(Earnings estimates from First Call/Thomson Financial; earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified. New highs and lows on a closing basis unless otherwise specified.)

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

helped pull the tech-laden

Nasdaq Composite Index

out of the doldrums to end with a 71-point gain at 4167. The chipmaker rose 2 13/16 to 101 9/16 after it announced it would build a $2 billion chip plant in Arizona that will use large, dinner-plate size silicon wafers.

Honorable mentions for effort at reversing an index slump go to

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

which jumped 6 3/8 to 158 3/8 and

Disney

(DIS) - Get Report

, up 4 3/16, or 12.6%, to 37 1/2. The stocks accounted for a large portion of a small late-day gain in the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

, which ended the day up 22 to 11,030.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Ask Jeeves

(ASKJ)

jumped 4 5/8 to 104 after saying it is buying

Direct Hit Technologies

, a privately held company based in Natick, Mass. Under the deal, 5.12 million unregistered shares of Ask Jeeves' common stock will be exchanged for all outstanding shares, options and warrants of Direct Hit.

For additional coverage of this

story, check out a separate story from the

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com

joint newsroom.

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

,

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Report

and

PricewaterhouseCoopers

said they are teaming up to offer content management solutions and e-business strategies for the media and entertainment industries. Sun Microsystems gained 3 9/16 to 82 5/8 and Oracle rose 2 3/16 to 56 7/16.

For additional coverage of the

alliance, check out a separate story from the

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com

joint newsroom.

Williams Communications

(WCG) - Get Report

gained 1 11/16 to 36 5/16 after it said it signed a $200 million supply deal with

Teleglobe

(TGO)

Shares of Teleglobe tacked on 2 5/16, or 8.9%, to 28 7/16.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

added 5/8 to 51 1/8 after it said its fourth-quarter operating earnings were 57 cents a share, down from the year-ago 68 cents. It attributed the drop primarily to the impact of its acquisition of

TCI

. Operating earnings came in at $1.84 billion. The 24-analyst estimate called for the company to earn 55 cents.

American Home Products

(AHP)

dropped 2 1/16 to 40 1/2 after it posted fourth-quarter earnings of 45 cents a share, in line with the 19-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 44 cents.

Avery Dennison

(AVY) - Get Report

rose 15/16 to 68 1/4 after it posted fourth-quarter earnings of 67 cents a share, beating the nine-analyst estimate of 63 cents and up from the year-ago 54 cents.

Borden Chemicals

(BCU)

inched up 1/16 to 5 15/16 after it reported a fourth-quarter loss of 6 cents a share, narrower than the single-analyst expected loss of 11 cents and the year-ago loss of 42 cents, which includes a charge.

Burlington Northern

(BNI)

rose 1/16 to 23 1/2 after it reported fourth-quarter earnings of 69 cents a share, beating the 11-analyst estimate of 67 cents and the year-ago 63 cents.

Coca-Cola Enterprises

(CCE)

popped 2 3/8, or 10.2%, to 25 9/16 after it reported a fourth-quarter loss of 4 cents a share, narrower than the 18-analyst estimate of a 7-cent loss and the year-ago 9-cent loss.

Convergys

(CVG)

lost 2, or 5.6%, to 33 3/4 after it reported earnings of 28 cents a share, a penny better than the 13-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 22 cents.

Cypress Semiconductor

(CY) - Get Report

lost 3/16 to 36 3/8 after it posted fourth-quarter earnings of 32 cents a share, beating the 12-analyst estimate of 30 cents and up from the year-ago 2-cent loss.

Equifax

(EFX) - Get Report

gained 1 3/8, or 6.9%, to 21 1/4 after it posted fourth-quarter earnings of 45 cents a share, in line with the eight-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 31 cents.

ExxonMobil

(XOM) - Get Report

slipped 3/16 to 84 1/16 after it posted fourth-quarter operating earnings of 77 cents a share, ahead of the 24-analyst estimate of 75 cents and up from the year-ago 58 cents.

Gentex

(GNTX) - Get Report

fell 1 1/2 to 30 17/32 after it reported fourth-quarter earnings of 23 cents a share, a penny better than the 13-analyst estimate and in line with the year-ago 23 cents.

ITT Industries

(IIN) - Get Report

rose 1 7/16 to 32 1/16 after it reported fourth-quarter earnings of 77 cents a share, in line with the 10-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 59 cents.

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report

gained 1 9/16 to 85 1/4 after it posted fourth-quarter earnings of 56 cents a share, a penny better than the 23-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 50 cents.

Marine Drilling

(MRL)

lost 1 to 23 after it reported fourth-quarter earnings of 4 cents a share, missing the 27-analyst estimate by a penny and down from the year-ago 13 cents.

Merrill Lynch

(MER)

popped 5, or 6.6%, to 80 11/16 after it posted fourth-quarter earnings of $1.80 a share, well-ahead of the 11-analyst estimate of $1.39 and up from the year-ago 86 cents. The Heard on the Street column in

The Wall Street Journal

said that while Merrill's online trading program, Unlimited Advantage, has attracted a lot of money -- as much as $65 billion -- analysts say the growth may be less impressive because more than two-thirds of total assets aren't coming from new clients but from existing Merrill customers.

