This morning, Goldman Sachs analyst Deane Dray said he believes that Agilent (A) - Get Report, a spin-off of Hewlett-Packard (HWP) , could be named to the S&P 500. Dray said the addition would make index funds "net buyers" of the stock and he continues to recommend the buying the shares. Agilent added 13 5/16, or 17.3%, to 89 7/8.

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

posted

first-quarter earnings of 19 cents a share, topping both the 27-analyst

First Call/Thomson Financial

estimate and the year-ago report of a 16-cent profit. The report included a 2-cent gain on outside investments.

The PC maker said revenue was $7.28 billion, a 31% increase from last year's $5.54 billion report. Vice Chairman Kevin Rollins, in an interview with

Reuters

, said he continues to see future revenue growing in the 30% range.

"The numbers were good," said Brian Gilmartin, portfolio manger at

Trinity Asset Management

. "Dell's revenues exceeded Dan Niles' estimate, which was pretty aggressive by $150 million," he said referring to the

Robertson Stephens

hardware analyst's income-statement model. "They're notebook business as a percentage of core systems revenue, jumped 7% in terms of year over year, that's where I think the number was made."

Although the company saw solid sales in the U.S. and Asia, Dell said its European business is still dragging. Rollins said Europe, which only had a first-quarter growth rate of 17%, would have a positive effect on revenue growth by next year. "We see it performing by the end of the year at where it can, and should (be) -- at or above the corporate average," said Rollins. Dell boosted 5 3/16, or 11.6%, to 49 7/8.

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com

joint newsroom covered the Dell release in a separate

story, and see

The Night Watch for a look at Dell's postclose trading activity.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

, which announced this week stronger-than-expected profits for its third quarter, said it would buy

Qeyton Systems

, a Swedish company that develops Metropolitan Dense Wave Division Multiplexing technology used by Internet service providers, for $800 million in stock. The deal, which will expand Cisco's optical networking capabilities, is expected to lead to a 5-cent charge per share. Cisco lost 1/4 to 60.

Last weekend, an article in

Barron's

questioned the company's acquisition practices. A week ago, the company announced plans to acquire

ArrowPoint Communications

(ARPT)

for $5.7 billion. The deal with Qeyton will be Cisco's 11th acquisition since the beginning of the year. ArrowPoint slipped 1 1/16 to 124 5/8.

For more on Cisco, take a look at the

recent story from

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com's

joint newsroom.

Carl Icahn has devised a possible $22 a share offer for the outstanding shares of

Nabisco Group Holdings

(NGH)

that it doesn't already hold, according to a

Securites and Exchange Commission

filing. The plan suggests that Icahn and his shareholder group,

High River LP

, which owns a 9.6% interest in NGH, would pay Nabisco holders $19 in cash and a two-year note with a $3 principal in exchange for each share they own. Nabisco Group Holdings holds a 90% interest food company,

Nabisco Holdings

(NA)

. Nabisco Group Holdings gained 2 3/16, or 12.5%, to 19 3/4, while Nabisco Holdings lifted 7/16 to 44.

Ingersoll-Rand

(IR) - Get Report

said it entered a $1.56 billion deal to buy

Hussman

(HSM)

, a food-equipment maker.

According to the terms, Ingersoll-Rand, which makes refrigeration products, will pay $29 a share for 50.6 million shares of Hussman. Ingersoll-Rand will also take on roughly $275 million of Hussman's debt. The acquisition will be accretive to fiscal 2000 earnings by 2 cents to 5 cents a share, and 15 cents to 20 cents in fiscal 2001. Ingersoll-Rand increased 9/16 to 46 1/4.

Spain-based Web company

Terra Networks

(TRRA)

confirmed it is negotiating a possible deal with

Lycos

(LCOS)

. According to

Newspaper Expansion

, the pact could end in a complete merger. Terra Networks rose 2 5/8 to 59 3/8, while Lycos moved up 1/8 to 54 1/8.

British advertising group

WPP

(WPPGY)

said it is on track to unveil an agreed takeover of

Young & Rubicam

(YNR)

to create the word's biggest advertising group, industry sources said. WPP said the merger would enhance earnings by 3% to 4% and that $30 million in cost synergies from the merger is a conservative estimate. Young & Rubicam's CEO Thomas Bell Jr. said he will leave the group after the merger is completed. WPP slid 3 1/2, or 5.5%, to 60, while Young & Rubicam declined 5/8 to 47 3/4.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

(

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

)

Intimate Brands

(IBI)

posted first-quarter earnings of 27 cents a share, a penny better than the 27-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 21-cent profit. Intimate Brands dropped 11/16 to 45 13/16.

Offerings and stock actions

Standard & Poor's

said that

MedImmune

(MEDI)

would take over

Central & South West's

(CSR)

spot in the

S&P 500

. Central & South West is being acquired by S&P 500 component

American Electric Power

(AEP) - Get Report

. MedImmune jumped 9 13/16, or 6.3%, to 164 1/2, while Central & South West shed 1/16 to 21 1/4.

AES

(AES) - Get Report

priced a 10.75 million-share offering at $74 a share. AES advanced 3 11/16 to 78 1/16.

Cox Radio

(CXR)

set a 3-for-1 stock split. Cox was up 2 5/8 to 83 1/4.

Ecolab

(ECL) - Get Report

added 3/16 to 40 7/8 after it said it plans to buy back $200 million shares in fiscal 2000.

Jato Communications

said it is withdrawing an initial public offering because of changed circumstances in the markets. The Denver-based company, which provides broadband communications services, was planning an offering of 8.925 million common shares in a range of $13 to $15 a share, according to an April IPO filing with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

.

