Financial services group ING Barings (ING) - Get Report said it would buy ReliaStar Financial (RLR) , the eighth-largest publicly held U.S. life insurer, in a $6.1 billion deal including $1 billion of existing ReliaStar debt. ING agreed to pay $54 for each ReliaStar share, and said it expected after-tax synergy benefits of $25 million in 2001, rising to $65 million by 2005.

ING Barings gained 1 7/8 to 55 13/16, while ReliaStar hopped 6 3/4, or 15.3%, to 50 3/4.


(DIS) - Get Report

pulled its ABC network from media company

Time Warner's


cable systems in 11 cities around the U.S. after the companies could not come to terms on a new contract. Disney lost 1 3/16 to 42 7/16, while Time Warner slipped 15/16 to 89.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

America Online




entered a five-year marketing agreement under which will be the leading provider of real estate listings on the online service. The deal is valued at more than $200 million. added 4 5/8, or 25.3%, to 22 7/8, while America Online dropped 3/8 to 59 5/8.

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report



(LZ) - Get Report

said they are in a pact to sell products managing diesel fluids. General Electrics lifted 2 1/8 to 159 3/8, while Lubrizol moved down 1/4 to 25 3/8.





(T) - Get Report

AT&T Broadband unit have agreed to form an alliance to enable customers to print content from their television sets, the companies announced. Hewlett-Packard rose 4 to 139, while AT&T traded up 2 7/8, or 6.3%, to 48 3/4.


(INTC) - Get Report

and content management products developer

Excalibur Technologies


said they've signed an agreement to form a new company that will enable owners of "branded high-value content," such as sports and entertainment, to produce and sell audio and video content over the Internet.


reported terms of the agreement call for Intel to contribute its Interactive Media Services division and invest $150 million in exchange for 60 percent of the new company's equity. Excalibur will combine its entire business operations with those of the new company, with Excalibur stockholders receiving 40 percent ownership in the new company in exchange for their Excalibur stock. Excalibur shareholders will receive one share of stock in the new company for each share they hold of Excalibur. Other financial details were not disclosed. Intel edged up 5/16 to 127 1/8, while Excalibur staggered 1 5/8 to 33 7/8.



, the manufacturer of specialty chemicals, said it has ended negotiations for a possible merger with specialty-materials maker


(DEX) - Get Report

. ISP ascended 3/16 to 6 1/16, while Dexter slumped 7/16 to 54 7/16.

Dutch group


said it had reached an agreement with

Rexall Sundown


to pay $24 a share, or a total of $1.8 billion, for the U.S. vitamin and nutritional supplement maker. Rexall Sundown boosted 4 3/16, or 21.8%, to 23 7/16.

Safeguard Scientifics

(SFE) - Get Report

said it has raised $50 million each from





(IBM) - Get Report

and formed strategic relationships with both companies. Safeguard Scientifics gained 7 1/8, or 16.9%, to 49 1/4; Compaq moved up 1/16 to 29 9/16; IBM increased 3/8 to 111 7/8.



said it will buy

Shared Medical Systems


, a healthcare software and service provider, for $2.1 billion. Shared Medical System jumped 29 3/16, or 70.4%, to 70 5/8.

Chemical company



said it closed its $425 million deal to sell its B-Line Systems unit to

Cooper Industries


, an electric products maker. The unit brought in $253 million in revenue in 1999. Sigma-Aldrich decreased 5/16 to 29 1/16.

A group of utility companies in the Pacific Northwest plans to form a stand-alone transmission company to which they propose transferring control of their powerline assets,

The Wall Street Journal

reported in its online edition. The new company would have a book value of $1.8 billion. According to the story, the involved companies are:


(AVA) - Get Report


Montana Power

(MTP) - Get Report




unit Portland General Electric and

Sierra Pacific Resources


units Nevada Power and Sierra Pacific Power.

Avista lifted 1 3/16 to 30 11/16, Montana Power fell 7/16 to 43 5/8, Enron gained 2 5/8 to 72 5/16 and Sierra Pacific Resources climbed 5/16 to 15 7/16.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews


Earnings estimates from First Call/Thomson Financial; earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified.


Tyson Foods

(TSN) - Get Report

posted second-quarter earnings of 16 cents a share, beating the 10-analyst estimate of 14 cents but down from the year-ago 28 cents a share. Tyson Foods stayed flat at 10 7/16.

Offerings and stock actions

Fiber optic manufacturer


(APH) - Get Report

slipped 3 15/16, or 6.1%, to 59 13/16 after it reported that it has filed for a secondary offering of 6 million shares of its common stock. Selling stockholders include affiliates of

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts

and certain company management.