For additional coverage of Merrill's

earnings, check out a separate story from the

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com

joint newsroom.

Neuberger Berman

(NEU) - Get Report

fell 11/16 to 25 3/16 after it posted fourth-quarter pro forma earnings of 64 cents a share, beating the seven-analyst estimate of 62 cents and up from the year-ago 61 cents.

Peco Energy

(PE) - Get Report

lost 5/8 to 40 after it reported fourth-quarter earnings of 79 cents, well above the 13-analyst estimate of 63 cents and the year-ago earnings of 29 cents. The company attributed the increase to lower depreciation expenses, the benefits of transition bond issuance and the associated lower shares outstanding and the positive contribution of the Clinton Nuclear Power Station.

Pepsi Bottling Group

(PBG)

gained 3/4 to 18 7/8 after it posted fourth-quarter earnings of 6 cents a share, which included a 25-cent gain. The 17-analyst estimate was a 22-cent loss. The report was up from the year-ago pro-forma loss of $1.34.

Praxair

(PX)

lost 4 13/16, or 9.9%, to 43 15/16 after it posted fourth-quarter earnings of 70 cents a share, in line with the 12-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 66 cents.

Quorum Health Group

(QHGI)

slipped 1/16 to 10 7/8 after it reported second-quarter earnings of 18 cents a share, in line with the 14-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 5 cents.

Rayovac

(ROV)

fell 1/2 to 21 7/8 after it reported first-quarter earnings of 48 cents a share, beating the seven-analyst estimate of 46 cents and up from the year-ago 34 cents.

Station Casinos

(STN) - Get Report

slipped 3/4 to 19 after it posted fourth-quarter earnings of 35 cents a share, beating the 17-analyst estimate of 33 cents but down from the year-ago 48 cents.

Technitrol

(TNL)

lost 7/16 to 47 3/16 after it posted fourth-quarter earnings of 80 cents a share, beating the four-analyst estimate of 77 cents and up from the year-ago 50 cents.

Tellabs

(TLAB)

shed 9 5/8, or 13.9%, to 59 1/2 after it posted fourth-quarter earnings of 41 cents a share, a penny better than both the 27-analyst estimate and the year-ago report.

Textron

(TXT) - Get Report

lost 5/8 to 60 1/4 after it reported fourth-quarter earnings of $1.12 per share, a penny better than the 10-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 74 cents.

Washington Post

(WPO)

lost 4 3/4 to 562 after it reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $6.09 compared with year-ago earnings of $6.30. The eight-analyst estimate called for earnings of $7.23.

Xerox

(XRX) - Get Report

inched up 3/16 to 21 15/16 after it reported fourth-quarter earnings of 41 cents a share, a penny ahead of the lowered 13-analyst estimate, in the wake of the company's profit warning last month. In the year-ago period, Xerox earned 84 cents.

The company also said it will take a "substantial" restructuring charge, most likely in the first quarter. Xerox also reiterated its previous outlook "that some issues could reduce earnings in the first quarter proportionately to the fourth-quarter decline and, to a lesser extent, in the second quarter, followed by meaningful growth later in the year."

For more on Xerox's earnings, take a look at the

story written by

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com

joint newsroom.

Offerings and stock actions

Fortune Brands

(FO)

said it has set up to a 10 million-share stock repurchasing program. Shares of Fortune Brands slid 7/16 to 29 1/4.

Rex Stores

(RSC)

added 3/8 to 13 11/16 after it said it added 1.5 million shares to its current share buyback plan.

Regent Communications

(RGCI)

gained 3 1/2, or 41.2%, to 12 in its trading debut.

Prudential Securities

priced the 16 million-share IPO at $8.50 a share.

Sawtek

(SAWS)

dropped 3 7/8, or 5.3%, to 69 after it said it is offering 4 million shares of its common stock at $72.875 a share to the public market.

Analyst actions

J.P. Morgan

rolled out coverage on

Aracruz

(ARC) - Get Report

with a buy rating. Shares of Aracruz shed 3/8 to 77 1/16.

A.G. Edwards

sliced shares of

DQE

(DQE)

to maintain from accumulate and cut shares of

Avista

(AVA) - Get Report

to reduce from maintain. Shares of DQE lost 1/16 to 45, while Avista plummeted 17, or 27.4%, to 45.

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

raised its price target on

About.com

(BOUT) - Get Report

to 150 from 100. The firm also upped its 2000 earnings estimate to a loss of $1.85 from a loss of $2.94. Shares of About.com shot up 26 3/16, or 41.7%, to 89.

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

upgraded the shares of

Bemis

(BMS) - Get Report

to buy from market outperform. Shares of Bemis skidded 11/16 to 29 13/16.

Credit Suisse First Boston

upped its rating on

Carnival

(CCL) - Get Report

to a strong buy from a buy. Shares of Carnival stumbled 7/8 to 42 1/4.

PaineWebber

sliced its price target on

Compuware

(CPWR)

to 32 from 41. Shares of Compuware slipped 4 1/4, or 16%, to 22 1/4.

