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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.




, lately the favorite whipping boy of the tech sector (see earnings below), was whimpering again as the stock slid a further 39 3/4, or 10%, to 357 9/16. It's more than 100 points off its peak around 475, barely two weeks ago. And

America Online's


recent suffering was compounded as it lost 4, or 6.3%, to 60, with its Monday

merger announcement continuing to make waves.

Fellow tech bellwethers felt the pain with

(AMZN) - Get Inc. Report

down 3 1/8 to 63 9/16 and


(EBAY) - Get eBay Inc. Report

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off 8 13/16, or 6.3%, to 130 3/8.

Telecom stocks were mixed as a slew of mixed signals buffeted the sector, with the

Nasdaq Telecommunications Index

ending the day up 0.4%.

MCI WorldCom


gained 4%, while


(T) - Get AT&T Inc. Report

stock rang up 2 13/16, or 5.4%, to 54 5/8 after it reaffirmed earnings expectations last night. (see below).


SBC Communications


fell 2 5/16, or 5.2%, to 41 13/16,

Bell Atlantic


fell about 1 to 56 and


(GTE) - Get Gran Tierra Energy Inc. Report

slipped 5/8 to 66 11/16 after


downgraded its rating on the stocks.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Intermedia Communications


, a nationwide integrated communications provider, added 1 to 40 after it said that

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts






(MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report

and a consortium of banks have agreed to provide it with up to $700 million in strategic financing. Compaq climbed 1 5/16 to 29 5/16 and Microsoft lost 3 9/16 to 105 13/16.



, Intermedia's 81%-owned subsidiary, is receiving a $100 million strategic investment from Compaq and Microsoft. Shares of Digex climbed 3 1/2, or 5.3%, to 69 1/2.


(CLS) - Get Celestica Inc. Report

was unchanged at 46 13/16 after it said it has entered acquisition and supply agreements with


(IBM) - Get International Business Machines Corporation Report

that would increase its yearly revenue by $1.5 billion. IBM rose 7/8 to 119 7/8. The deal calls for Celestica to buy $500 million in manufacturing operations and assets from IBM.



lost 1 7/16 to 38 1/2 and


(HUM) - Get Humana Inc. Report

inched up 3/16 to 8 7/16 after the companies said they entered into a strategic alliance, under which, in part, Humana will leverage Healtheon/WebMD's professional and consumer transaction platforms and its exclusive online and offline media assets in targeted health care markets.

U.S. Foodservice

(UFS) - Get Domtar Corporation Report

added 5/16 to 19 after it said it entered into a three-year $600 million food and product distribution deal with

Chili's Restaurants




jumped 5 7/16, or 9.9%, to 60 5/16 after it said its

Sonera Smart Trust

division would join five certification authority platform providers, including

Baltimore Technologies











(VRSN) - Get VeriSign Inc. Report

, to develop secure wireless e-commerce. Baltimore lost 1 1/4, to 79 3/4, Entrust added 3 5/8, or 7.1%, to 55 and Verisign dropped 5 7/16 to 160 7/16.

An association of

U S West


retirees is seeking to block that phone company's merger with

Qwest Communications


, charging that U S West misused pension funds to enrich shareholders and top officers,

The Wall Street Journal

reported. Shares of U S West fell 1/2 to 65 7/8, while Qwest slipped 7/16 to 38 9/16.

Two influential pension funds have written the chairman of



questioning the drug company's tactics related to its planned get-together with

American Home Products


, the


reported. The pension funds are arguing that Warner's board should fully take into account


(PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report

competing hostile bid. The letter was penned by the

California Public Employees' Retirement System

, which owns 3.7 million shares of Warner-Lambert, and Alan Hevesi, comptroller of New York City, the newspaper said. The newspaper reported New York City owns 3.5 million shares of Warner in its pension funds. Warner-Lambert inched up 15/16 to 86 13/16, American Home rose 11/16 to 42 3/16 and Pfizer gained 1 1/16 to 35 1/16.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

AT&T CEO C. Michael Armstrong reaffirmed the company's 1999 earnings estimates of $2.15 to $2.20 a share, in line with the 25-analyst estimate of $2.19. The company said it expects to show 1999 pro forma revenue growth of 5% to 7%, and 2000 pro forma revenue growth of 8% to 9%, excluding the impact of


