Dell (DELL) - Get Report was one of the few stocks in positive territory early on, having received some endorsements from brokerages. Banc of America Securities upped it to strong buy from buy, as did Robertson Stephens, and Bear Stearns raised the stock to buy from attractive. Dell lately was up 1 5/8 to 52 13/16.

Robbie Stephens also lifted

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

to strong buy from buy.

Warburg Dillon Read

downgraded

Aetna

(AET)

to reduce from hold, a day after Aetna rejected a $70-a-share takeover offer from

WellPoint Health Networks

(WLP)

. It's rare that a Wall Street firm will unleash a rating below hold/neutral, but Warburg reportedly said it's concerned about Aetna management and its "ability to effectively manage the company through this tumultuous period."

U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray

upgraded

Avid Technology

(AVID) - Get Report

to buy from neutral, setting a price target of 40.

Credit Suisse First Boston

cut its rating on

Chiron

(CHIR) - Get Report

to buy from strong buy.

TST Recommends

Thomas Weisel Partners

analyst Doug van Dorsten started coverage of

Eloquent

(ELOQ)

with a buy rating and a 12-month price target of 60.

J.P. Morgan

set a 12-month price target for

FleetBoston Financial

at 38.

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

upped

Kohl's

(KSS) - Get Report

to buy from market performer.

SG Cowen

said it started coverage of

Landacorp

(LCOR)

as a strong buy.

Thomas Weisel analyst Keith Gay initiated coverage on

VarsityBooks.com

(VSTY)

with a buy rating.