Merrill Lynch raised its intermediate-term rating on

Disney

(DIS) - Get Report

to an accumulate from a neutral.

Goldman Sachs

raised its fiscal 2000 estimates on the stock to 76 cents a share from 68 cents and added it to its purchase list. Shares of Disney gained 4 3/16, or 12.5%, to 37 1/2.

Wachovia Securities

rolled out coverage of

Eltrax Systems

(ELTX)

with a strong buy rating. Shares of Eltrax Systems popped 2 1/4, or 22.2%, to 12 7/16.

Credit Suisse First Boston

initiated coverage of

Engage Technologies

(ENGA)

with a buy rating and a price target of 170. Shares of Engage Technologies climbed 9, or 8.1%, to 119.

Lehman Brothers cut its price target on

Homestake Mining

(HM)

to 6 1/2 from 8. Shares of Homestake Mining were losing 3/16 to 6 7/16.

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown upped its rating on

Heartland Express

(HTLD) - Get Report

to buy from market perform. Shares of Heartland Express tacked on 1/4 to 13 3/4.

Bear Stearns

upped its rating on

Lexmark

(LXK)

to buy from attractive. In addition, Salomon Smith Barney upped its rating to outperform from hold. Shares of Lexmark climbed 4 to 96 1/2.

Merrill Lynch upgraded shares of

Magna International

(MGA) - Get Report

to accumulate from neutral. Shares of Magna International slid 7/8 to 42 1/4.

Robertson Stephens

started coverage of

Mechanical Technology

(MKTY)

with a buy rating. Shares of Mechanical Technology jumped 12 1/16, or 22.7%, to 65 3/4.

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown upgraded its rating on

Mirage Resorts

(MIR)

to buy from market performer. Shares of Mirage Resorts stumbled 1/2 to 12 5/8.

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown sliced its rating on

PSS World

(PSSI)

to market perform. Shares of PSS World lost 2 3/4, or 28.3%, to 6 15/16.

Warburg Dillon Read

downgraded its rating on

Sola International

(SOL) - Get Report

to hold from strong buy. Shares shed 4 5/16, or 41%, to 6 3/16.

Merrill Lynch sliced its rating on

Sykes Enterprises

(SYKE) - Get Report

to neutral from buy after the company issued a fourth-quarter profit warning. Shares of Sykes plummeted 23 13/16, or 50.9%, to 23.

PaineWebber

raised its fiscal 2000 EPS estimates on

Texas Instruments

(TXN) - Get Report

to $2.35 from $2.28 a share. Shares of Texas Instruments moved up 3 to 113 7/8.

Credit Suisse First Boston

rolled out coverage of

24/7 Media

(TFSM)

with a buy rating and a price target of 90. Shares of 24/7 Media popped 2 to 61 5/8.

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown raised its rating on

Univision

(UVN)

to strong buy from buy. Shares of Univision lifted 1 11/16 to 105 11/16.

Wachovia Securities

upped its rating on

Waters

(WAT) - Get Report

to strong buy from long-term buy. Shares of Waters leaped 18 7/8, or 37.6%, to 69 1/16.

Miscellany

Standard & Poor's

said

Harley-Davidson

(HDI)

and

Biogen

(BGEN)

will join the

S&P 500

after the close of regular trading on Friday, replacing

Fleetwood Enterprises

(FLE)

and

Foster Wheeler

(FWC)

.

Shares of Harley-Davidson moved up 4 5/16, or 6%, to 75 11/16 and Biogen popped 10 11/16, or 12.5%, to 95 7/8, while Fleetwood Enterprises stumbled 13/16 to 18 1/2. Foster Wheeler retreated 15/16, or 10.2%, to 8 1/4.

Who might be next to zoom into the index? Let us know by choosing one of the top five stocks, by market cap, that are eligible for the S&P but are not currently in it. Or submit your own nomination on our

message board.

Who do you think will be next?

Veritas Software (VRTS:Nasdaq)

Level 3 Communications (LVLT:Nasdaq)

Cox Communications (COX:NYSE)

Qwest Communications (Q:NYSE)

JDS Uniphase (JDSU:Nasdaq)

DaimlerChrysler's

(DCX)

senior vice president of sales and service, John MacDonald, told DaimlerChrysler dealers Sunday that he expects that the company's new minivan will not obtain the highest crash-survival rating from the

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

. Shares of DaimlerChrysler shed 1 11/16 to 68.

Research Frontiers'

(REFR) - Get Report

stock jumped 4 3/4, or 20%, to 28 1/2 on no particular news.

Ticketmaster.com

, which is part of

Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch

(TMCS)

, said consumers coming to its Web site will soon be able to buy, download and print bar-coded event tickets from their PCs. Shares of Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch moved up 2 11/16, or 6.6%, to 43 5/8.

The nation's biggest retailers, led by the biggest retailer in the world,

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

, will seek $8.1 billion in damages from

Visa USA

and

MasterCard International

for alleged antitrust violations in the debit card industry, the

Journal

reported. Shares of Wal-Mart climbed 1 3/4 to 61 1/8.