New Focus

(NUFO)

was soaring in its trading debut, lately up 23 1/2, or 117.1%, to 43 5/8.

Credit Suisse First Boston

priced 5 million-shares at $20 a share, above its $16-$18 price range. New Focus makes fiber optics products for optical networks.

National Discount Brokers

(NDB)

was jumping 4 7/8, or 19.9%, to 29 3/8 after

Deutsche Bank

formalized a plan to buy up to 19.3% of the online broker, in an attempt to gain a foothold in the online investing market. Deutsche Bank is buying 3 million shares of NDB's common stock at $45.31 a share, an 81% premium over its closing price on Wednesday.

The companies said the union will give NDB access to Deutsche Bank's U.S. equity research and initial public offering capabilities and it will give Deutsche Bank access to NDB's online investor community.

For more on this

story, see coverage from

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com's

joint newsroom.

Federal antitrust officials are suggesting that

MCI WorldCom's

(WCOM)

merger with

Sprint

(FON)

should be stopped because it would infringe on antitrust law. The

Justice Department

is against the merger because it would bring together the second- and third-largest long-distance providers, threatening competition in Web switching services. Sprint was lately down 1 11/16, to 56 5/16 while MCI Worldcom was sliding 1 1/2 to 40 1/2. Other telecom stocks were slipping as well with the

Nasdaq Telecommunications Index

down 1.6%.

For more on

this story, take a look at the coverage out of

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com

joint newsroom.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

CFW Communications

(CFWC)

hopped 5 1/2, or 15.5%, to 41 after it agreed to purchase R&B Communications in a deal valued at $131 million CFW also said that it plans for pay $407 million for

Primeco's

PCS business.

Hartford Financial

(HIG) - Get Report

added 1 7/8 to 55 1/2 after saying it would pay $50.50 a share for the remaining 18.5% interest in

Hartford Life

(HLI) - Get Report

that it doesn't already hold. Hartford Life was lately rising 5/8 to 50 1/6. The bid, which is 15% higher than its initial offer of $44 a share, values Hartford Life at roughly $7 billion.

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Earnings/revenue reports and previews

(Earnings estimates from First Call/Thomson Financial; earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified.)

Ann Taylor

(ANN)

slipped 3/4 to 24 1/8 after it posted first-quarter earnings of 55 cents a share, topping the 14-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 51-cent profit.

CBRL

(CBRL) - Get Report

fell 5/16 to 13 after it reported third-quarter earnings of 25 cents a share, beating the 12-analyst estimate by a penny, but the same as the year-ago's earnings.

As

reported earlier,

Lycos

(LCOS)

posted third-quarter earnings of 7 cents a share, topping the 15-analyst estimate of 5 cents and up from the year-ago loss of a penny. Lycos said revenue for the quarter came in at $78.6 million, a 120% increase from the last year's $35.8 million. The stock bounced after hours and was lately rising 5 1/64, or 8.8%, to 62 5/8. (For more, see last night's

The Night Watch).

Yesterday, the online media company announced a $12.5 billion merger with Spain-based Web company

Terra Networks

(TRRA)

. Terra, which received downgrades from

ABN Amro

and others, continued to fall during today's trading session on news of that deal.

Keebler

(KBL)

dropped 1 3/16 to 33 1/2 after it reported first-quarter earnings of 55 cents a share, which includes a 4-cent gain. The nine-analyst estimate expected the company to post a 45-cent profit. The year-ago report was 37 cents a share.

Men's Wearhouse

(MENS)

slipped 9/16 to 22 3/16 after it reported first-quarter earnings of 32 cents a share, beating the 10-analyst estimate by a penny and the year-ago report of 25-cent profit.

Venator Group

(Z) - Get Report

lost 3/16 to 11 3/16 after reporting first-quarter earnings of 11 cents, missing the 6-analyst estimate by a penny, but up from the year-ago loss of 8 cents a share.

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Analyst actions

One day after

Mattel

(MAT) - Get Report

got a new CEO, it also got a new and improved rating from

Merrill Lynch

. This morning, the firm upgraded Mattel's medium-term rating to accumulate from neutral and its long-term rating to buy from accumulate. Mattel shares were getting a boost from all the good news, and were recently up 1/4 to 13.

Equant

(ENT) - Get Report

tanked this morning, lately down 13 3/16, or 21.5%, to 48 3/16 after it was downgraded to neutral from accumulate at

Merrill Lynch

.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

also downgraded the stock, cutting it to outperform from strong buy.

Schlumberger

(SLB) - Get Report

shed 3 1/2 to 79 1/2: DOWN to outperform from strong buy at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, though its price target was RAISED to 95 from 75.

Smith International

(SII)

shares tumbled 6 9/16, or 7.6%, to 80 1/4 after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to outperform from strong buy. Morgan raised its price target on Smith, however, to 100 from 85.