The board of

PC Connection


hopped 7 3/16, or 15%, to 55 1/16 after it approved a 3-for-2 stock split today.

Analyst actions


Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette


King Pharma



Wells Fargo

(WFC) - Get Report

on its focus list. King Pharma gained 5 5/8, or 11.3%, to 55 and Wells Fargo tacked on 1/16 to 41 1/8.



: UP at

ABN Amro

to top pick from buy. Lucent advanced 1 3/16 to 63 3/8.

SG Cowen

said it named


TheStreet Recommends


as number one action idea for this week. Scientific-Atlanta bounced 4 1/16, or 6.2%, to 69 1/8.


ING Barings


KLM Royal Dutch Airlines


to sell from hold after the carrier cancelled its alliance with


. ING said KLM would lose about 200 million euros' worth of synergy gains over a three-year period. KLM Royal Dutch edged up 3/4 to 17 13/16.



: DOWN to buy from strong buy at SG Cowen. Solectron added 2 9/16, or 6.4%, to 40 9/16.


Alamosa PCS


: NEW market perform at

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

and NEW buy at

Salomon Smith Barney

with a price target of 37. Alamosa PCS was unchanged at 28 1/2.

A number of brokerages initiated coverage on


(MET) - Get Report


Goldman Sachs

added the stock to its U.S. recommended-for-purchase list.

J.P. Morgan

started coverage with a buy and price targets at 20.

UBS Warburg

started coverage with a buy.

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette started MetLife with a buy and a 12-month target of 22.

Credit Suisse First Boston

started coverage with a buy.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

started coverage with an outperform and a target of 22.

Merrill Lynch

started coverage with a near-term accumulate, long-term buy.

Banc of America

started coverage with a strong buy and a 12-month target of 22.

MetLife hopped 1 3/8, or 8.3%, to 17 15/16.

Krispy Kreme


: NEW buy at Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown and NEW long-term buy at JP Morgan with price target of 45. Krispy Kreme slipped 3 11/16, or 85, to 42 5/16.

Oratec Interventions


: NEW buy; price target: 45 at J.P. Morgan. Oratec Interventions tacked on 1/16 to 34 1/8.



: NEW buy at

W.R. Hambrecht

, price target: 35. Vyyo bounced 3 5/8, or 17.1%, to 24 3/4.

Group Moves

UBS Warburg

re-initiated coverage of

MCI WorldCom





MCI WorldCom: re-started with a strong buy, price target: 85. MCI WorldCom added 1/2 to 45 15/16.

Sprint: re-started at buy. Sprint hopped 1 15/16 to 63 7/16.

Banc of America

made rating changes on four retail companies:

Jones Apparel


: DOWN to market perform from buy. Jones Apparel shed 1 3/16 to 28 1/2.

Liz Claiborne


: DOWN to market perform from buy. Liz Claiborne added 7/16 to 46 3/4.


(GPS) - Get Report

: UP to strong buy from buy. Gap climbed 1 5/16 to 38 1/16.

Payless Shoesource


: DOWN to market perform from buy. Payless Shoesource lifted 7/16 to 55 9/16.


Defense contractors

General Dynamics

(GD) - Get Report



(BA) - Get Report

lost a

U.S. Supreme Court

appeal for $1.2 billion in damages today. The appeal was part of a long legal battle between the companies and the Pentagon regarding a contract for A-12 radar-evading aircraft. General Dynamics bounced 7/16 to 58 15/16 and Boeing lost 5/8 to 39 1/16.

As expected, the government

asked a federal judge on Friday to break up


(MSFT) - Get Report

into two separate companies to curb its monopoly power in key software.

Thomas Weisel

analyst David Readerman lowered his Microsoft "bust-up" price target to the 50-to-55 range, down from the previous 65 per share following the November 1999 findings of fact by U.S.

Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson

. Microsoft jumped 3 11/16, or 5.2%, to 73 7/16.

The Heard on the Street column in the



George Soros

and other large hedge fund managers have had their fair share of difficulties, while a new breed of smaller specialized hedge funds is scoring big, indicating the game has changed. According to the story, it has become more difficult to take advantage of overlooked efficiencies such as irregularities in exchange rates. As a result, many large hedge fund managers shifted into stocks, only to find their advantage reduced since the same information is widely available to even small investors.


separate coverage of Soros fund manager

Stanley Druckenmiller's recently announced departure from the giant Quantum hedge fund.