Updated from 6:27 p.m. ET Tuesday

Leading the headlines on Wednesday morning was news that

Goldman Sachs

started coverage of

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

by adding the PC maker to its recommended for purchase list and placing a 12-month price target of $32 on the company.

Merrill Lynch

added the boxmaker to its focus one list.

Separately, Dell disclosed plans to cut 200 employees from its Limerick plant in Ireland. The company said the layoffs are part of an effort to aggressively manage operating expenses. The company has 4,500 workers at the location.

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Earnings/revenue reports and previews

Big Lots

(BLI)

said on Wednesday that it met Wall Street's lowered estimates for the first quarter.

The closeout retailer, formerly known as

Consolidated Stores

, earned $300,000 for the quarter, breaking even on a per share basis. Analysts were expecting Big Lots to break even after the company warned of an earnings shortfall earlier in the quarter. Earnings from continuing operations totaled $14.3 million, or 13 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

The company said revenue increased to $773.6 million from $723.1 million in the same period last year. Same-store sales, for stores open at least two years, increased 1.4%. The company didn't provide figures for stores open for a year.

"While our earnings report for the first quarter matches First Call estimates, we fell short of our original objective," the company said in a statement. Big Lots said its projection of same-store sales growth in the mid-single digits for the second quarter will be a "challenge." However, the company expects to meet its same-store sales targets for the second half of the year.

Internet service provider

Prodigy

(PRGY)

reiterated its earnings expectations for the second quarter and full year, and the company projected revenue growth of 20% in 2001 and 2002.

The company forecast a top line of $86 million to $90 million for the second quarter. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization should be between $5 million and $8 million in the quarter. Wall Street is expecting the company to lose 83 cents a share in the period, compared with a loss of 59 cents in the year-ago period.

Prodigy forecast revenue for the year of $355 million to $365 million. The company also expects EBITDA of $31 million to $34 million for the year with a loss of $142 million to $155 million, or $2.02 to $2.20 a share. Two analysts polled by

Thomson Financial/First Call

are expecting a loss of $3.30 for the full year.

After Tuesday's Close

Enterprise software maker

Computer Associates

(CA) - Get Report

posted pro forma earnings of 47 cents a share for the fiscal fourth quarter on Tuesday after the bell. Analysts polled by

Thomson Financial/First Call

expected earnings of 46 cents a share. Total revenue for the quarter came in slightly higher than in the year ago period, reaching $1.44 billion compared with $1.39 billion last year.

Questions have arisen recently about Computer Associates' accounting methods. On a net basis, rather than the pro forma basis indicated above, the company lost $410 million, or 29 cents a share.

Business-to-business software maker

Agile Software

(AGIL)

posted earnings of 5 cents a share, in line with previously lowered guidance. Revenue for the fiscal fourth quarter more than doubled from the prior-year period.

The company also said it expects revenue for 2002 to reach $110 million to $120 million, but added that it would lose 2 cents to 5 cents a share in the next two quarters. The company expects to return to profitability in the third quarter of fiscal 2002.

Specialty apparel retailer

Gadzooks

(GADZ)

posted earnings of 25 cents a share Tuesday, down from 27 cents a share in the year-ago period, but slightly above the consensus estimate of 24 cents. Sales rose to $70.8 million from $63 million in the year-ago period.

Accounting and tax-management software producer

Intuit

(INTU) - Get Report

posted better-than-expected earnings Tuesday of 55 cents a share for the fiscal third quarter. The company said in March that it expected to meet its earnings guidance for the quarter, while estimates averaged 53 cents a share. In addition, the company said its board authorized a three-year stock buyback program worth up to $500 million.

Department store retailer

Kohl's

(KSS) - Get Report

reported first quarter earnings of 22 cents a share Tuesday, a penny higher than the consensus estimate. Net income totaled $75.1 million, compared with $52.6 million a year ago. The company also said it was comfortable with estimates for the second quarter, which range from 22 cents to 24 cents a share.

Yesterday,

Lehman Brothers

analyst Jeffrey Feiner raised his full-year earnings estimates for 2001for Kohl's to $1.37 from $1.35, and to $1.67 from $1.63 for 2002. The analyst also raised his price target on the stock to $80 from $78. Kohl's closed trading Tuesday at $67.16.

Novell

(NOVL)

reported a second-quarter loss of $151 million, or 48 cents a share, compared with a loss of $31 million, or 9 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Additionally, the company said it would cut 5% of its global workforce by the end of May in an effort to reach profitability by the end of the year. Sales for the company have declined in each of the past five consecutive quarters.

After market hours Tuesday, three-dimensional graphics chip-maker

Nvidia

(NVDA) - Get Report

reported first-quarter net income that rose 41% from last year on a 62% increase in sales. Net income climbed to $25.9 million from $18.3 million in the year-ago period. Earnings rose to 40 cents a share for the quarter from 24 cents a share last year.

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Offerings and stock actions

Nextel Communications

(NXTL)

said it privately sold $1 billion of 10-year convertible senior notes. The wireless communications services provider, which is based in Reston, Va., plans to use the proceeds on network expansion and to buy more spectrum, as well as for other corporate purposes. The company said an additional $150 million of notes could be sold if demand is strong.

The company's notes are convertible into common stock at $23.84. That represents a 25% premium over Tuesday's closing price of $19.07.

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Miscellany

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report

will cut nearly 150 investment bankers as part of a cost-cutting plan. The cuts are part of Goldman's plan to trim its workforce by about 5%, according to published reports. The job cuts will lead to a 12% reduction in the firm's investment banker ranks.

The cuts are affecting more seasoned managing directors and partners, as well as other vice presidents and associates, according to

The Wall Street Journal's

online edition on Wednesday. Some of the investment bankers who are losing their jobs will leave the firm, while others are being rehired in other departments.

After Tuesday's Close

Ford

(F) - Get Report

disclosed plans to replace all 13 million Firestone Wilderness tires that have been sold due to a "substantial failure risk" in some of them. The company said it would stop production at three plants in order to have tires to use as replacements for those recalled. As a result, the company will have to take a charge of $2.1 billion, or $1.10 a share, in the second quarter.

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