Earnings reports dominated a fair share of market action today.

Network Solutions

(NSOL)

jumped 36 5/16, or 14.2%, to a record 292 5/16 after it posted fourth-quarter earnings of 25 cents a share, ahead of the 11-analyst estimate of 23 cents and the year-ago 11 cents.

UnitedHealth

(UNH) - Get Report

looked robust, gaining 3 15/16, or 7.3%, to 57 7/8 following its fourth-quarter earnings report. The company posted earnings of 88 cents, ahead of the 21-analyst estimate of 83 cents, and up from the year-ago 67 cents.

On the flipside,

UnumProvident

(UNM) - Get Report

were looking a bit ill, falling 10 1/16, or 39.2%, to 15 5/8 after the company posted 24% drop in fourth-quarter profits last night. Negative research compounded the slide.

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

,

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

and

J.P. Morgan

all downgraded the stock.

A number of IPOs turned in solid debut performances as well (see table below).

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Bank of Scotland

CEO Peter Burt told employees that the bank lost in its offer for

National Westminster Bank

(NW)

.

Royal Bank of Scotland

is expected to prevail as the winner in the takeover battle for NatWest. NatWest ADRs dropped 6 3/4, or 5.9%, to 108.

CMGI

(CMGI)

lost 2 11/16 to 117 13/16 after it said it has agreed to buy

uBid

(UBID)

for $407 million in stock. uBid popped 3 11/32, or 12.5%, to 30 1/32. The deal calls for CMGI to issue 0.2628 of its share for each uBid share.

Cooper Industries

(CBE)

slipped 7/16 to 36 3/8 after it said it will acquire privately held

Eagle Electric

to complement its wiring device product line.

Duke Energy

(DUK) - Get Report

lost 3/4 to 51 3/16 and

Williams

(WMB) - Get Report

gained 1 5/16 to 42 1/4 after the companies said they will form a joint pipeline project in Florida.

Equifax

(EFX) - Get Report

gained 7/16 to 21 15/16 after it said it entered a $260 million deal to acquire

R.L. Polk

. The transaction calls for Equifax to buy the Direct Marketing, Data Information Services/Polk Verity, Compusearch/Prospects Unlimited of Polk Canada and Polk City Directory units of R.L. Polk.

Flowserve

(FLS) - Get Report

lost 1 1/4, or 8.4%, to 13 9/16 after it said it entered a $775 million cash deal to acquire

Ingersoll-Rand's

(IR) - Get Report

Ingersoll-Dresser Pumps

. Ingersoll-Rand lost 2 9/16, or 6%, to 40 3/16. According to Flowserve, the purchase would either not affect or be slightly dilutive to fiscal 2000 earnings, before contributing to the following year's report.

Williams Communications

(WCG) - Get Report

climbed 13/16 to 42 3/8 after it said that it entered a deal with Canada-based

Teleglobe

to broaden its optical network.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

(

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.

)

Disney

(DIS) - Get Report

slipped 3/4 to 36 15/16 after it reported first-quarter pro forma earnings after yesterday's close of 25 cents a share, before the retained interest in its Internet portal

Go.com

(GO) - Get Report

. The result edged out the 16-analyst estimate of 20 cents a share, and the year-ago pro forma 23 cents.

Chairman

Michael Eisner

said he does not see Disney becoming an Internet/entertainment company like

America Online

(AOL)

and

Time Warner

(TWX)

, saying Disney is already large enough and has strong enough content.

Meanwhile

Go.com

posted a narrower-than-expected pro forma loss of 30 cents a share, compared with the two-analyst estimate of a loss of 47 cents. The year-ago loss was 12 cents a share. Go.com lost 1 to 27.

For more details on Go.com's

earnings, see coverage from

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com's

joint newsroom.

MCI WorldCom

(WCOM)

rose 1 11/16 to 49 13/16 after it posted fourth-quarter earnings of 42 cents a share, a penny ahead of the 24-analyst estimate and above the year-ago 15 cents. The company denied it made any concessions to European regulators regarding its planned acquisition of

Sprint

(FON)

. MCI also said it remains comfortable with analysts' 2000 earnings estimates and expects its annual revenues to increase 13.5%.

In other earnings news:

Offerings and stock actions

Hauppauge Digital

(HAUP)

popped 16 5/8, or 28.7%, to 74 5/8 after it set a 2-for-1 stock split.

Arvin Industries

(ARV)

inched up 1/16 to 20 3/8 after it said it set a 1 million-share repurchasing program.

NS Group

(NSS) - Get Report

added 1/2, or 5.9%, to 8 15/16 after it said it authorized a 2 million-share buyback plan.

Radiant Systems

(RADS)

gained 1 to 53 1/2 after it announced a 3-for-2 stock split.

Radio One

(ROIA)

lost 1 5/8 to 86 after it said it would file with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

for a 5 million-share secondary offering.

