Company Report: Microsoft Launches Windows 2000, Sony Ends Sharply Higher on Intel Talks

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Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Report released its Windows 2000 product today. The company said it plans to launch the new operating system in China on schedule and is working with authorities to ensure it complies with restrictions on encryption technology.

Separately, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, told the

Financial Times

that the new operating system will give the company ammunition to go after rival

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

.

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said he expects 25% of its customers to have problems upgrading their software to

Windows 2000

. Microsoft rose 2 to 99 5/8.

Three IPOs made their trading debuts during today's session. For more on their pricing and underwriting information, check out

TheStreet.com's

Offerings and stock actions coverage.

Sony

(SNE) - Get Report

jumped 11 7/16 to 262 after it said it is in talks with

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

about a possible alliance in next-generation home appliances,

Reuters

reported. Intel shot up 2 13/16 to 110.

UPM-Kymmene

said it would buy rival

Champion International

(CHA) - Get Report

in a deal valuing Champion's equity at $6.5 billion. The new company will be based in Helsinki and be called Champion International. Champion International slipped 3/16 to 55 7/16.

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

said it would create an Internet portal with software maker

Commerce One

(CMRC)

to enable companies to do business with one another online. Citigroup fell 1 1/8 to 52 1/2 and Commerce One popped 5 to 189 1/4.

McGraw-Hill

(MHP)

stumbled 7/8 to 51 5/8 after it said it will sell Tower Group International it transportation logistics unit to

FedEx

(FDX) - Get Report

. Terms were not disclosed. FedEx skidded 13/16 to 35 5/8.

Shorewood Packaging

(SWD)

lifted 1 7/8, or 9.9%, to 20 3/4 after it said it accepted a $600 million acquisition offer from

International Paper

(IP) - Get Report

, in an attempt to thwart a $500 million hostile bid from rival

Chesapeake

(CSK)

. The transaction calls for IP to pay $21 a share for Shorewood, topping Chesapeake's hostile bid that valued the company at $17.25 a share. International Paper shed 11/16 to 42 1/2.

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.

)

Hewlett-Packard

(HWP)

lost 4 to 127 after it posted first-quarter earnings last night of 80 cents a share, beating the 23-analyst estimate of 78 cents but down from the year-ago 85 cents. The report did not include costs associated with its

Agilent

(A) - Get Report

spinoff. CEO Carly Fiorina said the company, which posted revenue of $11.7 billion, experienced growth in products and noted a turnaround in its

Unix

business, according to

Reuters

.

Today,

Credit Suisse First Boston

upped H-P's 2000 earnings view and said it sees upside in the numbers.

ABN Amro

raised Hewlett-Packard's fourth-quarter EPS view to $1.00 from 92 cents.

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

raised the stock to strong buy and set a target of 160.

Baker Hughes

(BHI)

edged up 1/16 to 25 3/8 after it posted a fourth-quarter loss of 3 cents a share, in line with the 31-analyst estimate but lower than the year-ago profit of 14 cents a share. The company said it plans to double 1999 operational earnings in 2000.and sees first-quarter results almost breaking even.

Cablevision

(CVC)

tumbled 2 5/8 to 68 3/8 after it posted a fourth-quarter loss of $1.27 a share, a penny narrower than the three-analyst expected loss, but wider than the year-ago loss of $1.22 a share, which includes items.

Entergy

(ETR) - Get Report

slipped 7/16 to 21 15/16 after it posted fourth-quarter earnings of 8 cents a share, in line with the eight-analyst estimate but down from the year-ago 79 cents a share. The company said it expects to continue an earnings growth path of 8% to 10% in 2000 and expects EPS in the range of $2.35 to $2.45, in line with estimates.

Fresh Del Monte

(FDP) - Get Report

tacked on 1/16 to 7 7/8 after it posted a fourth-quarter loss of 45 cents a share, a penny better than the five-analyst expected loss but wider than the year-ago loss of 8 cents.

JLG Industries

(JLG)

rose 5/8, or 7.7%, to 8 11/16 after it reported second-quarter earnings of 7 cents a share, above the 10-analyst estimate of 4 cents, but down from the year-ago 25 cents. The company authorized a repurchase of up to 5 million common shares.

Masco

(MAS) - Get Report

advanced 11/16 to 20 11/16 after it posted fourth-quarter earnings of 40 cents a share, a penny better than the 16-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 31 cents.

Provant

(POVT)

slid 5 3/4, or 44.2%, to 7 1/4 after warned investors that it would post third-quarter earnings below the six-analyst estimate of 22 cents a share. The company, which did give an estimated range for its earnings, said that it expects revenues to come in roughly 10% below the analyst forecast.

Saks

(SKS)

declined 1 7/16, or 11.9%, to 10 9/16 after it said it is combining home offices of its department stores operations in the upper Midwest and Southeast in a revamp to cut costs. Saks said the revamp will cuts costs by $15 million, though it estimates charges at $10 million on a post-tax basis.

York International

(YRK)

fell 5, or 21%, to 18 13/16 after it posted fourth-quarter earnings of 77 cents a share, a penny shy of the four-analyst estimate and down from the year-ago 81 cents a share.

Offerings and stock actions

Advanced Digital

(ADIC)

slid 2 1/16 to 66 11/16 after it said it approved a 2-for-1 split.

Bear Stearns

increased its price range to 75 to 80, from 65 to 70.