Upgrades

Baker Hughes

(BHI)

shares slipped 3/4 to 37 1/8: price target UP to 50 from 40 at

Prudential

.

Dress Barn

(DBRN)

was off 5/16 to 20 1/8: UP to attractive from neutral at

Bear Stearns

; price target: 27.

Intimate Brands

(IBI)

shares lost 1/8 to 45 3/16: price target UP to 50 from 47 at

Credit Suisse First Boston

.

M.A. Hanna

(MAH)

edged down 3/16 to 11 3/16: intermediate-term rating UP to accumulate from neutral at Merrill Lynch.

Sysco

(SYY) - Get Report

bumped up 3/8 to 40 15/16: long-term rating UP to buy from attractive at Merrill Lynch; price target: 49.

Vishay

(VSH) - Get Report

climbed 3 3/4 to 92 1/4: price target UP to 125 from 120 at

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

.

Yankee Candle

(YCC)

was off 7/16 to 20 15/16: price target UP to 29 from 23 at Prudential.

Downgrades

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

dropped 1 1/4 to 36 7/8: 2000 revenue growth forecast DOWN to 6% from 8.5%; 2000 earnings forecast down to $1.80 a share from $2.17 and cash earnings expectations to $2.40 a share from $2.70 at

Lehman Brothers

.

American Eagle Outfitters

(AEOS)

lost 11/16 to 16 11/16: price target DOWN to 35 from 44 at

US Bancorp

.

Inacom

(ICO)

: DOWN to sell from hold at Credit Suisse First Boston.

MGM Grand

(MGG)

lost 1 3/8 to 32 3/16: DOWN to neutral from buy at

Salomon Smith Barney

.

Source Media

(SRCM)

slid 5/32 to 6 25/32: price target DOWN to 14 from 16 at Prudential.

Initiations

Delphi

(DPH)

was off 3/8 to 18 1/8: NEW long-term buy at J.P. Morgan.

Illuminet

(ILUM)

fell 1 29/32 to 43 1/8: NEW outperform: price target: 65.

Micromuse

(MUSE)

climbed 4 1/4 to 95: NEW strong buy; price target : 150 at Morgan Stanley.

Visual Networks

(VNWK)

jumped 3 3/16, or 8%, to 42 13/16: NEW strong buy; price target 75 at Morgan Stanley; NEW buy rating and price target of 42 at Lehman Brothers.

Vornado Realty

(VNO) - Get Report

shares were unchanged at 35 13/16: NEW buy at Lehman Brothers; price target: 42.

Group Moves

PaineWebber

upgraded two regional airlines and initiated coverage on another:

  • Atlantic Coast Airlines (ACAI) : to attractive from neutral. Atlantic Coast Airlines edged up 3/16 to 31 5/16.
  • Mesa Air (MESA) - Get Report: to buy from neutral. Mesa Air shares were unchanged at 6 3/4.
  • Mesaba (MAIR) : NEW neutral. Mesaba shares were off 1 1/8, or 9.1%, to 11 1/4.

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Offerings and stock actions

Calpine

(CPN)

edged up 1/4 to 111 after it set a 2-for-1 stock split.

Chase Manhattan

(CMB)

climbed 1 15/16 to 75 15/16 after it set a 3-for-2 stock split.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

priced an 11 million-share IPO for

iBeam

(IBEM)

mid range at $10 a share. The shares were recently up 2 1/4, or 22%, to 12 5/16.

ShopNow.com

(SPNW)

rose 11/32, or 6.7%, to 5 15/32 after saying it will change its name to

Network Commerce

. The company said the name change is part of an effort to create a new corporate identity that better reflects its position as a provider of technology, services and commerce networks for Internet sites, businesses and merchants. .

Tiffany

(TIF) - Get Report

rose 3/8 to 70 13/16 after it said it will split its stock 2-for-1.

Timberland

(TBL)

tacked on 1 9/16 to 71 7/16 after it said it would split its Class-A and Class-B common shares 2-for-1.

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Miscellany

American Home Products

(AHP)

said it will launch a drug named Protonix to rival

AstraZeneca's

(AZN) - Get Report

top-selling heartburn remedy Prilosec, reported

The Wall Street Journal

. American Home was lately up 13/16 to 57 9/16, while Astra Zeneca added 3/8 to 41 3/8.

JDS Uniphase's

(JDSU)

lost 3 1/4 to 89 3/16 after CEO and co-chairman Kevin Kalkhoven announced his retirement. Jozef Straus, the company's president, COO and co-chairman, will succeed Kalkhoven. Straus will remain in the position of co-chairman.

For more on

this story, take a look at the coverage out of

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com

joint newsroom.

The government turned down

Microsoft's

(MSFT) - Get Report

plan to alter its business operations, stating that the effort would not be effective measure to stop the software giant from infringing antitrust laws. The Justice Department is holding to its proposal to split up the company. Microsoft was lately down 1 1/8 to 66 9/16.

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