Terayon

(TERN)

slipped 1/8 to 151 3/8 after it set a 2-for-1 stock spilt.

Universal Foods

(UFC)

rose 1 1/16, or 5.9%, to 19 1/16 after saying it will buy back up to 5 million of its shares.

Analyst actions

J.P. Morgan

downgraded its rating on

Allstate

(ALL) - Get Report

to market perform from long-term buy. It also lowered its 2000 earnings estimate for the company to $2.55 from $2.80 per share. Shares of Allstate edged up 9/16 to 20 1/2.

As noted above, the firm also downgraded UnumProvident to market perform from buy. DLJ downgraded the stock to buy from top pick and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter axed UnumProvident's rating to outperform from strong buy.

ING Barings

launched coverage of

Activision

(ATVI) - Get Report

,

Electronic Arts

(ERTS)

,

Midway Games

(MWY)

,

Take-Two

(TTWO) - Get Report

and

THQ

(THQI)

as buys.

Shares of Activism declined 1/2 to 14 7/16 and Electronic Arts were popping 5 3/4, or 7.1%, to 86, while Midway Games shed 1/8 to 15 7/16. Take-Two slid 7/16 to 14 1/8 and THQ retreated 5/8 to 18 1/4.

PaineWebber

raised its price target on

Chase Manhattan

(CMB)

to 115 from 110, while lifting its 2000 earnings estimates to $6.35 from $6.15 a share. Shares of Chase edged up 1/4 to 83 1/8.

PaineWebber raised

Fox Entertainment's

(FOX) - Get Report

price target to 37 from 30.

News Corp.'s

(NWS) - Get Report

target was lifted to 65 from 60. Shares of News Corp. lifted 5/16 to 58 5/16.

Wit SoundView

raised its price target on

Globix

(GBIX)

to 100 from 34. Shares of Globix shot up 5 1/8, or 13.5%, to 42 7/8.

Goldman Sachs

sliced its fiscal 2000 earnings estimates on

IDX Systems

(IDXC)

to 3 cents from 32 cents a share. Shares of IDX Systems lost 7 7/8, or 18.3%, to 36 1/2.

Bear Stearns

started coverage of

NBC Internet

(NBCI)

with a buy rating and a price target of 100. Shares of NBCi skidded 1/4 to 70 1/2.

Merrill Lynch

upgraded

Parker Hannifin

(PH) - Get Report

to near-term accumulate from neutral. Shares of Parker Hannifin slipped 7/8 to 37 13/16.

Warburg Dillon Read

initiated coverage of

Phillips Petroleum

(P)

with a hold rating and a price target of 42. The firm also launched coverage on

Occidental Petroleum

(OXY) - Get Report

at a buy with a price target of 25. Shares of Phillips Petroleum fell 1/8 to 38 and Occidental Petroleum shed 1/16 to 18 15/16.

Credit Suisse First Boston

upgraded

C.H. Robinson

(CHRW) - Get Report

to strong buy from buy and set a low-60's price target. Shares of C.H. Robinson finished the day at 47 3/16.

ING Barings launched coverage of

3DO

(THDO)

at a strong buy with a price target of 18. Shares of 3DO added 5/8, or 6.4%, to 10 9/16.

Goldman Sachs upgraded

Temple-Inland

(TIN)

to trading buy from market outperform. Shares of Temple-Inland bounced 2 1/8 to 54 3/4.

SG Cowen

analyst Peter Mirsky started coverage of magazine publisher

TV Guide

(TVGIA)

with a strong buy rating and a 12- to 18-month price target of 66 to 72. Shares of TV Guide lost 2 1/4, or 5.8%, to 39 1/4.

Warburg Dillon Read downgraded

United Payors

(UPUP)

to hold from strong buy on valuation, the firm said. Shares of United Payors finished the day at 25 7/8.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter resumed coverage of

Vodafone

(VOD) - Get Report

as a strong buy. Shares of Vodafone tacked on 3 1/4, or 6.1%, to 56.

ING Barings initiated coverage of

Watson Electronics

(WPI)

with an outperform rating. Shares of Watson Electronics slipped 1/16 to 42 3/8.

Miscellany

Berkshire Hathaway

(BRK.A) - Get Report

said rumors that CEO

Warren Buffett

is sick are "100% false," according to

Reuters

. It also said it had no plans for a stock buyback.

The statement, which was unusual for the quiet company, apparently was spurred by comments on message boards over the past couple of days that Buffett was seriously ill.

The

European Commission

said that it would conduct further probes involving

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

, in addition to its investigation of Windows 2000 antitrust issues. Shares of Microsoft moved up 1 3/4 to 106.

United Airlines

parent

UAL

(UAL) - Get Report

said it launched a fare sale with price reductions of up to 40%. Shares of United Airlines skidded 1 3/16 to 51 5/16.