Updated from 11:06 a.m.

Storage infrastructure firm

Brocade Communications

(BRCD)

reported fiscal first-quarter earnings ahead of Wall Street's expectations Wednesday after the close of regular trading, but warned of modest growth for the second quarter.

Brocade

posted earnings of 13 cents a share, a penny better than the

First Call/Thomson Financial

consensus estimate and well ahead of year-ago earnings of 3 cents a share.

Revenue totaled $165 million, a tad higher than what most analysts were looking for. The first-quarter sales figure improved on both last year's $42.7 million and the prior quarter's $132.1 million, marking Brocade's 10th straight quarter-over-quarter revenue increase.

Brocade, which makes the fiber-channel switches that connect storage-area networks to one another, has gotten

hit hard lately amid the downdraft created by

Emulex's

(EMLX)

warning last week that some of its large customers were delaying their orders.

Analysts were expecting Brocade's second-quarter sales to grow 18% sequentially. The company said that it expected sales to increase by 19% sequentially in both the third and fourth quarters and reset its guidance for full 2001 earnings to 60 cents a share, 2 cents below expectations.

TheStreet.com

wrote more about Brocade's

forecast in an earlier story. Brocade closed down $2.75, or 6.2%, to $41.94; Emulex was up $2.88, or 9.4%, to $33.63.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

After Wednesday's Close

General Communications

(GNCMA)

will pay

WorldCom

(WCOM)

$10 million in new stock for an 85% controlling stake in a corporation that owns an 800-mile fiber-optic cable system in Alaska.

The company said it will issue shares of a new series of Class C preferred stock, which is nonvoting and pays a 6% quarterly cash dividend. The stock is convertible at $12 a share into GCI Class A common stock.

The transaction requires regulatory approval, which is expected in the second quarter. General Communications closed down 6 cents, or 0.8%, to $8; WorldCom closed up 81 cents, or 5.1%, to $16.69.

JDS Uniphase

(JDSU)

acquired

Optical Process Automation

, a maker of automated and semiautomated systems for manufacturing fiber-optic components and modules. Financial terms weren't disclosed, but JDS said it will account for the acquisition as a purchase.

Optical Process, a privately held company, is based in Melbourne, Fla. The company also has operations in Asheville, N.C. JDS said the acquisition represents "an important move in our global manufacturing strategy.''

JDS Uniphase is based in San Jose, Calif., and maintains Canadian headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario. Last week, the company

completed the acquisition of optical components maker

SDL

but warned of earnings shortfalls. The company insisted that it would be able to ride out the industrywide slowdown in telecommunications spending. JDS closed down $1.13, or 3.6%, to $30.56.

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Earnings/revenue reports and previews

Patterson Dental

(PDCO) - Get Report

posted third-quarter earnings of 30 cents a share, in line with the eight-analyst estimate and up from year-ago earning of 25 cents a share.

The company said it's comfortable with current analysts' estimates of 31 cents a share for the fourth quarter. Patterson Dental closed down $1, or 3%, to $32.

Quanta Services

(PWR) - Get Report

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 49 cents a share, beating the 13-analyst estimate of 45 cents and up from year-ago earnings of 39 cents a share. The latest quarter's figure excludes merger and special charges totaling $28.6 million.

Quanta expects internal revenue growth in the range of 13% to 16% for the first quarter and earnings per share to be in the 37-cent to 38-cent range. For fiscal 2001, Quanta continues to expect internal revenue growth in the range of 15% to 20% and EPS in the range of $2.14 to $2.18, assuming no acquisitions in 2001. The

First Call/Thomson Financial

estimates are 38 cents a share for the first quarter and $2.14 for the full year. Quanta closed up $2.37, or 8.95%, to $28.85.

After Wednesday's Close

ADC Telecom

(ADCT) - Get Report

posted first-quarter earnings of 7 cents, excluding charges, a penny better than the lowered First Call 20-analyst estimate and in line with year-ago earnings.

