Company Report: SanDisk, InfoSpace Rocket on Earnings, Upgrades

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(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.)

SanDisk

(SNDK)

easily held onto its soaring stock price gain, even as the rest of the

Nasdaq Composite Index's

rise evaporated at midday. SanDisk rose 37 15/16, or 37%, to 140 3/8, bolstered by a strong earnings report last night and today's upgrade to strong buy from buy at

Robertson Stephens

.

InfoSpace.com

(INSP) - Get Report

was singing the same tune, jumping 27 1/4, or 19.4%, to 167 1/2, after reporting fourth-quarter earnings last night, followed by rating upgrades today, courtesy of

PaineWebber

and

Merrill Lynch

.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Bank of Scotland

CEO Peter Burt said that he is satisfied that the bank has enough resources to up its offer for

National Westminster Bank

(NW)

, also known as NatWest. Burt specified, however, that the Bank of Scotland would not overpay for NatWest. NatWest gained 3 1/2 to 125.

Blockbuster

(BBI) - Get Report

rose 3/16 to 13 9/16 and

MCI WorldCom

(WCOM)

gained 9/16 to 42 1/8 after the companies inked a two-year extension to their database marketing agreement which Blockbuster said will provide it with estimated revenue of approximately $30 million a year over the course of the deal.

DaimlerChrysler

(DCX)

jumped 2 5/16 to 69 1/2 after it declined to comment on reports that suggest a possible merger with Italy-based

Fiat

. DaimlerChrysler said that the reports were speculation.

Healtheon/WebMD

(HLTH)

gained 4 9/16, or 6.9%, to 71 1/16 after it said

Janus Capital

would make a $930 million investment in the company. Healtheon/WebMD said it would issue 15 million of its common shares to Janus.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

dropped 2 13/16, or 7%, to 37 9/16 after it warned after yesterday's close that it will post lower-than-expected revenue and earnings for the fourth quarter. Dell blamed the shortfall on "an inconsistent flow of key semiconductor components and a slower-than-expected rebound in sales to corporate and institutional customers related to the Y2K rollover."

Dell said it expects earnings of 16 cents a share, including a gain of a penny from the sale of investments, below the 29-analyst

First Call/Thomson Financial

estimate of 21 cents. The company said it will report fourth-quarter earnings Feb. 10. In the wake of the earnings news, Merrill Lynch upgraded its intermediate-term rating on Dell to buy from neutral and set a 12-month price target of 52 on the stock. Elsewhere,

U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray

upped its rating on the stock to strong buy. Meanwhile,

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

downgraded Dell to buy from strong buy.

For more on Dell's earnings warning, check out further coverage from

TheStreet.com

and

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com

joint newsroom.

Eli Lilly

(LLY) - Get Report

rose 1 1/2 to 64 1/4 after it posted fourth-quarter earnings of 61 cents a share, in line with the 24-analyst estimate and the year-ago 50 cents.

Hewlett-Packard

(HWP)

slipped 1/4 to 108 1/2 after it said after yesterday's close that revenue and earnings growth for its fiscal first quarter and full year were on track as home computer and laptop sales remain robust. CFO Robert Wayman said revenues and profits were expected to grow by 12% to 15% in fiscal 2000.

Del Monte Foods

(DLM)

lost 5/16 to 9 after it posted second-quarter pro forma earnings of 40 cents a share, beating the seven-analyst estimate of 36 cents and the year-ago 24 cents.

Safeway

(SWY)

gained 4 1/4, or 13.5%, to 35 3/4 after it reported fourth-quarter earnings of 59 cents, 2 cents above the 15-analyst forecast and up from the year-ago 50 cents. The company said share repurchases made during the quarter will add 2 cents a share to earnings this year.

In other earnings news:

Offerings and stock actions

Consolidated Stores

(CNS) - Get Report

tacked on 1 1/16, or 7.6%, to 15 after it said it filed with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

for an IPO for its

KBKids.com

division.

Corus Bankshares

(CORS)

lifted 5 3/16, or 25.4%, to 25 9/16 after it said its board authorized the repurchase of up to 1 million shares, after the shares recently hit a new low.

Prima Energy

(PENG)

climbed 2 5/16, or 8.8%, to 28 7/8 after it said it set a 3-for-2 stock split. The stock will be distributed on Feb. 24 to shareholders of record on Feb. 10.

Federated Department Stores

skidded 2 5/16, or 5.1%, to 42 11/16 after it said it will buy back up to $500 million of additional shares.

Analyst actions

Credit Suisse First Boston

upgraded

Avon

(AVP) - Get Report

to buy from hold. Shares of Avon gained 3 9/16, or 11.8%, to 33 9/16.

Merrill upped its intermediate-term rating on

EDS

(EDS)

to buy from accumulate. Shares of EDS shed 9/16 to 70 3/8.

