Updated from 8:03 p.m.

This isn't starting off very well here. Perpetually-reeling

Motorola

(MOT)

is warning again today, saying it's not going to meet analyst estimates for earnings of 12 cents a share for the first quarter. The company is expected to report the week of April 10. And in preopen action, Unix servermaker

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

and storage names

EMC

(EMC)

and

Veritas

(VRTS) - Get Report

were losing ground.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

Williams-Sonoma

(WSM) - Get Report

expects it will beat analyst expectations for the fiscal fourth quarter, saying it will report earnings of 78 cents to 79 cents a share for the quarter, ahead of the 18-broker

First Call/Thomson Financial

consensus for 75 cents a share.

The company said fourth-quarter revenues should come in around $640 million, beating the $613 million estimate. The retailer, which sells kitchen appliances and other housewares, said it was able to reduce inventory during what was a rough holiday season for retailers. The company is expected to report earnings the week of March 15. Beware the ides of March, kids!

After Thursday's Close

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

will putter along just fine, thank you very much.

The blue-chip automaker announced that it would not be changing its profit outlook for the first quarter or the rest of 2001, boldly stating that it will make $2 billion in profits for the upcoming fiscal 2001. Rick Wagoner, company CEO and president, said GM stands by its 25 cents a share earnings forecast for the first quarter and its $4.25 a share forecast for all of 2001.

The call is a rather gutsy one from the company, which faces tough competition and slowing sales industrywide. GM's forecasts are above the 24 cent first-quarter call from First Call/Thomson Financial and the $3.06 prediction for the full-year 2001.

News that

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

cut third-quarter earnings estimates in half topped the headlines.

Check out

TheStreet.com's

complete coverage:

  • McNealy Skips as Sun Stumbles on Sharp Growth Shortfall
  • EMC Tempers Revenue Guidance
  • Nokia Hit by Profit Concerns
  • BEA Systems Beats the Street, Falls on Investors' High Hopes
  • Viacom Names Suleman CEO of Infinity
  • Quest Diagnostics Board Approves 2-for-1 Stock Split
  • Polaroid to Cut 11% of Staff, Sees $90 Million Pretax Charge
  • Nordstrom Beats Estimates by a Penny, but Profit Falls From Last Year
  • TranSwitch Names New Financial Chief
  • VerticalNet: Revenue Declining Sequentially

Autodesk

(ADSK) - Get Report

announced fourth-quarter earnings of 57 cents a share, beating the 52 cent First Call/Thomson Financial estimate by a healthy margin. Revenues rose to $243 million from $226.7 million in the year-ago quarter, beating the $232.3 million estimate from analysts. The company, which makes AutoCAD, a veritable staple of the engineering industry, credited strong sales for the earnings surprise.

Next quarter, Autodesk said revenues would come in between $240 million and $250 million, adding another chapter to the company's growth story. For 2002, the company said sales will be between $1.025 billion and $1.065 billion, more than the $1.010 billion estimate.

BEA Systems

(BEAS)

spruces up old mainframes for the Web, helping companies like

FedEx

(FDX) - Get Report

and

United Airlines

(UAL) - Get Report

conduct business with a wide array of software options. The company reported fourth-quarter earnings of 10 cents a share, beating the 9 cent analyst estimate and keeping alive a streak of 21 straight quarters of record revenues.

Revenue came in at $256 million, a 72% gain from the year-ago $149.2 million. Analysts, on average, expected revenues of $251.8 million.

The company said that it had "confidence" in its ability to meet earnings goals for the first half of 2000.

HCC Insurance

(HCC) - Get Report

announced fourth-quarter earnings of 35 cents a share, matching what Wall Street expected and coming in above the year-ago's 20 cents a share. For the full year 2000, HCC's total revenue increased 36% to $466.2 million.

Marvell Technology

(MRVL) - Get Report

, a chipmaker for the data-storage industry, announced fourth-quarter earnings of 5 cents a share, even with last year's quarter despite the fact that Marvell's net sales jumped 77% from the previous year. The results might be in line with estimates, but flat earnings on growing sales will raise a few eyebrows about what's going on with Marvell. Unfortunately, the company did not comment on how sales can grow from $81.4 million to $143.9 million with no appreciable effect on the bottom line.