The supplier of systems and equipment designed to improve the speed and performance of broadband, multiservice networks said it remains cautious about the outlook for fiscal 2001 and 2002. ADC closed up $1.56, or 15.2%, to $11.88.

Community Health Systems

(CYH) - Get Report

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 9 cents a share, 2 cents better than the First Call 12-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago loss of 23 cents a share.

As announced in December, the company acquired and began operations of Northeast Regional Medical Center, a 164-bed acute care facility in Kirksville, Mo. Community Health Systems closed up $1.25, or 4.8%, to $27.25.

Dun & Bradstreet

(DNB)

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 59 cents a share, excluding one-time charges, a penny better than the four-analyst estimate and up from 51 cents a share in the year-ago period. The consensus estimate was lowered by 1 cent earlier this month.

The business information company said operating income was $92.1 million and income from continued operations checked in at $49.3 million, both excluding one-time items. Revenue grew to $378.4 million, an 8% year-over-year increase before the effect of foreign exchange, and a 2% increase as reported.

The company said its forecast for 10% per-share earnings growth, 10% operating income growth and 3% revenue growth for 2001 remains unchanged. A four-analyst consensus is calling for the company to earn $1.66 for the year, up from $1.50 in 2000. D&B closed down 29 cents, or 1.2%, to $24.66.

Internet Capital Group

(ICGE)

, the one-time high-flying business-to-business e-commerce holding company, reported a fourth-quarter loss that widened dramatically from the year-ago period, but the company said it expects to finish 2001 with more than $200 million in cash, short-term investments and securities.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, the company reported a loss of $200 million, or 70 cents a share, excluding asset impairment charges, goodwill amortization and other income. The company, which is based in Wayne, Pa., lost $30 million, or 12 cents a share, in the prior-year period. Analysts' estimates weren't available. Revenue for the quarter rose to $21.3 million from $1.8 million last year. ICG closed up 13 cents, or 3.6%, to $3.56.

Medtronic

(MDT) - Get Report

posted third-quarter earnings of 26 cents a share, in line with the 27-analyst estimate and up from year-ago earnings of 22 cents a share. The medical device maker said growth from pacemakers, coronary stents and spinal products helped drive the bottom line.

Revenue for the quarter was $1.36 billion, up from $1.26 billion in the year-ago period.

Medtronic, which is based in Minneapolis, said it will change the end of its fiscal year from April 30 to the close of business on the last Friday in April each year. This will standardize the number of business days in each quarter. Medtronic closed down $1.50, or 2.9%, to $50.

Portal Software

(PRSF)

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 4 cents a share, a penny better than the 15-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago quarter, when the company broke even.

The customer service and billing software company's revenue exploded in the fourth quarter to $81.1 million, up from $39 million in the fourth quarter of 2000.

The company

announced licensing agreements Tuesday with

Vodafone

(VOD) - Get Report

and

France Telecom

(FTE)

. Portal closed down $2.66, or 27.2%, to $7.09; Vodafone was up $1.44, or 5.5%, to $27.45; France Telecom was up 95 cents, or 1.6%, to $61.

StarMedia Network

(STRM) - Get Report

, an Internet media company targeting Spanish and Portuguese speakers, reported a fourth-quarter loss of 49 cents a share, excluding noncash charges. The First Call nine-analyst estimate was for a loss of 48 cents and the year-ago loss was 44 cents a share.

StarMedia's fourth-quarter revenue more than doubled to $20.1 million from $9 million in the same quarter a year ago. During the month of December, StarMedia had 27.4 million unique users. The company recorded 3.9 billion page views in the fourth quarter, up 20% from the latest third quarter and more than double the same quarter last year. StarMedia closed down, though, by 44 cents, or 11.1%, to $3.50.

Thomas & Betts

(TNB)

, which makes electrical components and industrial heating and cooling units, said it will record about $60 million in additional charges in the fourth quarter 2000, resulting "primarily from decisions to discontinue or dispose of product lines that do not add value to the respective business segments; changes in the company's investment in industry-related B2B activities; additional severance resulting from the company's continued restructuring; and the write-off, or increased depreciation, of assets previously included in property and prepaid expenses."