Aeroflex

(APX)

declined 1/16 to 8 13/16 after it said it will move to the

Nasdaq Stock Market

from the

New York Stock Exchange

and trade under the symbol "ARXX."

Elantec Semiconductor

(ELNT)

climbing 7/8 to 62 after it set a 2-for-1 stock split.

Mannesmann

(MNNSY)

, which is merging with

Vodafone AirTouch

(VOD) - Get Report

, said it has set an IPO for its engineering and automotive division in the "upcoming weeks." The IPO follows Vodafone's plan to spin off the division in order to focus on its telecoms business. Vodafone AirTouch bounced 2 7/16 to 53 1/4.

Park Place Entertainment's

(PPE)

chairman Stephen F. Bollenbach sold three million shares of the company's stock last week, exercising 75% of his existing stock options,

The Wall Street Journal

reported. The move prompted the company's biggest institutional shareholder to demand his resignation. The sale comes four months after Bollenbach sold about two million shares of the company, the story says. Park Place Entertainment moved up 5/16 to 10 7/16.

Analyst actions

Salomon Smith Barney's

new REIT analyst, Jonathan Litt, initiated coverage of the REIT sector with ratings on more than 50 companies.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

lowered its rating on

American Eagle

(AEOS)

to neutral from outperform. American Eagle declined 4 15/16, or 19%, to 20 15/16.

First Boston upped

Act Manufacturing

(ACTM)

to strong buy from buy. Act Manufacturing edged up 7/8 to 32 7/8.

Goldman Sachs raised

Cnet

(CNET) - Get Report

to the recommended for purchase list from market outperform. Cnet lifted 1 13/16 to 62 13/16.

J.P. Morgan

raised

Conoco

(COCA)

to buy from long-term buy. Conoco lost 5/8 to 21 1/8.

Bear Stearns started coverage of

Dycom

(DY) - Get Report

and

Mastec

(MTZ) - Get Report

with buy ratings. Dycom mounted 4 9/16, or 13.2%, to 39.

Salomon Smith Barney started coverage of

eToys

(ETYS)

as an outperform and set a price target of 20. eToys moved up 1 7/8, or 13.7%, to 15 1/2.

Merrill Lynch

raised its price target on

Gilat Satellite

(GILTF)

to 200. Gilat leaped 9 3/4, or 6.5%, to 159.

Merrill Lynch cut its rating on

Lan Chile

(LFL)

to near-term neutral from accumulate. Lan Chile retreated 1/4 to 9 3/4.

ABN Amro

raised

Lucent

(LU)

to buy from outperform. Lucent climbed 1 3/8 to 53 1/2.

Warburg Dillon Read

initiated coverage of

Molecular Devices

(MDCC)

with a strong buy rating and a price target of 90. Molecular Devices bounced 1 3/4 to 75 5/8.

Banc of America Securities

said analyst Mark McKechnie initiated research coverage on Canada-based software maker

724 Solutions

(SVNX)

with a strong buy rating and price target of 175. 724 Solutions shot up 18 1/8, or 16.4%, to 128 3/8.

Merrill upgraded its intermediate-term rating on

United Technologies

to buy from accumulate. United Technologies lifted 2 1/8 to 54 1/4.

Credit Lyonnais

upped

USA Networks

(USAI) - Get Report

to add from hold. USA Networks slipped 7/16 to 48 1/8.

First Boston analyst Wendell H. Laidley resumed coverage of

Vitria Technology

(VITR)

as a strong buy. Vitria Technology gained 7 5/16 to 175 5/16.

Miscellany

Discussions are underway at

Coca-Cola

(KO) - Get Report

on ways to speed the transfer of power to chairman-elect

Douglas Daft

from its current chairman,

Douglas Ivester

. The shift in power could be decided as early as today, the

Journal

reported. Coca-Cola lost 1 1/4 to 52 5/16.

In response to government probes over its use of consumers personal information,

DoubleClick

(DCLK)

said it does not and will not use sensitive data in the background data it compiles on Web surfers. DoubleClick plummeted 15 3/4, or 14.7%, to 90 3/4.

Four Seasons

hopped 2 to 52 1/8 after it said it planned to open seven more properties around the world over the next seven years.

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

lifted 8 1/8, or 6.6%, to 130 after it said its co-founder and vice chairman Andrew Viterbi will retire next month when he turns 65.

Rite Aid

(RAD) - Get Report

is the subject of an investigation of possible criminal fraud in connection with its past accounting practices, the

Journal

reported, citing people familiar with the situation. The investigation has been launched by the U.S. attorney in Harrisburg, Pa., the story says. The stock shed 1/2, or 7%, to 6 5/8

The "Heard on the Street" column in the

Journal

examines the pros and cons of "concept" stocks, highflying stocks powered largely by optimism about business concepts and future prospects. The story says prior phases of speculation for these types of stocks, 1969 and 1972 particularly, preceded significant market downturns. On the other hand, the story says, despite the risk and lofty valuations, it doesn't pay to try and fight them in this market. The story mentions

VerticalNet

(VERT)

,

Leap Wireless

(LWIN)

and

Be

(BEOS)

. VerticalNet bounced 2 1/4 to 208 1/4, Leap Wireless sank 3 13/16 to 88 1/16, while Be shed 1 3/16, or 6.4%, to 17 5/16.