Updated from 3:36 p.m. EST

DuPont

(DD) - Get Report

, America's largest chemical company, announced fourth-quarter earnings of 47 cents a share, topping its lowered 46-cent estimate.

But that's really not the true barometer of DuPont's fourth quarter, last year's 55-cent-a-share profit is. And that side-by-side comparison is not so good, with this year's quarter hurt by skyrocketing prices for all things petroleum-based and other key raw materials DuPont used to make its products. Revenues dropped from $7.7 billion to this year's disappointing $6.26 billion.

"Our employees worldwide have done a tremendous job countering some of the worst conditions in our industry in a decade," said Charles Holliday, DuPont chairman and CEO.

DuPont echoed most companies this earnings season in saying that the first half of 2001would be difficult. The same thing that affected this quarter, high fuel costs, will continue to plague the bottom line. The first quarter will be especially tough for DuPont, worsened by declining demand.

DuPont said that revenues for its drug business would fall significantly in the first half. Additionally, it warned that its agricultural business would face some difficulties.

Not that these dark skies are anything new for chemical companies like DuPont. Lately, competitors

Union Carbide

(UK)

and

Lyondell Chemical

(LYO)

have also warned of a difficult next two quarters.

DuPont closed down 19 cents, or 0.45%, to $41.88; Union Carbide closed up $1, or 2.2%, to $46.44 and Lyondell Chemical closed up 19 cents, or 1.3%, to $14.69.

Can't get enough earnings coverage? Well, then, you're in luck! Check out these stories:

  • Lucent Loss Worse Than Expected
  • Qwest Inches Up After Beating Estimate
  • ExxonMobil Rides Black Oil to Stellar Earnings
  • Pfizer Fourth-Quarter Results Match Estimates
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb Tops Forecasts by a Penny

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Clorox

(CLX) - Get Report

, maker of bleach and plastic bags, announced that it would buy a 50% stake in

Detergentes Bombril

, a Brazilian household chemical company for $200 million. The company will function as a joint venture, with Clorox getting the right to use Bombril's trademarks, along with three factories and 1,900 employees. Clorox closed down 63 cents, or 1.85%, to $33.13.

Tuesday

Kimberly-Clark

(KMG)

announced fourth-quarter earnings that met analyst expectations. Today, the diaper company announced that it will buy Italy's second-largest diapermaker,

Linostar

. The terms of the deal were not announced, but this move ups Kimberly-Clark's share to 21% of the Italian diaper market. Kimberly-Clark closed down $1.13, or 1.7%, to $64.50.

Nextel

(NXTL)

said it will buy licenses for SMR spectrum from

Arch Wireless

(ARCH) - Get Report

for $175 million. Nextel will also invest $75 million in a new stock issue and will loan $250 million to a new Arch subsidiary that will hold the spectrum licenses until the transfers are approved. Nextel closed down $1.81, or 5.1%, to $33.94.

After Tuesday's Close

APW

(APW)

said it will buy a unit of privately held

Connell

for about $225 million in cash and 1.5 million shares of APW common stock.

The electronics manufacturing services provider said the transaction should add to its earnings starting in the second half. The unit, called Mayville Metal Products, designs and makes large outdoor enclosures for the telecom industry. APW closed up $1.50, or 3.7%, to $42.50.

Wireless networking company

Proxim

(PROX)

said it will buy

Netopia

, a broadband equipment vendor, in a stock-for-stock deal worth $223 million.

Proxim said the deal would increase its reach in the market for broadband Internet network-related services and expand its customer base.

Also, Proxim posted fourth-quarter earnings of 17 cents a share, a penny better than the nine-analyst estimate and up from year-ago earnings of 9 cents a share. Proxim closed down $6.50, or 17.6%, to $30.38.

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Earnings/revenue reports and previews

ATG Resources

(ATG)

, an energy holding company, announced first-quarter earnings of 41 cents a share, topping the 35-cent First Call/Thomson Financial estimate and last year's quarter. The company said it was comfortable with 2001 earnings forecasts and credits the upside surprise with colder-than-usual weather and a growing customer base. ATG Resources closed up 38 cents, or 1.8%, to $21.06.