The company said it will report a net loss for the fourth quarter, which it's scheduled to announce in mid-March. The First Call three-analyst estimate is for a loss of 21 cents a share. Thomas & Betts also said that some of the charges will be applied to prior periods as part of the company's previously announced intention to restate financial statements for 1999, 2000, and possibly earlier periods.

In a statement, the company said its management is "cooperating fully" with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

, which began a formal investigation with respect to the company's accounting, control and financial reporting practices that led to the special charges announced in August 2000. The company's stock closed down $1.78, or 8.4%, to $19.45.

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Analyst Actions

Brocade's

(BRCD)

news after the close Wednesday night that it

beat estimates, but that its second-quarter growth would be

modest, brought the analysts out to punish the company and its cohorts.

Merrill Lynch

lowered its second-quarter EPS view to 13 cents from 15 cents and 2001 EPS view to 60 cents from 67 cents and its price target to $65.

Still, Merrill said, "Although this news crystallized our worst concerns, the key elements of our bullish stance remain in place," which are that Brocade is working to become one of the killer hardware and software platforms in the data center and that SAN and fiber-channel demand remains strong and the market underestimated.

"While economic softness and uncertainty have led to very poor performance for everyone around Brocade, we think the time to buy great companies is when most lose hope. At a

PEG of 56 cents, we think that we're there, but do believe that patience will be rewarded."

The firm added that it believes the same for

EMC

(EMC)

,

Network Appliance

(NTAP) - Get Report

and

McData

(MCDT)

.

Also,

Morgan Stanley

downgraded Brocade to outperform from strong buy and EMC to neutral from strong buy. As mentioned above, Brocade closed down $2.75, or 6.2%, to $41.94, and EMC was down $2.60, or 6.1%, to $40.35; Network Appliance was down 50 cents, or 1.5%, to $33.81; and McData was down $2.61, or 10.3%, to $22.63.

Upgrades

Kerr-McGee

(KMG)

: UP to buy from hold at

UBS Warburg

. Kerr-McGee closed up $1.10, or 1.7%, to $65.36.

Oxford Health

(OXHP)

: UP to strong buy from accumulate at

Prudential Securities

. Oxford Health ended the day up $1.31, or 4.4%, to $31.19.

Schlumberger

(SLB) - Get Report

: UP to mid-term buy from accumulate at Merrill. Schlumberger closed down 86 cents, or 1.4%, to $62.44.

Too

(TOO) - Get Report

: UP to buy from hold at

Credit Suisse First Boston

. Too closed up $1.71, or 9.4%, to $19.95.

Downgrades

ADC Telecommunications

(ADCT) - Get Report

: price target DOWN to $25 from $30 at Lehman. Also, its 2001 earnings DOWN to 48 cents a share from 59 cents at

W.R. Hambrecht

. As mentioned above, ADC closed up $1.56, or 15.2%, to $11.88.

Celeritek

(CLTK)

: 2002 EPS view DOWN to 11 cents from 55 cents at Prudential. Celeritek closed down 69 cents, or 5.2%, to $12.50.

Conseco

(CNC) - Get Report

: DOWN to market perform from buy at Lehman. Conseco closed down 39 cents, or 2.8%, to $13.79.

Helmerich & Payne

(HP) - Get Report

: DOWN to outperform from buy at

Salomon Smith Barney

. Helmerich & Payne closed down $2.90, or 5.4%, to $50.92.

IMRglobal

(IMRS)

: DOWN to market perform from buy at Lehman. IMRglobal closed down 63 cents, or 9.5%, to $5.94.

Martha Stewart Living

(MSO)

: DOWN to hold from buy at CSFB. Martha Stewart Living closed down $1.30, or 6.1%, to $20.05.