, its joint venture with

British Telecom


. British Telecom popped 6 3/4 to 199 1/4


(BBT) - Get BB&T Corporation Report

rose 7/8 to 26 after it posted fourth-quarter earnings of 52 cents a share, beating the 21-analyst estimate of 51 cents and up from the year-ago 44 cents.



slipped 1/16 to 8 7/16 after it posted fourth-quarter earnings from continuing operations of 26 cents a share, ahead of the one-analyst estimate of 22 cents, but down from the year-ago 36 cents.


dropped 4 1/16, or 11%, to 32 11/16 after CEO Michael Robinson told


that the company was "comfortable" with the fourth-quarter three-analyst estimate of a 25-cent loss.

PacifiCare Health Systems


lost 1 1/2 to 50 1/16 after it said it will cut 250 employees in the next 12 months and take a first-quarter restructuring charge of $7 million to $8 million. The company said 200 more jobs would be cut by attrition and canceled openings.



was unchanged at 8 7/8 after it reported fourth-quarter earnings of 35 cents a share, beating the four-analyst estimate of 33 cents and the year-ago 29 cents.

Ruby Tuesday


rose 11/16 to 16 7/8 after it posted second-quarter earnings of 26 cents a share, beating the seven-analyst estimate of 24 cents a share and up from the year-ago 18 cent-profit.

SunTrust Banks

(STI) - Get SunTrust Banks, Inc. Report

climbed 1 to 60 1/8 after it posted fourth-quarter earnings of $1.06 a share, a penny ahead of the 23-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 86 cents.

Vital Signs

(VITL) - Get Vital Farms Inc. Report

slipped 5/8 to 22 5/8 despite saying it sees first-quarter revenue of $37 million, up 20% from a year ago. The company also said its first-quarter net earnings appear to be on track.

Yahoo! late yesterday posted fourth-quarter pro forma earnings of 19 cents a share before items, beating the 27-analyst estimate of 15 cents and the year-ago 4 cents excluding items. The company said its revenue totaled $201.1 million, up from $91.3 million in last year's fourth quarter, and that its December traffic averaged 465 million page views a day, compared with an average of 167 million the year before. Yahoo! also announced a 2-for-1 stock split effective Feb. 14.

In a report,

Merrill Lynch


Henry Blodget

wrote that while revenue and earnings "did not beat the highest estimates, the strength of the fundamental business drivers-audience, commerce, advertising and communications-suggests a strong year ahead." Blodget maintained his buy rating on the stock and gave the company an "A" grade for the quarter.

Lehman Brothers

upped its 2000 earnings estimate on Yahoo to 75 cents a share from 65 cents.

For additional coverage of Yahoo!'s

earnings, and the

ongoing fallout check out a separate story from the

joint newsroom.

Offerings and stock actions

Bowne & Co.


climbed 1 1/16, or 10%, to 11 11/16 after it said it set a $40 million stock repurchasing program.

Delta Air Lines

(DAL) - Get Delta Air Lines Inc. Report

climbed 5/8 to 52 after it said it set a $500 million share repurchasing program.

Mony Group


lost 5/16 to 27 after its board authorized a plan to repurchase 5%, or 2.4 million, of its outstanding shares of stock.



swam up 5 5/8, or 6.9%, to 87 1/8 after its board approved a 2-for-1 stock split.

Rex Stores


fell 3/16 to 13 5/8 after it said it set a 1 million-share repurchasing program.

ShopKo Stores


inched up 1/8 to 21 1/16 after it said its board approved the repurchase of up to $20 million of its shares.

Analyst actions

Merrill Lynch

upped its intermediate-term rating on


(AVA) - Get Avista Corporation Report

to buy from accumulate. Shares of Avista lifted 2 3/8, or 14.8%, to 18 3/8.

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

initiated coverage of

America West


with a buy rating. Shares of America West fell 1/16 to 20 3/4.

Alex. Brown sliced its rating on

Armstrong World


to market perform from strong buy.


also cut the stock's rating, to perform in line from outperform. Shares of Armstrong World dwindled 9 1/8, or 24.8%, to 27 5/8.


sliced its rating on

Bell Atlantic


to attractive from buy. Shares of Bell Atlantic slid 15/16 to 57.