Merrill Lynch rolled out coverage of

EarthWeb

(EWBX)

with an intermediate accumulate, long-term buy rating. Shares of EarthWeb mounted 3 1/4, or 10%, to 35 7/8.

Goldman Sachs upped its rating on

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

to its recommended list from market outperformer. Shares of General Motors advanced 4 5/16, or 5.4%, to 82 7/8.

SoundView Technology

said it initiated coverage of

Interwoven

(IWOV)

with a strong buy rating and set a price target of 300. Shares of Interwoven sank 17 7/8, or 10.9%, to 145.

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

upped its price target on

Incyte

(INCY) - Get Report

to 235 from 189. Shares of Incyte moved up 3 to 138 15/16.

ING Barings

analyst George Godfrey started coverage of four Internet software companies.

Verisign

(VRSN) - Get Report

,

Vignette

(VIGN)

,

Vitria Technology

(VITR)

and

Kana Communications

(KANA)

.

  • VeriSign was started with a strong buy rating. Shares of VeriSign declined 14 3/4, or 7.7%, to 174 5/8.
  • Vignette was started with a strong buy rating . Shares of Vignette slipped 5 9/16 to 229 3/16.
  • Vitria was started with a strong buy. Shares of Vitria Technology fell 2 5/8 to 113 1/2.
  • Kana Communications was started with a buy rating. Shares of Kana Communications bounced 4 3/8 to 259 1/8.

Wachovia Securities

upgraded

JDS Uniphase

(JDSU)

to strong buy from long-term buy. Shares of JDS Uniphase slid 4 7/8 to 212 1/16.

Goldman Sachs

lowered its rating on

Kellogg

(K) - Get Report

to market perform from market outperform. Shares of Kellogg slid 5/16 to 24 1/2.

ING Barings started coverage of

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

with an initial rating of strong buy. Shares of Microsoft stumbled 9/16 to 98 3/4.

Merrill raised its intermediate-term rating on

Orbital Sciences

(ORB)

to accumulate from neutral. Merrill reiterated its long-term buy rating on the stock. Shares of Orbital Sciences hopped 2 3/8, or 14.9%, to 18 5/16.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

upgraded

Polaroid

(PRD)

to outperform from neutral. Shares of Polaroid tacked on 1 5/8, or 7.2%, to 24 3/16.

Warburg Dillon Read

raised its rating on

Virata

(VRTA)

to strong buy from buy and lifted its price target to 105 from 59. Shares of Virata climbed 11 3/16, or 23.8%, to 58 3/16.

Goldman Sachs said it upgraded shares of

Waste Management

(WMI)

to market outperformer from market performer. Shares of Waste Management advanced 3/4 to 17 5/16.

Merrill upgraded its intermediate-term rating on

Yellow

(YELL)

to buy from accumulate. Shares of Yellow mounted 7/16 to 16 3/8.

Miscellany

American Home Products

(AHP)

and the family of a women who died after taking the diet drug cocktail "fen-phen" have settled a civil lawsuit, according to a lawyer for American Home. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Shares of AHP tumbled 1 1/8 to 43 3/8.

Standard & Poor's

said after yesterday's close that it will replace

Consolidated Natural Gas

(CNG)

with

Conexant Systems

(CNXT) - Get Report

in the

S&P 500

index after the close of trading Friday. S&P component

Dominion Resources

(D) - Get Report

is buying Consolidated Natural Gas in a transaction expected to close Friday. Conexant Systems jumped 13 1/4, or 17.8%, to 87 9/16, while Consolidated Natural Gas slipped 1/16 to 66 13/16.

Ford

(F) - Get Report

gained 1 15/16 to 49 15/16 after it said its hourly workers in the U.S. will receive an average of $8,000 in profit-sharing for 1999, a new record that tops the $6,100 average payout workers received for 1998.

Corning

(GLW) - Get Report

leaped 6 to 162 after it said it would increase the manufacturing capacity of its Marlborough, Mass., factory to produce more optical components used in communications. Corning said the additional capacity is necessary to meet increasing market demand for photonic components.

Lockheed Martin

(LMT) - Get Report

lost 5/8 to 19 7/16 after it said it is cutting more than 2,800 jobs as streamlines its aeronautical and space businesses aiming to generate $200 million in annual savings. Lockheed said it would incur severance and other related expenses in the near term but said they would be offset by the savings and would not affect its previously disclosed earnings outlook. .

The Heard on the Street column in

The Wall Street Journal

takes a look at six "pot lists," secret lists showing which investors get IPO allocations. The lists highlight how the big investors of the institutional variety -- those that do most trading with big securities outfits -- get by far the most IPO shares according to the column. The

Journal

pointed out, citing the "pot lists" and investment bankers, that

Fidelity Investments

, the mutual fund titan, routinely demands and gets an allocation twice the size of the next-biggest allotment of an IPO.