Nortel Networks

(NT)

: 2001 EPS view DOWN to 72 cents from 81 cents at UBS; and 2002 EPS DOWN to 90 cents from $1. It also cut its price target to $27 from $30. Nortel closed up 79 cents, or 4.1%, to $19.94.

Portal Software

(PRSF)

: DOWN to hold from accumulate at Prudential; 2002 EPS cut to 12 cents from 23 cents. As noted above, Portal closed down $2.66, or 27.2%, to $7.09.

Stanley Works

(SWK) - Get Report

: DOWN to hold from buy at CSFB (but see Initiations). Stanley Works closed down $1.28, or 3.5%, to $35.21.

Stilwell Financial

(SV)

: DOWN to market perform from buy at Lehman. Stilwell closed down 28 cents, or 0.8%, to $33.87.

Vicinity

(VCNT)

: price target DOWN to $6 from $15 at

J.P. Morgan

. Vicinity closed down 16 cents, or 6.2%, to $2.38.

Initiations

Group Moves

J.P. Morgan started coverage of three drug store companies:

  • CVS (CVS) - Get Report: NEW buy; price target: $72. CVS closed down $1.21, or 2%, to $58.37.
  • Duane Reade (DRD) - Get Report: new long-term buy; price target: $36. Duane Reade closed down 26 cents, or 0.8%, to $32.29.
  • Walgreen (WAG) : NEW market perform; price target: $42. Walgreen closed up 3 cents, or 0.1%, to $42.85.

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

started coverage on home products makers:

  • American Standard (ASD) : NEW buy; price target: $65. American Standard ended the day off by 10 cents, or 0.2%, to $54.68.
  • Black & Decker (BDK) : NEW buy; price target: $55. Black & Decker closed down $2.66, or 6.1%, to $41.32.
  • Dal-Tile (DTL) : NEW market perform. Dal-Tile closed down 39 cents, or 2.5%, to $15.06.
  • Masco (MAS) - Get Report: NEW market perform; price target: $28. Masco closed down 4 cents, or 0.2%, to $22.26.
  • Sherwin-Williams (SHW) - Get Report: NEW market perform. The stock closed down 35 cents, or 1.4%, to $24.49.
  • Stanley Works (SWK) - Get Report: NEW market perform (but see Downgrades). As noted above, Stanley Works closed down $1.28, or 3.5%, to $35.21.

Alex. Brown started coverage of two electronic retailers:

  • Circuit City (CC) - Get Report: NEW market perform. Circuit City closed down 12 cents, or 0.8%, to $14.60.
  • Tweeter Home Entertainment (TWTR) - Get Report: NEW buy. Tweeter closed up 38 cents, or 2.1%, to $18.50.

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Offerings and stock actions

After Wednesday's Close

AvalonBay Communities

(AVB) - Get Report

increased its first-quarter stock dividend 8 cents, or 14.3%, to 64 cents a share. AvalonBay closed down 41 cents, or 0.9%, to $45.54.

Granite Construction's

(GVA) - Get Report

board approved a 3-for-2 stock split and raised the company's quarterly cash dividend to 12 cents a share on a pre-split basis from 10 cents. Granite closed down 69 cents, or 2.2%, to $31.33.

Whitney Holding

(WTNY)

said it will increase its quarterly dividend 2 cents, or 6%, to 38 cents a share.

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Miscellany

Biotech firm

Myriad Genetics

(MYGN) - Get Report

named Hugh D'Andrade its chairman. He succeeds John Horan, who is retiring. D'Andrade recently retired as vice chairman and chief administrative officer of

Schering-Plough

(SGP)

. Myriad closed down $7.19, or 12%, to $52.63; Schering-Plough was down $1.68, or 3.9%, to $40.95.

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By the Numbers

The data on NYSE and Nasdaq percent winners and losers are filtered to exclude stocks whose previous day's volume was less than 25,000 shares; whose last price was less than 5; and whose net change was less than 1/2.

Dow point gain and loss data are based on New York closing prices and do not reflect late composite trading.

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