Qwest Communications'

(Q)

CEO is planning to meet next week with

U S West's

(USW)

chairman to discuss their merger in light of the fact that the deal is threatened by a possible bid from

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

,

The Wall Street Journal

reported.

The newspaper said, citing people familiar with the situation, that Deutsche Telekom's CEO is encouraging both Qwest and U S West to iron out their differences over a potential get-together of one or both companies with Deutsche Telekom.

Separately, U S West urged Qwest to reveal its role in its supposed merger talks with Deutsche Telekom and said it would hold Qwest responsible if their $36 billion deal falls through. Deutsche Telekom popped 1 9/16 to 98 5/8 and U S West gained 3 1/4 to 75 1/4, while Qwest jumped 4 5/16, or 7.1%, to 64 5/16.

Shared Medical Systems

(SMS)

said it is uninterested in a merger with

Eclipsys

(ECLP)

. The statement comes in response to Eclipsys' $2 billion takeover offer yesterday. Shared Medical soared 23 1/2, or 61.4%, to 61 3/4 and Eclipsys fell 1 3/4, or 6.1%, to 26 7/8.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

PMC-Sierra

(PMCS)

leaped 15 9/16, or 8.3%, to 201 after it said it would acquire two closely held semiconductor companies,

AANetcom

and

Extreme Packet Devices

for $1.3 billion in stock.

An acquisition offer sent

Manor Care

(HCR) - Get Report

shares jumping 2 13/16, or 28.4%, to 12 11/16. The company said it was accepting additional from other interested parties.

Unilever

said it was launching an e-commerce purchasing system with

Ariba

(ARBA)

. Ariba shot up 30 5/16, or 10.1%, to 330.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

(

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

)

Bristol-Myers

(BMY) - Get Report

slid 2 1/4 to 50 7/16 after it said it plans to meet its 2000 growth goals, despite the setback for its Taxol drug. On Wednesday, a federal judge invalidated key provisions of patents protecting the cancer drug.

Delphi Automotive Systems

(DPH)

was unchanged at 15 7/8 after it said it expects to grow its non-automotive business by nearly 70% to more than $700 million over the next three to five years.

Healtheon/WebMD

(HLTH)

declined 6 9/16, or 11.2%, to 51 15/16 after it reported a fourth-quarter loss of 42 cents a share, narrower than the 11-analyst expected loss of 55 cents, and the year-ago loss of 25 cents.

Tandy's

(TAN) - Get Report

RadioShack

tacked on 3/4 to 40 7/8 after it said February same-store sales were up 14%.

Offerings and stock actions

Medarex

(MEDX)

, a biopharmaceutical company, said it will sell a little more than 2 million shares of stock in a follow-on public offering at $172 a share. Medarex advanced 18 9/16, or 10.5%, to 194 13/16.

Natural MicroSystems

(NMSS)

priced a 3 million-share secondary offering at $53.50 a share. Natural MicroSystems mounted 4 13/16, or 8.5%, to 61 1/16.

USinternetworking

(USIX)

said its board approved a 3-for-2 stock split for the second time in three months. USinternetworking gained 6 9/16, or 8.2%, to 86.

Analyst actions

Merrill Lynch

upgraded

Altera

(ALTR) - Get Report

to long-term buy from accumulate and set a 12 to 18-month price target on the stock of 110. Altera lifted 15 1/8, or 18.4%, to 97.

Goldman Sachs cut its rating on

Brinker International

(EAT) - Get Report

to market outperformer from trading buy. Brinker International edged up 1/4 to 22 3/16.

Bear Stearns

started coverage of

Caminus

(CAMZ)

with a buy rating and a price target of 32. Caminus bounced 2 3/4, or 11.2%, to 27 1/4.

Merrill raised

Cybersource

(CYBS)

to near-term buy from accumulate. Cybersource lost 7/8 to 43.

U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray

lifted its share price target on

Data Critical

(DCCA)

to 65 from 45. Data Critical slipped 7/8 to 48.

Morgan Stanley raised its rating on

Disney

(DIS) - Get Report

to strong buy from outperform. Disney tacked on 1 5/8 to 36 1/8.

Merrill raised its near-term rating on

DuPont

(DD) - Get Report

to accumulate from neutral and reiterated its long-term buy rating on the stock. DuPont lifted 3 7/8, or 8.2%, to 50 3/4.

Credit Suisse First Boston

analyst Tim Newington launched coverage of Internet service providers

Digex

(DIGX)

,

EarthLink

(ELNK)

and

Verio

(VRIO)

with buy ratings and

Exodus Communications

(EXDS)

with a strong buy.

Exodus, which rose 10 9/16, or 7.1%, to 158, also announced a 2-for-1 stock split this morning. Digex mounted 4 3/8 to 147 and EarthLink added 1 9/16, or 6.7%, to 24 7/8, while Verio gained 4 5/8, or 7.1%, to 69 5/16.

