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There was plenty of noise in the IPO sector today as investors fired up the price of three new issues. Avenue Aundefined, an Internet advertising firm, raced up Wall Street, gaining 48, or 200%, to 72.

Net.Genesis

undefined

, a marketing software firm, created a lot of capital, rising 38 13/16, or 215.6%, to 56 13/16 and

Niku

undefined

, a Redwood City, Calif.-based Internet company, popped 45, or 187.5%, to 69.

In the high-flying tech sector, chip-maker

Rambus

(RMBS)

was sitting on top, rocketing up 60 5/8, or 25.2%, to 301 5/8 after it announced that two large chipmakers have pushed further in producing chips based on its technology. On the

New York Stock Exchange

,

Safeguard Scientifics

(SFE)

soared 30 7/16, or 21.1%, to 174 15/16 after it set a 3-for-1 stock split.

(

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.

)

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Amdocs

(DOX)

popped 8 11/16, or 13.3%, to 74 3/16 after it said it has entered a $1 billion stock deal to buy Canadian customer-service software maker

Solect Technology

. Amdocs will issue 15.5 million shares and options for all of Solect's shares.

Merger partners

America Online

(AOL)

and

Time Warner

(TWX)

said that they will open their cable-TV lines to several Web providers. According to

The Wall Street Journal

, the announcement could ease regulators' concerns related to the deal, but could also face criticism on whether it allows for nondiscriminatory access. America Online lost 1 3/8 to 59 1/4 while Time Warner fell 1 7/16 to 85 1/4.

Clear Channel

(CCU)

lost 8 9/16, or 11.4%, to 66 5/8 after it agreed to pay $4.4 billion in stock for

SFX Entertainment

(SFX)

, the companies said. The acquisition, which includes $1.1 billion in SFX debt, would close in the third quarter of fiscal 2000. SFX gained 1/2 to 38 1/2.

DLJdirect

undefined

rose 1 3/8, or 14.4%, to 10 15/16 after it agreed to an Asian Internet venture with

Hutchinson Whampoa

.

MGM Grand

(MGG)

informed

Mirage

(MIR)

that it has obtained financing for its proposed acquisition of Mirage, reported in

The Wall Street Journal

. According to the

Journal

, MGM is troubled that

Harrah's

(HET)

could launch an offer to rival its $3.4 billion bid. MGM Grand lost 5/16 to 19 7/8, Mirage fell 3/16 to 15 3/4 and Harrah's lost 9/16 to 19 1/8.

TeleCorp

undefined

fell 8 1/16, or 14.9%, to 45 15/16 after it entered a $5.3 billion stock deal to buy wireless phone company

Tritel

undefined

,

The Wall Street Journal

reported. TeleCorp is the biggest affiliate of

AT&T's

(T)

wireless division. Tritel gained 7 3/4, or 32.3%, to 31 3/4 and AT&T rose 4 3/8, or 9.7%, to 49 3/8.

Tibco Software

(TIBX)

popped 22, or 20.2%, to 131 after

BellSouth

(BLS)

subsidiary BellSouth Wireless Data said it will use Tibco's B2B infrastructure software.

24/7 Media

undefined

dropped 3, or 6.1%, to 46 1/2 after it said it will acquire

Exactis.com

undefined

in a $490 million stock swap. 24/7 Media said it will issue 0.60 shares for each Exactis.com share. Exactis popped 7 13/16, or 41.8%, to 26 1/2.

Veeco Instruments

(VECO)

vaulted 7 13/16, or 10.5%, to 82 1/8 after it said it has agreed to acquire

CVC

undefined

in a stock deal valued at $380 million. CVC climbed 4 3/4, or 16.4%, to 33 3/4. According to the terms, CVC shareholders would receive 0.43 Veeco share in exchange for each of their CVC shares. The deal values CVC at a 10% premium to Monday's closing price of 29, based on Veeco's closing price of 74 15/16.

Yellow

(YELL)

slipped 5/8 to 16 after it said it agreed to a pact with

TL Ventures

and

EnerTech Capital Partners

to start a Web site to target suppliers and carriers called

Transportation.com

. James Ritchie, former Ryder Integrated Logistics vice president, has been tapped as the site's president and CEO.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

BJ's Wholesale

(BJ)

gained 2 3/8, or 8.3%, to 31 after it reported fourth-quarter earnings of 63 cents a share, a penny better than the eight-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 50 cents.