Merrill Lynch upped its rating on


(COST) - Get Costco Wholesale Corporation Report

to intermediate-term buy from accumulate. Shares of Costco declined 1/8 to 91 1/2.

Alex. Brown raised its rating on



to strong buy from buy. Shares of Dynegy popped 1 1/2 to 33 1/16.

Credit Suisse First Boston

raised its price target on

E-Tek Dynamics


to 160 from 100.


also raised its long-term price target on the stock to 214 from 165. Shares of E-Tek climbed 5 5/16 to 126 1/16.

Robertson Stephens

upped its price target on

Exodus Communications


to 168 and raised its fourth-quarter revenue estimate to $86.9 million, while increasing its 2000 revenue estimate to $652.5 million. Exodus share bounced 4 to 107 3/8.

PaineWebber sliced its rating on


(GTE) - Get Gran Tierra Energy Inc. Report

to attractive from buy. Shares of GTE retreated 5/8 to 66 11/16.

Warburg Dillon Read

rolled out coverage of



with a strong buy rating and set a price target of 25. Shares of HealthExtras shed 5/8 to 66 11/16.

Salomon Smith Barney

telecom analyst Jack Grubman maintained his buy rating on MCI WorldCom, saying the stock is now trading at a "P/E discount to the market on 2000 reported earnings." Grubman disputed a


report that the America Online-

Time Warner


merger could hurt the stock's revenue from AOL, saying, "If AOL's customer base moved overnight to a high-speed cable infrastructure, traffic and revenues would increase to MCI WorldCom's



Separately, MCI WorldCom's CEO Bernie Ebbers said during a speech at the

National Press Club

in Washington that the company, after the closing of its merger with



, would provide local and long-distance telephone service in New York to rival

Bell Atlantic


. Shares of MCI WorldCom finished up 1 11/16 to 44 1/8.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter initiated coverage on

Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing

(MMM) - Get 3M Company Report

with an outperform rating. Shares of Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing bounced 1/4 to 100 3/4.

Merrill Lynch cut its rating on

Petroleum Geo-Services


to intermediate-term neutral from buy. Petroleum Geo-Services slipped 2 5/16, or 14.1%, to 14.

Lehman Brothers

cut its rating on

Rite Aid

(RAD) - Get Rite Aid Corporation Report

to neutral from buy. Separately, the

New York Stock Exchange

said it has not delisted the stock but would closely monitor its situation. Rite Aid declined 2 11/16, or 25.2%, to 7 15/16.

Roberson Stephens

initiated coverage of



with a buy rating. S1 mounted 4 1/4, or 5.8%, to 77 1/8.

PaineWebber trimmed its rating on

SBC Communications


to attractive from buy. SBC Communication lost 2 5/16, or 5.2%, to 41 13/16.

Lehman Brothers sliced its rating on

Suncor Energy

(SU) - Get Suncor Energy Inc. Report

to neutral from buy. Suncor Energy slipped 1 3/16 to 43.



(DIS) - Get The Walt Disney Company Report

retreated 2 9/16, or 7%, to 33 11/16 after it said Joe Roth will step down as studio chairman. Peter Schneider was named chairman of

Walt Disney Studios


For more on the Disney's

moves, check out the coverage from's

joint newsroom.


sank 6, or 8.8%, to 62 3/4 after it said it tapped Jeffrey Brewer as its chairman and Ted Meisel as its CEO.

Merrill Lynch


popped 2 to 80 on reports that it plans to close its commodities business.

covered the unconfirmed chatter in a

story today.

Separately, Merrill Lynch said it has appointed David Bowers to replace the retiring Charles Clough as its chief global investment strategist. Bowers has acted as the firm's chief European equity strategist for the past four years.

In the latest antitrust case against


(MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report

, government lawyers appear to have reached an agreement that would include a breakup of the software titan,

USA Today

reported. Under the plan favored by government lawyers, the software giant would be split into two separate companies, one for its


operating system and another for software, the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Microsoft shares lost 3 9/16 to 105 13/16.

For more on Microsoft's

prospects, check out the coverage from

joint newsroom.