Merrill raised its intermediate-term rating on

Ensco International

(ESV)

to buy from accumulate and maintained its long-term buy rating on the stock. Ensco declined 1/4 to 32 5/8.

Goldman Sachs analyst Lori Appelbaum started coverage of

FirstMerit

(FMER)

as a market outperformer, a 2000 estimate of $1.90 a share, and a 2001 estimate of $2.08 a share. FirstMerit edged up 3/8 to 14 1/2.

CSFB cut

Hearst-Argyle

(HTV)

to hold from buy. Hearst-Argyle fell 5/16 to 21.

CSFB raised

Infinity Broadcasting

(INF) - Get Report

to strong buy from buy. Infinity Broadcasting advanced 3/8 to 34 3/4.

Merrill Lynch

upped its price target on

Inktomi

(INKT)

to 175. Inktomi soared 15 1/2, or 10.6%, to 161.

Warburg Dillon Read

raised its rating on

Intuit

(INTU) - Get Report

to strong buy from buy. Intuit climbed 6 5/16, or 13.5%, to 52 7/8.

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

initiated coverage of management consulting firm

eLoyalty

(ELOY)

with a buy rating and a 50 price target. eLoyalty jumped 1/2 to 34.

Robertson Stephens

upgraded

Kimco

(KIM) - Get Report

to buy. Kimco slid 1/8 to 34 1/2.

Warburg also initiated coverage of forestry and wood company

Louisiana-Pacific

(LPX) - Get Report

as a hold. Louisiana-Pacific gained 3/16 to 12 1/4.

Merrill initiated coverage of

Mediacom Communications

(MCCC)

with an intermediate and long-term accumulate ratings. Mediacom Communications retreated 1/8 to 19 1/8.

ABN Amro

analyst Daniel Ford upgraded

NiSource

(NI) - Get Report

, an energy/utility-based holding company, to buy from hold and set a 12-month price target of 19 on the shares. NiSource added 5/16 to 13 5/16.

DLJ started coverage of

Omnicare

(OCR)

with a buy rating. Omnicare bounced 1 9/16, or 16.7%, to 10 7/8.

CSFB upped

Teradyne's

(TER) - Get Report

price target to 120 from 95. Teradyne bounced 4 1/2, or 5.3%, to 88 7/16.

CSFB raised

Texas Instruments'

(TXN) - Get Report

price target to 200. Texas Instruments shot up 14 5/8, or 8.4%, to 187 5/8.

CIBC World Markets

raised its rating on shares of

Xoma

(XOMA) - Get Report

to buy from hold. Xoma jumped 2 1/16, or 18.5%, to 13 3/16.

Miscellany

Borders Group

(BGP)

advanced 2 1/16, or 16%, to 14 15/16 after it said it hired an advisor to help it explore strategic options, including recapitalization, a buyout or a business combination.

Dominion

(D) - Get Report

announced a new corporate structure, integrating

Consolidated Natural Gas

. Dominion and Consolidated completed their merger on Jan. 28. The new company has adopted the name Dominion. Dominion said its streamlining effort "will result in reductions in the company's 17,000-member workforce." Dominion also said it will use "attrition, voluntary early retirement, and voluntary and involuntary severance programs to accomplish the reductions." Dominion lifted 1/8 to 36 3/4.

Global Crossing

(GBLX)

added 2 1/16 to 56 7/16 after it said it has tapped the head of its Internet business, Leo Hindrey, to replace Bob Annunziata as its CEO. Annunziata will sit on the company's board.

Global Crossing also confirmed its plans to create a tracking stock for its GlobalCenter Web-hosting business, with an IPO set for this summer. Global Crossing CFO Dan Cohrs told Reuters last month that the offering would include less than 20% of GlobalCenter.

The

National Association of Securities Dealers

and the

New York Stock Exchange

discussed merging as a way to remain leaders in the fast-evolving equity markets,

The Wall Street Journal

reported, citing people with knowledge of the talks.

In addition, the

Journal's

Heard on the Street column says

Reuters

(RTRSY)

unit

Instinet

and

Datek Online Holdings

recently held serious merger discussions that have since been dropped. Together, New York-based Instinet and Datek's 85%-owned

Island ECN

account for two-thirds of the volume of stocks traded on e-communications network, according to the story. The main reason talks failed to progress further was antitrust concerns, the story said, citing people with knowledge of the negotiations. Reuters climbed 2 1/4 to 147 3/8.

In the Inside Wall Street column in

Business Week

, oil refiner and specialty chemical producer

Ashland

(ASH) - Get Report

garnered positive mention. Richard Cohen, an analyst at

Starr Securities

, is quoted in the column as saying Ashland's a "bargain." Cohen figures Ashland is worth 45 a share, according to the column.

Also, the column includes a positive story on

S1

(SONE)

. Ashland declined 1/8 to 31 7/8 and S1 popped 8 1/2, or 7.7%, to 117 3/4.