National Discount Brokers

undefined

jumped 14 1/2, or 46.8%, to 45 1/2 after saying it expects its third-quarter earnings to greatly beat the two-analyst estimate of 8 cents a share.

United Rentals

(URI)

lost 1/4 to 15 5/8 after it reported fourth-quarter earnings of 48 cents a share, a penny better than the nine-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 33 cents.

Vlasic

undefined

lost 3/16, or 6.3%, to 2 13/16 after it reported second-quarter loss of 36 cents, in line with the four-analyst estimate but down from the year-ago 26 cents.

Offerings and stock actions

Exchange Applications

(EXAP)

slipped 1/2 to 108 5/8 after it announced a 2-for-1 stock split.

Motorola

(MOT)

motored up 11 7/8, or 7.5%, to 170 3/8 after it said it would seek approval for a 3-for-1 stock split.

3Com

(COMS)

subsidiary

Palm

(PALM)

raised the expected price range of its IPO to $30 to $32 a share from $14 to $16 a share.

After the offering, its parent, 3Com, will receive 532 million shares and will divest the shares within six months by handing them over to its stockholders. 3Com soared 18 15/16, or 24%, to 98.

America Online,

Nokia

(NOK)

and Motorola are set to buy $225 million worth of the

Palm Pilot

maker's stock at its IPO price.

Goldman Sachs

is serving as the lead underwriter for the 23 million-share deal. Nokia inched up 1/4 to 203 1/2.

Analyst actions

Lehman Brothers

initiated coverage of

Avanex

undefined

with a buy rating and a price target of 250.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

started Avanex at outperform and also set a 250 target, while

U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray

started it at strong buy with a target of 240. Avanex's post-IPO quiet period ended yesterday. Avanex edged up 3/8 to 208 3/8.

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

raised its rating on

Aether

undefined

to buy from market perform. Aether soared 45 3/8, or 21.3%, to 258 3/8.

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

initiated coverage of

Altera

(ALTR)

,

Amtel

(ATML)

and

Xilinx

(XLNX)

with strong buy ratings.

Altera popped 8 1/4, or 11.5%, to 79 3/4 and Amtel mounted 5 7/8, or 13.4%, to 49 1/2, while Xilinx added 9 1/2, or 13.5%, to 79 3/4.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter upgraded

Anheuser-Busch

(BUD)

to strong buy from outperform. Anheuser-Busch gained 2 7/8 to 64 1/8.

U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray initiated

Antigenics

(AGEN)

at strong buy with a price target of 62. Antigenics climbed 5, or 12.5%, to 45.

Goldman Sachs

raised

Circuit City

(CC)

to the recommended list from market outperform. Circuit City tacked on 4 9/16, or 12.7%, to 40 3/8.

Credit Suisse First Boston initiated coverage of

CTC Communications

undefined

with a buy rating. CTC Communications bounced 6, or 8.7%, to 75.

Goldman started coverage of

Digital Island

(ISLD)

at market outperform. Digital Island added 5 1/8 to 116 1/8.

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown raised its rating on

Equitable Resources

(EQT)

to buy from market perform. Equitable Resources rose 3 3/16, or 9.2%, to 37 3/4.

Warburg Dillon Read

initiated coverage of

HealthGate Data

(HGAT)

at strong buy with a price target of 21. HealthGate Data lifted 2 1/8, or 25.3%, to 10 1/2.

Lehman Brothers sliced its rating on

Hershey Foods

(HSY)

to outperform from buy. Hershey Foods declined 3/16 to 43 15/16.

J.P. Morgan

sliced its rating on

First Tennessee National

undefined

to market performer from buy. First Tennessee slumped 6 1/4, or 26.6%, to 17 1/4.

Wit SoundView

raised its price target on

Integrated Silicon

(ISSI)

to 35 from 22. Integrated Silicon added 2 11/16, or 10.7%, to 27 13/16.

Wit SoundView rolled out coverage of

Juniper Networks

(JNPR)

with a strong buy rating and set a price target of 350. Juniper Networks leaped 45 1/4, or 19.7%, to 274 5/16.

