15/16 to 24 11/16 after it said February same-store sales were up 11.5%.

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

rose 1 9/16 to 50 9/16 after it said February same-store sales rose 6.1%.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

lifted Wal-Mart to strong buy from outperform.

Offerings and stock actions

Anaren Microwave

(ANEN)

set a 3-for-2 stock split and filed a secondary offering of 1.84 million shares.

Fairfield Communities

(FFD)

gained 2.1%, to 8 13/16 after it said its board approved the repurchase of up to $60 million in stock.

Harbor Florida Bancshares

(HARB)

slipped 1/16 to 10 5/16 after it said its board approved the repurchase of up to 2.36 million shares, or 9% of its common stock.

Metromedia Fiber's

(MFNX)

jumped 12 1/8, or 17.4%, to 81 7/8 after its board approved a 2-for-1 stock split.

Ralph Lauren

(RL) - Get Report

gained 1/4 to 17 1/4 after its board authorized a two-year extension of its $100 million stock repurchase program.

Switchboard's

(SWBD)

IPO sailed up 11 13/16, or 78.8%, to 26 13/16 after it was priced at $15 a share last night, above the expected range of $12 to $14. The company is an online yellow pages provider based in Westboro, Ma.

Analyst actions

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

started coverage of

Administaff

(ASF)

with an outperform rating and a price target of 50. Administaff added 1 5/8 to 41 7/8.

PaineWebber

raised its 2000 earnings estimates on

American Eagle Outfitters

(AEOS)

to $2.32 from $2.20. American Eagle Outfitters gained 1 1/2, or 5.8%, to 27 1/8.

Goldman Sachs

said analyst Glenn Engel cut earnings estimates on

AMR

(AMR)

to $3.40 from $3.55 and

Delta Air Lines'

(DAL) - Get Report

2000 estimates to $7.15 from $7.55. AMR declined 1/8 to 54 5/8 and Delta skidded 1 5/8 to 43 13/16.

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

started coverage of

Bed Bath & Beyond

(BBBY) - Get Report

with a strong buy rating. Bed Bath & Beyond lifted 1/2 to 27 1/4.

Alex. Brown raised

Bristol-Myers

(BMY) - Get Report

to buy from market perform.

Bear Stearns

raised Bristol-Myers to buy from attractive and set a price target of 77. Meanwhile, PaineWebber cut the stock's price target to 65 and lowered its EPS estimates.

Gruntal

cut Bristol-Myers to market perform-outperform from outperform-outperform and sliced its intermediate price target to 58 from 70. Bristol Myers mounted 1 5/8 to 52 7/8.

Wit Soundview

analyst Mark Specker raised his price target on

Brocade Communications

(BRCD)

to 400 from 300. Brocade Communications jumped 13 1/4 to 311 13/16.

DB Alex. Brown initiated coverage of

Cost Plus

(CPWM)

with a strong buy rating. Cost Plus advanced 3 1/2, or 18.7%, to 22.

Thomas Weisel Partners

analyst Perry Boyle increased estimates on

DoubleClick

(DCLK)

to a loss of 9 cents from a loss of 12 cents a share in the first quarter, and to earnings of 10 cents from an expected loss of 8 cents for the year. DoubleClick gained 2 7/8 to 83 7/16.

Separately, DoubleClick's CEO Kevin O'Connor, said in a statement that he made a "mistake by planning to merge names with anonymous user activity across Web sites in the absence of government and industry privacy standards" and that DoubleClick hasn't "implemented this plan, and has never associated names, or any other personally identifiable information, with anonymous user activity across Web sites."

"We commit today, that until there is agreement between government and industry on privacy standards, we will not link personally identifiable information to anonymous user activity across Web sites," O'Connor said.

Last month, DoubleClick, in a filing with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

, admitted it was the subject of a

Federal Trade Commission

probe regarding its collection and maintenance of info concerning Internet users.

Warburg Dillon Read

started coverage of

EMC

(EMC)

as a buy. EMC slipped 2 to 116.

SG Cowen

said it started

Firepond

(FIRE)

with a buy rating and set a price target of 125. Firepond fell 8, or 8.3%, to 88.

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

cut its rating on

Gap

(GPS) - Get Report

to market perform from buy. Gap retreated 3 5/8, or 7.5%, to 44 1/4.

DLJ started coverage of

HealthAxis

(HAXS)

with a buy rating. HealthAxis lost 7/8 to 28.

