Updated from 3:11 p.m. EDT

Hewlett-Packard

(HWP)

posted third-quarter earnings of 97 cents a share, above the 20-analyst estimate of 85 cents; the year-ago earnings were 71 cents a share. The company said its imaging and printing systems unit and its computing systems and consumer business units saw increases in revenue.

Hewlett-Packard said its third-quarter enterprise storage revenue rose 10%, software revenue increased 57% and consulting revenue rose 46%.

But some analysts complained that much of HP's strength came from accounting devices, lower tax rates and unspecified interest and other income. Some also questioned the performance of Hewlett-Packard's Unix server division.

Banc of America

cut the stock to buy from strong buy and

Prudential Securities

lowered its price target to 125 from 133.

Meanwhile,

Lehman Brothers

said EPS was impressive despite the investment gains and said it is "pleased with HP's progress and believe the shares represent an excellent value."

Goldman Sachs

lifted its 2000 EPS view to $3.67 from $3.55 and

Bear Stearns

raised its price target on the company to 125 to 130 a share from 115 to 120 a share.

TheStreet.com

covered HP's earnings in a

separate story.

The company also announced a 2-for-1 stock split.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Investment group BGV PCS Acquisition said it would buy wireless franchises in Chicago and Cincinnati from

Verizon

(VZ) - Get Report

. The purchase price wasn't disclosed, but the group said it had committed more than $900 million in equity and secured debt facilities of $1.45 billion from Deutsche Banc Securities. BGV is led by

J.P. Morgan Capital

.

According to published reports, Japan's

NTT DoCoMo

is in talks about introducing a mobile Internet service to the United States that could mean taking a stake in the joint venture being formed between

SBC Communications

(SBC)

and

BellSouth

(BLS)

.

British Telecommunications

(BTY)

said it agreed to take control of the

Viag Interkom

German mobile-phone joint venture by buying an extra 45% in the business for $6.04 billion. British Telecom, which already has a 45% stake, has an option to buy the additional shareholding in mid-2001 from its partner

E.ON

, the German energy group created by the merger of utilities

Veba

and

Viag

.

Irish pharmaceuticals group

Elan

(ELN)

said it agreed to form a joint venture with U.S. group

Biogen

(BGEN)

to develop treatments for multiple sclerosis and Crohn's disease. The companies will split costs.

Lucent

(LU)

said it won a contract from

Sprint

(FON)

worth up to $200 million. The contract is aimed at expanding Sprint's Internet capacity.

U.S.-based

Telescan

(TSCN)

, which helps develop and host corporate Web sites, and British online financial information firm

GlobalnetFinancial

said they will merge to form a company worth about $332 million. Under terms of the merger, each share of Telescan will be exchanged for 0.50 share of Globalnet.

After Wednesday's Close

Finisar

(FNSR) - Get Report

said it will acquire privately held

Sensors Unlimited

for about $700 million. The company said it sees first-quarter revenues exceeding $27 million, up 95% from a year ago, and pro-forma operating income between $2.4 million and $2.6 million.

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Earnings/revenue reports and previews

Brocade Communications

(BRCD)

posted second-quarter earnings of 16 cents a share, ahead of the 15-analyst estimate of 14 cents and the year-ago penny a share. The company, which makes high-speed computer switches for data-storage networks said third-quarter profits soared 12-fold as sales more than tripled.

Goldman Sachs

upgraded Brocade's 2000 EPS to 54 cents from 46 cents and its 2001 EPS to $1.05 from 80 cents.

Hormel

(HRL) - Get Report

posted third-quarter earnings of 21cents a share, missing the four-analyst estimate by 3 cents, but the number was up from year-ago earnings of 20 cents. The company attributed its missed earnings to the rise in the price of hogs on the spot cash market, which placed pressure on its pork-operation margins in the quarter.

Seagram

(VO) - Get Report

posted a fourth-quarter loss of 29 cents a share, narrower than the 15-analyst expected loss of 35 cents and the year-ago loss of 32 cents.

United Airlines parent

UAL

(UAL) - Get Report

said it sees third-quarter EPS lower than the $2.60 to $3.20 range it announced earlier. UAL said booking levels fell on bad publicity about its August cancellations. The company is expected to award bonus miles to its elite status frequent fliers to make up for delayed and canceled flights,

The Wall Street Journal

reported.

Venator

(Z) - Get Report

posted second-quarter earnings of 7 cents a share, including a capital gain of 2 cents. The seven-analyst estimate called for 4 cents a share, while the year-ago loss of 22 cents included a restructuring charge of $52 million, or 28 cents a share, and a gain of 11 cents a share related to the sale of real estate.

After Wednesday's Close

American Eagle Outfitters

(AEOS)

posted second-quarter earnings of 6 cents a share, a penny better than the 16-analyst estimate, but down from the year-ago earnings of 35 cents a share. In July, the company warned that it expected its second quarter to be hurt by a decline in average unit retail price, lower gross margins and fixed expenses.

CacheFlow

(CFLO)

posted a first-quarter loss of 14 cents a share, excluding stock-based compensation and goodwill, narrower than the seven-analyst expected loss of 17 cents and the year-ago loss of 16 cents.

Fox Entertainment

(FOX) - Get Report

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 3 cents a share, better than the 11-analyst estimate of 1 cent and down from the year-ago earnings of 5 cents.

PaineWebber

cut Fox's 2001 earnings-per-share view to a loss of 2 cents from a profit of 50 cents.

Nordstrom

(JWN) - Get Report

posted second-quarter earnings of 35 cents including a loss of 5 cents a share from the write down, or reduction in book value, of an investment. The 23-analyst estimate is for 40 cents, while the year-ago earnings were 51 cents. The company said second-quarter same-store sales declined 4.5% and also said it sees a third-quarter charge related to its Internet grocery business.