Credit Suisse First Boston

upped its price target on

KLA-Tencor

(KLAC)

to 100 from 80 and raised its fiscal 2000 earnings estimates to $1.20 from $1.12 a share and its fiscal 2001 estimates to $2.10 a share from $1.75. KLA-Tencor jumped 8 1/8, or 11.6%, to 77 15/16.

Merrill Lynch

raised its fiscal 2000 earnings estimate on

Lehman Brothers

undefined

to $8.60 a share from $7.70 and its 2001 estimates to $9.15 a share from $8.65. Lehman rose 4 11/16, or 6.9%, to 72 1/2.

Goldman Sachs rolled out coverage of

Mediacom Communications

(MCCC)

, adding it to its recommended list. Mediacom Communications edged up 1/8 to 17 1/16.

Deutsche Banc Alex.Brown initiated coverage of

Micron Technology

(MU)

with a buy rating. Micron Technology jumped 19 15/16, or 25.5%, to 98.

Credit Suisse First Boston initiated coverage of the following medical device manufacturers:

  • Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) with a strong buy. Johnson & Johnson slipped 13/16 to 71 15/16;
  • Abbott Labs (ABT) with a buy. Abbott Labs slid 3/8 to 32 3/4;
  • C.R. Bardundefined with a hold. C.R. Bard gained 1/4 to 39 1/2;
  • Becton Dickinson (BDX) with a hold. Becton Dickinson was unchanged at 31;
  • Boston Scientific (BSX) with a hold. Boston Scientific climbed 1/4 to 18 1/4;
  • St. Jude (STJ) with a hold. St. Jude rose 1 5/16, or 5.2%, to 26 1/8;
  • Guidantundefined with a buy. Guidant was unchanged at 67 3/8;
  • Medtronic (MDT) with a buy. Medtronic bounced 7/16 to 48 7/16.

In other tech news,

Rambus

(RMBS)

soared 60 5/8, or 25.1%, to 301 5/8 and

Hewlett Packard

undefined

hit an all-time high, ending up 5 5/8 to 134 1/2.

Salomon Smith Barney

sent semiconductors and other tech giants soaring after it raised price targets on the following stocks:

Xilinx to 100 from 65;

LSI Logic

(LSI)

to 70 from 57.50. LSI Logic lifted 6 15/16, or 12.1%, to 64 1/4;

PMC-Sierra

(PMCS)

to 250 from 125. PMC-Sierra leaped 14 5/16, or 8%, to 193 1/16;

Vitesse Semiconductor

(VTSS)

to 100 from 40.

Altera to 100 from 80. Vitesse Semiconductor bounced 12 3/16, or 13.3%, to 103 13/16;

Applied Micro Circuits

(AMCC)

to 350 from 200;

Broadcom

(BRCD)

to 250 from 200. Applied Micro shot up 19 5/8, or 7.6%, to 275 1/16

Merrill Lynch upgraded

Smurfit-Stone Container

(SSCC)

to buy from accumulate. The stock rose 1 1/16, or 8.4%, to 13 5/8.

Wit SoundView upped its price target

Uniroyal Technology

undefined

to 70 from 55. Uniroyal Tech gained 7 5/16, or 15.2%, to 55 1/8.

Miscellany

Five of Wall Street's biggest firms --

Merrill Lynch

(MER)

,

Goldman Sachs

(GS)

,

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

undefined

,

Edward Jones

and

ABN Amro

-- are calling for a new market system that would have a central display for all stock quotes and one self-regulating group,

The Wall Street Journal

reported.

According to the

Journal

, the firms' controversial proposal would give more control to broker-dealers, while lessening the importance of the

New York Stock Exchange

and the

Nasdaq

.

Boeing

(BA)

declined 1/16 to 36 15/16 after it said it would begin manufacturing two new long-range versions of its 777 jetliner, with expected delivery in September 2003.

British Telecom

undefined

lost 2 1/4 to 178 1/4 after it said it would make its evening Internet access free and cut its subscription charges by 15% in order to compete with other ISPs in Britain.

Philip Morris

(MO)

added 1/8 to 20 3/16 after it said it would give up its fight to block the

Food and Drug Administration

proposals aimed at regulating the tobacco industry,

The Washington Post

reported.