AT&T

(T) - Get Report

said its fourth-quarter operational earnings were 57 cents a share, down from the year-ago 68 cents. It attributed the drop primarily to the impact of its acquisition of

TCI

. Operational earnings came in at $1.84 billion. The

First Call/Thomson Financial

24-analyst estimate called for the company to earn 55 cents.

Xerox

(XRX) - Get Report

reported fourth-quarter earnings of 41 cents a share, a penny ahead of the lowered 13-analyst estimate, in the wake of the company's profit warning last month. In the year-ago period, Xerox earned 84 cents.

The company also said it will take a "substantial" restructuring charge, most likely in the first quarter. Xerox also reiterated its previous outlook "that some issues could reduce earnings in the first quarter proportionately to the fourth-quarter decline and, to a lesser extent, in the second quarter, followed by meaningful growth later in the year."

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Ask Jeeves

(ASKJ)

is buying

Direct Hit Technologies

, a privately held company based in Natick, Mass. Under the deal, 5.12 million unregistered shares of Ask Jeeves' common stock will be exchanged for all outstanding shares, options and warrants of Direct Hit.

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

,

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Report

and

PricewaterhouseCoopers

said they are teaming up to offer content management solutions and e-business strategies for the media and entertainment industries.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

(Earnings estimates are from

First Call/Thomson Financial

.)

Burlington Northern

(BNI)

reported fourth-quarter earnings of 69 cents a share, beating the 11-analyst estimate of 67 cents and the year-ago 63 cents.

Coca-Cola Enterprises

(CCE)

reported a fourth-quarter loss of 4 cents a share, narrower than the 18-analyst estimate of a 7-cent loss and the year-ago 9-cent loss.

Convergys

(CVG)

reported earnings of 28 cents a share, a penny better than the 13-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 22 cents.

Cypress Semiconductor

(CY) - Get Report

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 32 cents a share, beating the 12-analyst estimate of 30 cents and up from the year-ago 2-cent loss.

Equifax

(EFX) - Get Report

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 45 cents a share, in line with the eight-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 31 cents.

ExxonMobil

(XOM) - Get Report

posted fourth-quarter operating earnings of 77 cents a share, ahead of the 24-analyst estimate of 75 cents and up from the year-ago 58 cents.

ITT Industries

(IIN) - Get Report

reported fourth-quarter earnings of 77 cents a share, in line with the 10-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 59 cents.

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 56 cents a share, a penny better than the 23-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 50 cents.

Marine Drilling

(MRL)

reported fourth-quarter earnings of 4 cents a share, missing the 27-analyst estimate by a penny and down from the year-ago 13 cents.

Merrill Lynch

(MER)

posted fourth-quarter earnings of $1.80 a share, well ahead of the 11-analyst estimate of $1.39 and up from the year-ago 86 cents. The Heard on the Street column in

The Wall Street Journal

said that while Merrill's online trading program Unlimited Advantage has attracted a lot of money -- as much as $65 billion -- analysts say the growth may be less impressive because more than two-thirds of total assets aren't coming from new clients but from existing Merrill customers.

Neuberger Berman

(NEU) - Get Report

posted fourth-quarter pro forma earnings of 64 cents a share, beating the seven-analyst estimate of 62 cents and up from the year-ago 61 cents.

Pepsi Bottling Group

(PBG)

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 6 cents a share, which included a 25-cent gain. The 17-analyst estimate was a 22-cent loss. The report was up from the year-ago pro-forma loss of $1.34.

Praxair

(PX)

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 70 cents a share, in line with the 12-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 66 cents.

Quorum Health Group

(QHGI)

reported second-quarter earnings of 18 cents a share, in line with the 14-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 5 cents.

Rayovac

(ROV)

reported first-quarter earnings of 48 cents a share, beating the seven-analyst estimate of 46 cents and up from the year-ago 34 cents.

SBC Communications

(SBC)

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 54 cents a share, excluding items, in line with the 16-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 50 cents, which excludes items.

Technitrol

(TNL)

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 80 cents a share, beating the four-analyst estimate of 77 cents and up from the year-ago 50 cents.

Tellabs

(TLAB)

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 41 cents a share, a penny better than both the 27-analyst estimate and the year-ago report.

Textron

(TXT) - Get Report

reported fourth-quarter earnings of $1.12 per share, a penny better than the 10-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 74 cents.

Offerings and stock actions

Rex Stores

(RSC)

said it added 1.5 million shares to its current share buyback plan.

Analyst actions

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

raised its price target on

About.com

(BOUT) - Get Report

to 150 from 100. The firm also upped its 2000 earnings estimate to a loss of $1.85 from a loss of $2.94.

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

upgraded

Bemis

(BMS) - Get Report

to buy from market outperform.

Merrill Lynch raised its intermediate-term rating on

Disney

(DIS) - Get Report

to accumulate from neutral.

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown upped its rating on

Heartland Express

(HTLD) - Get Report

to buy from market perform.

Bear Stearns

upped its rating on

Lexmark

(LXK)

to buy from attractive. In addition,

Salomon Smith Barney

upped its rating to outperform from hold.

Merrill Lynch upgraded

Magna International

(MGA) - Get Report

to accumulate from neutral.

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown upgraded

Mirage Resorts

(MIR)

to buy from market performer.

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown sliced its rating on

PSS World

(PSSI)

to market perform from buy.

Warburg Dillon Read

downgraded

Sola International

(SOL) - Get Report

to hold from a strong buy.

Deutsche Banc Alex Brown raised its rating on

Univision

(UVN)

to strong buy from a buy.

Miscellany

DaimlerChrysler's

(DCX)

senior vice president of sales and service, John MacDonald, told DaimlerChrysler dealers Sunday that he expects that the company's new minivan will not obtain the highest crash-survival rating from the

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

.

Standard & Poor's

said

Harley-Davidson

(HDI)

and

Biogen

(BGEN)

will join the

S&P 500

after the close of regular trading on Friday, replacing

Fleetwood Enterprises

(FLE)

and

Foster Wheeler

(FWC)

.

Ticketmaster.com

, which is part of

Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch

(TMCS)

, said consumers coming to its Web site will soon be able to buy, download and print bar-coded event tickets from their PCs.

The nation's biggest retailers, led by the biggest retailer in the world,

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

, will seek $8.1 billion in damages from

Visa USA

and

MasterCard International

for alleged antitrust violations in the debit card industry, the

Journal

reported.

For analysis of the market's preopen tone and trends, see the Wake-Up Call, published separately.