Maximus

(MMS) - Get Report

declined 1/2 to 22 after it set a $30 million stock buyback.

Park Place Entertainment

(PPE)

gained 9/16 to 13 11/16 after it set a share repurchasing program for up to 12 million shares.

TriQuint Semiconductor

(TQNT)

lifted 5/8 to 91 1/16 after it set a 2-for-1 stock split.

Analyst actions

Upgrades

Brocade Communications

(BRCD)

: ADDED to purchase list at

Goldman Sachs

. Brocade jumped 5 to 106 7/8.

Gap

(GPS) - Get Report

: UP to buy from hold at

Credit Suisse First Boston

. Gap tacked on 11/16 to 36.

Nordson

(NDSN) - Get Report

: UP to buy from hold at

ABN Amro

. Nordson climbed 1 1/2 to 44 5/8.

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

: UP to outperform from market perform at

Sanford Bernstein

. Sun Microsystems added 4 11/16, or 6.1%, to 81 1/2.

Unifi

(UFI) - Get Report

: UP to buy from hold at CSFB. Unifi mounted 1 7/16, or 10.6%, to 14 15/16.

Waste Management

(WMI)

: UP to attractive from neutral at

PaineWebber

. Waste Management tacked on 1/4 to 19 3/16.

Downgrades

Chase Manhattan

(CMB)

: DOWN to market perform from buy at

J.P. Morgan

. Chase Manhattan climbed 1 5/8 to 71 5/8.

Golden State Vintners

(VINT)

: DOWN to market perform from buy at J.P. Morgan. Golden State Vintners slid 1/4, or 5.5%, to 4 1/4.

Navigant

(NCI) - Get Report

: DOWN to long-term neutral from accumulate at

Merrill Lynch

. Navigant slipped 1 1/2, or 23%, to 5.

Initiations

Accrue Software

(ACRU)

: NEW strong buy at

SG Cowen

. Accrue Software added 3/4 to 19 7/8.

CacheFlow

(CFLO)

: NEW buy at

CIBC World Markets

. CacheFlow leaped 4 1/8, or 9.5%, to 47 1/2.

Cell Therapeutics

(CTIC) - Get Report

: NEW strong buy at CSFB. Cell Therapeutics mounted 3 3/8, or 22.5%, to 18 3/8.

Crompton

(CK)

: NEW buy at CSFB. Crompton edged up 5/16 to 13.

Tibco

(TIBX)

: NEW strong buy at S.G. Cowen. Tibco mounted 3 1/2, or 5.9%, to 62 1/2.

24/7 Media

(TFSM)

: NEW strong buy at

ING Barings

, price target of 60. 24/7 Media climbed 1 1/2, or 8.5%, to 19 1/8.

Group Moves

UBS Warburg Dillon Read

initiated coverage of beverage companies:

  • Anheuser-Busch (BUD) - Get Report: strong buy, price target: 95. Bud lost 2 1/16 to 76 7/8.
  • Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) : hold, price target: 23. Coca-Cola Enterprises declined 1/8 to 21 1/2.
  • Pepsico (PEP) - Get Report: buy, price target: 46. Pepisico was off 1/2 to 39 1/2.
  • Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG) : strong buy, price target: 30. Pepsi Bottling Group added 1 1/2, or 6.4%, to 24 11/16.

Warburg Dillon Read initiated coverage of two communications companies:

  • Seagram (VO) - Get Report at buy. Seagram fell 7/8 to 51 1/8.
  • USA Networks (USAI) - Get Report at strong buy. USA Networks bounced 5/8 to 23.

ING Barings initiated coverage of two bank stocks:

US Bancorp advanced 1 1/2, or 6.5%, to 24 1/4.

Miscellany

Continental Airlines

(CAL) - Get Report

skidded 1 1/4 to 42 1/4 after it said it upped its fares by $5 to $15 one-way on domestic flights due to rising fuel prices.

Reuters

reported that

Ford

(F) - Get Report

said it would end car production at its Dagenham plant near London starting in the first quarter of 2002 as part of the reorganization of its European business. About 1900 jobs will be cut, but the company promised a $500 million investment and 500 new jobs to make the plant its global center of diesel engine production.

Ford said the reorganization effort is aimed primarily at reducing overcapacity in Europe. Ford, which had capacity last year to build 2.2 million cars in Europe, but sold only 1.65 million cars and trucks, said it doesn't expect to sell more than 2 million vehicles a year in Europe over the next several years.

In related news, German luxury car maker

BMW AG

said it was expecting to reach an agreement to sell its

Land Rover

line to Ford soon, possibly in the next couple of days. Ford has agreed to pay about $2.70 billion for the line. Ford gained 7/16 to 53 3/8.

Xerox

(XRX) - Get Report

said G. Richard Thoman has stepped down from his roles as president and CEO. Xerox said chairman Paul Allaire would replace Thoman as CEO in a two-year term, while Anne Mulcahy, general markets operations president, was tapped as its new president and COO.

Mulcahy is also up for election to Xerox's board on May 18 during its annual shareholders meeting. Thoman's resignation comes after several profit shortfalls. Since the beginning of September, the stock has lost almost half its share value, falling from a trading range of 49 to Thursday's closing price of 25 1/2. A former

IBM

executive, Thoman came to Xerox as its president and COO. In April 1999, Thoman replaced Allaire in the role of CEO. Xerox bounced 1 1/2, or 5.8%, to 27.