Merrill Lynch

downgraded Nordstrom's 12-month price target to $25 from $40.

Novell

(NOVL)

posted second-quarter earnings of 3 cents a share, a penny better than the six-analyst estimate and down from the year-ago 14 cents. The company said its board approved a $500 million share repurchase program.

Synopsys

(SNPS) - Get Report

posted third-quarter earnings of 65 cents, 2 cents ahead of the seven-analyst estimate and down from the year-ago 67 cents.

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Analyst actions

Upgrades

Brocade Communications

(BRCD)

: 2000 EPS UP to 54 cents from 46 cents and 2001 EPS to $1.05 from 80 cents at

Goldman Sachs

; 2000 EPS to 55 cents from 47 cents, 2001 EPS to $1 from 75 cents and 2002 EPS to $1.40 from $1.10 at

Bear Stearns

.

Ciena

(CIEN) - Get Report

: price target UP to 255 a share from 175 at PaineWebber.

Kansas City Southern Industries

(KSU) - Get Report

: UP to strong buy from hold at

Credit Suisse First Boston

.

Matav

(MTA)

: UP to add from sell at

Dresdner Kleinwort Benson

; price target: 36.

Numerical Technologies

(NMTC)

was added to

Chase Hambrecht & Quist's

Focus List

Reliant Energy

(REI) - Get Report

: UP to buy from hold at

UBS Warburg

; 12 to 18 month price target UP to 48 from 35.

Philips Electronics

(PHG) - Get Report

: 2000 and 2001 EPS and price target UP at Alex. Brown.

Downgrades

Lightspan

(LSPN)

: DOWN to market perform from strong buy at

Thomas Weisel

; DOWN to buy from strong buy at

US Bancorp Piper Jaffrey

.

Phillips Petroleum

(P)

: Earnings estimate DOWN to $5.40 from $5.60 at

ING Barings

.

Ross Stores

(ROST) - Get Report

: DOWN to hold from buy at CSFB.

ZapMe!

(IZAP)

: DOWN to market perform from strong buy at Thomas Weisel.

Initiations

ACT Manufacturing

(ACTM)

: coverage REINSTATED with a strong buy at CSFB; price target: 70 to 73.

Axcelis Technologies

(ACLS) - Get Report

: NEW outperform at

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

.

Lone Star Technologies

(LSS)

: NEW buy at

Banc of America

.

Network Appliance

(NTAP) - Get Report

: NEW buy at

J.P. Morgan

.

Pac-West Telecom

(PACW) - Get Report

: NEW buy at UBS Warburg; price target: 27.

Spinnaker Exploration

(SKE)

: coverage REINSTATED at CSFB.

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

: NEW accumulate at

Prudential Securities

; 12-month price target: 155.

Group Moves

Banc of America said it started coverage of

Praxair

(PX)

and

Air Products and Chemicals

(APD) - Get Report

as market perform.

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown initiated coverage of online brokers:

  • Ameritrade (AMTD) - Get Report NEW buy.
  • E*Trade (EGRP) NEW market perform.
  • Charles Schwab (SCH) NEW buy.

UBS Warburg initiated coverage of two transportation companies:

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Offerings and stock actions

Stock of

Cabletron Systems

(CS) - Get Report

surged 7.4% in late trading on the heels of active options call buying. Volatility for the networking company's September and October out-of-the-money calls were at 80%, up from 75% on Wednesday.

InterMune

(ITMN)

said it will sell 2 million shares of its newly issued common stock at $38 each to selected institutional and private investors.

IVAX

(IVX)

, a pharmaceutical company, said its board authorized the repurchase of up to 10 million shares of the company's outstanding stock. Since January 1998, the company has repurchased close to 33 million shares of its stock.

MDU Resources

(MDU) - Get Report

raised its quarterly payout to 22 cents from 21 cents.

Seagram's

(VO) - Get Report

Universal,

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

(MGM) - Get Report

and

Time Warner's

(TWX)

Warner Bros. were a few of victorious studios in a lawsuit concerning a software code that unlocks scrambled DVDs, allowing them to be copied and swapped on the Internet. The federal judge barred a publisher of a magazine for the hacker underground from republishing the software code.

After Wednesday's Close

Astoria Financial

(ASFC)

said its board approved a buyback of 10% of its outstanding stock, totaling 5 million shares.

Corning

(GLW) - Get Report

said it set a 3-for-1 stock split.

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Miscellany

Wyeth-Ayerst Pharmaceuticals

, a division of

American Home Products

(AHP)

, suspended shipments of its Norplant contraceptive implants while it tests the stability of some lots. The company also advised health care providers to stop implanting Norplant from eight different lots that were distributed starting on Oct. 7, 1999.

Tellabs

(TLAB)

said it named Richard Notebaert as its new CEO effective tomorrow. Notebaert, former CEO of Baby Bell,

Ameritech

, succeeds Mike Birck, who was named chairman of Tellabs' board.

After Wednesday's Close

Albany International

(AIN) - Get Report

said CEO and Chairman Francis McKone will retire. The company said Frank Schmeler will take over as CEO, effective Oct. 1.

Halliburton

(HAL) - Get Report

said it would take a one-time charge of about $8.5 million to cover a retirement package for outgoing CEO and Chairman Dick Cheney, who resigned last month to be Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush's running mate.

Halliburton said it would treat Cheney's resignation as an early retirement in terms of benefits and compensation. Cheney won't receive severance pay.

Mead

(MEA)

said it will close two school and office supply plants and trim about 205 jobs in a move to reduce costs. The company said it will take a charge in the third and fourth quarter.

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