Merrill Lynch

lifted

Health Management

(HMA)

to near-term buy from accumulate. Health Management bounced 2 1/8, or 19.7%, to 12 7/8.

Merrill Lynch raised its rating on

Knight/Trimark

(NITE)

to near-term accumulate from neutral. Knight/Trimark moved up 2 3/16 to 49 7/16.

Credit Suisse First Boston

raised

HNC Software's

(HNCS)

target price to 175 from 125. HNC Software climbed 12 29/32, or 12.8%, to 113 3/8.

Banc of America Securities

said analyst Chris Crespi raised his rating on

Lucent Technologies

(LU)

to strong buy from buy. Lucent Technologies mounted 3 3/8 to 72.

Salomon Smith Barney

upped

Metrogas

(MGS)

to outperform, and lifted its price target to 11 per ADR. Metrogas declined 1/16 to 9 1/16.

Bear Stearns

started coverage of

Network Peripherals

(NPIX)

with an attractive rating and set a price target of 85. Network Peripherals shed 1 to 67 13/16.

Robertson Stephens

analyst John Powers raised his rating on

Preview Systems

(PRVW)

to a strong buy from a buy. Preview Systems added 2 13/16 to 71 13/16.

DB Alex. Brown upgraded

Proxicom

(PXCM)

to strong buy from buy. Proxicom gained 2 1/8 to 47 1/8.

CSFB doubled

Radiant Systems'

(RADS)

price target to 150. Radiant Systems soared 28 1/8, or 50.9%, to 83 3/8.

Last night,

Radiant

and

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

said they have entered a deal to set up e-commerce marketplaces for retailers. The deal calls for Microsoft to take an undisclosed equity stake in Radiant and support product development. The venture would help small and mid-sized retailers buy supplies for their businesses.

Josepthal

analyst Greg Schroeder raised his rating on

Starbucks

(SBUX) - Get Report

to buy. Starbucks slipped 1 1/2 to 33 1/4.

Morgan Stanley increased

Telemig's

(TMB)

price target to 105 from 80. Telemig popped 11, or 13.5%, to 92.

Goldman Sachs downgraded

Unisys

(UIS) - Get Report

to market outperform from its recommended list. Unisys lost 1/2 to 29 9/16.

Thomas Weisel analyst Eric Ross raised the price target on

Veeco Instruments

(VECO) - Get Report

to 130 from 95. Veeco Instrument fell 1 1/2 to 96 3/4.

Lehman Brothers analyst Daniel Fletcher raised his price target on

Viatel

(VYTL)

to 80 from 55. Viatel slipped 3 9/16, or 5.2%, to 65.

Lehman Brothers analyst Bill Garrahan raised his price target on

Williams Communications

(WCG) - Get Report

to 62 from 52. Williams Communications gained 2 1/4 to 51 5/8.

DB Alex. Brown started coverage of

Williams-Sonoma

(WSM) - Get Report

with a buy rating and set a 37 price target on the stock. Williams-Sonoma shed 1 1/16 to 31 7/16.

Miscellany

Brooke Group

(BGL)

declined 7/16 to 12 7/16 after it said its

Liggett Group

tobacco unit has filed a complaint in federal court against

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco

(RJR)

alleging that R.J. Reynolds has entered into "illegal pricing" deals with retailers, prompting retailers to hike the price of non-R.J. Reynolds discount cigarettes, hurting Liggett, consumers and other tobacco manufacturers. R.J. Reynolds was off 1/4 to 17 13/16.

Enhance

(EFS)

lifted 9/16 to 11 15/16 after it said it hired Morgan Stanley Dean Witter to advise it on strategic options.

Personal financial information keyed into

Intuit's

(INTU) - Get Report

Quicken

Web site has been seeping out to advertisers, and the company has moved rapidly to address the problem, the

Journal

reported. Intuit fell 1 11/16 to 46 9/16.

Immunex

(IMNX)

said the

Food and Drug Administration

has issued an "approvable letter" for its drug

Novantrone

, which is used to treat multiple forms of multiple sclerosis. Immunex said the letter follows a recommendation for approval made last month by the FDA's Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs Advisory Panel. Immunex bounced 1 15/16 to 220 15/16.

The Heard on the Street column in the

Journal

looks at Salomon Smith Barney's progress in extracting extra securities business from

Citicorp's

roster of banking clients. Both are units of

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

, created by the merger of Travelers Group and Citicorp in 1998.

Wall Street wants to know whether the year-old financial supermarket will become the new model for other banks and securities firms, the story says. Citigroup lost 1/8 to 51 1/2.