Nordstrom

(JWN) - Get Report

, the retailer that sells frou-frou, chi-chi goods to the rich folks, announced that its fourth quarter came in with earnings of 20 cents a share, besting a graciously lowered 19 cent estimate from analysts. The real story here is how bad this quarter was for Nordstrom, and how bleak the future looks for the high-end seller. Last year's quarter came in with a 50 cent profit. Income fell by 59% in the past year, due mostly to deep discounting and shy consumers who're not so into buying thousands of dollars worth of stuff when the market ranks.

Going forward, the company said that first-quarter and full-year 2001 earnings will miss estimates. The first quarter is expected to come in between 14 cents and 17 cents a share, missing the 19 cent estimate. The full year will be between $1.10 and $1.14 a share, a nickel lower than estimates.

Robert Mondavi

(MOND)

, the winemaker, announced that fiscal 2001 earnings would come in at $2.95 a share, pretty much in line with analyst estimates of $2.96 a share. Costs related to the company's new attraction at

Walt Disney's

(DIS) - Get Report

California Adventure theme park have been factored into the new forecast.

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Analyst Actions

JDS Uniphase's

(JDSU)

price target and earnings estimates were cut this morning by

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

, which said it expected declining revenue for the optical fiber company.

Morgan Stanley cut its price target on the company to $50 from $95 and lowered its earnings estimate for the fiscal third quarter to 16 cents a share from 17 cents. The current 18-broker consensus is 17 cents for the quarter. "For the next quarter, we expect a 9% sequential decline in revenue to $925 million, compared to our prior estimate of sequentially flat revenue," the note said. "A broad recovery in visibility looks unlikely."

Lehman Brothers'

Dan Niles lowered expected revenue growth on specialty semiconductor names

Xilinx

(XLNX) - Get Report

and

Altera

(ALTR) - Get Report

this morning, citing sluggish booking patterns and the expectation that contract manufacturers will continue to draw down inventories.

Xilinx's revenue growth was lowered to 15% from 20% for 2001, while Altera's was dropped to 4% from 10%. Earnings estimates were also cut for both companies. Earnings per share estimates for Xilinx were dropped to $1.25 from $1.30 and dropped to 89 cents from 94 cents for Altera. Lehman, which has not underwritten for those stocks in the last three years but makes a market in both names, rates both companies "market perform."

The analysts are soft-pedaling on

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

this morning after the servermaker

warned it would fall short of earnings and revenue estimates for the fiscal third quarter.

Goldman Sachs

, which has the stock on its recommended list,

Credit Suisse First Boston

, which rates it a buy, and Lehman Brothers, which rates it strong buy, have done the usual, cutting estimates to reflect company guidance. They all maintained their existing ratings.

Merrill Lynch

, which downgraded the company to neutral from accumulate two days

ago, did the same, writing in a comment today that "the magnitude of the reductions caught us by surprise."

Upgrades

Forward Air

(FWRD) - Get Report

: UP to strong buy from buy at Credit Suisse First Boston.

Administaff

(ASF)

: UP to strong buy from buy at CSFB.

Nova Chemicals

(NCX)

: UP to market outperformer from market performer at Goldman Sachs, which lowered 2001 earnings per share estimates to 95 cents from $1.60 and raised 2002 estimates to $3.00 from $2.50. Lehman Brothers cut 2001 estimates to $1.20 from $2.15.

Downgrades

VerticalNet

(VERT)

: DOWN to buy from strong buy at Credit Suisse First Boston.

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

: price target DOWN to $135 from $140 at

Salomon Smith Barney

, citing slowing spending on information technology.

Initiations

NDC

(NDC)

: NEW intermediate-term buy, long-term accumulate at Merrill Lynch.

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Offerings and stock actions

After Thursday's Close

Looking for shares of

Nextron

to hit the open market? Well, don't. The Web content management concern, a unit of

Safeguard Scientific

(SFE) - Get Report

, shelved its planned initial public offering, citing unfavorable market conditions -- you know, like a bear market.

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Miscellany

After Thursday's Close

Community Health Systems

(CYH) - Get Report

operates hospitals in rural areas, a far cry from the ER-based chicanery and nonsense on the ol' TV. And today, the company announced that current CEO and President Wayne Smith would also become the chairman of the board.

TransSwitch

(TXCC)

, a mixed-signal semiconductor maker, has no mixed signals about who its new CFO will be. The company said that Peter Tallian would clearly be it.

Viacom's

(VIA) - Get Report

radio business, Infinity Broadcasting, just got a new top guy. The company announced that Farid Suleman would become its new president and CEO after buying up the 37.5% of Infinity that it did not yet own.

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