Chevron

(CHV)

announced fourth-quarter earnings of $2.39 a share, topping the $2.21 estimate and last year's $1.24. Like

ExxonMobil

(XOM) - Get Report

,

which also reported today, Chevron rode high crude prices all the way to the bank.

Soon, Chevron will gobble up rival

Texaco

(TX) - Get Report

, which announced fourth-quarter earnings of $1.55 a share, topping the $1.51 estimate and last year's 67 cents. Chevron closed up 31 cents, or 0.4%, to $79.88.

Convergys

(CVG)

announced fourth-quarter earnings of 34 cents a share, right in line with lowered analyst estimates. Net income increased by 26% from the year-ago quarter. Convergys closed unchanged at $49.56.

Danaher

(DHR) - Get Report

reported fourth-quarter earnings of 60 cents a share, a penny better than analyst expectations and 9 cents better than the year-ago quarter. Revenues rose to $1.03 billion from $848.2 million. Danaher closed unchanged at $62.75.

Dial

(DL) - Get Report

, the meatpacker and maker of soap and other household products, announced fourth-quarter earnings of 13 cents a share, beating a 10-analyst estimate by a penny but down from year-ago earnings of 50 cents. Including asset writedowns and discontinued product inventories of $700,000 and restructuring and other charges of $5.9 million, the company's fourth-quarter loss was 8 cents. Dial closed down 31 cents, or 2.2%, to $14.19.

General Dynamics

(GD) - Get Report

announced fourth-quarter earnings of $1.09 a share, beating the $1.07

First Call/Thomson Financial

estimate and last year's 98 cents a share. Solid sales in information services and Gulf stream jets, the uber-perk for many ultra-rich executives, were credited for the good quarter. General Dynamics closed up 50 cents, or 0.7%, to $69.88.

International Paper

(IP) - Get Report

, the blue-chip giant with operations in 50 countries, announced fourth-quarter earnings of 28 cents a share, missing the lowered analyst expectation of 30 cents, not to mention last year's 55 cents. This quarter was already expected to come in below expectations when IP warned a month ago.

Let John Dillon, IP's chief executive and chairman, explain why, as he did in a press release this morning.

"The slowing economy and rising energy costs hit during a period in which demand is traditionally soft for most of our product grades. And as demand fell, we maintained our commitment to keep our production in line with customer orders, which negatively impacted overall sales." He added that he expects the situation to continue in the opening months of this year. International Paper closed down 31 cents, or 0.85%, to $36.25.

Kerr-McGee

(KMG)

announced fourth-quarter earnings of $2.67 a share, missing the First Call/Thomson Financial estimate of $2.82 a share, but crushing the year-ago $1.51. On paper, Kerr-McGee missed analyst estimates by 15 cents a share, but really, there are more numbers on a balance sheet than the earnings-per-share figure.

Revenue is one of those, and Kerr-McGee announced that it had increased to $1.1 billion from $816 million last year. High prices of crude, averaging $32 a barrel over the fourth-quarter, were credited for the upside surprise. Fourth quarter earnings were more than double from the previous year, but still short of estimates. Kerr-McGee closed down $1.12, or 1.7%, to $64.50.

Knight-Ridder

(KRI)

, newspaper giant, announced fourth-quarter earnings of $1.09 a share, topping the $1.07 First Call/Thomson Financial estimate and the year-ago $1.03.

Ad revenues are really the pivotal number to look at when looking at a media company's earnings. And although Knight's ad revenues were up 8.1% for the fourth quarter, including an extra week that did not occur in the year-ago quarter. Judging apples to apples, and eliminating that extra week, Knight's ad revenue increased only 1.5%.

With the ad market slowing, Knight said that growth would be mired in the low double digits for most of 2001, with ad revenues growing between 3.5% and 4.5%. In comparison, ad revenues increased 4.7% this year, and that includes both the dot com ad boom and its subsequent bust. Knight-Ridder closed down 63 cents, or 1.1%, to $55.88.

Power-One

(PWER)

, which makes power conversion devices, announced fourth-quarter earnings of 27 cents a share, beating the First Call/Thomson Financial estimate by a penny and the year-ago quarter, too. In the next quarter, the company said that it was optimistic about growth, with earnings coming in between 27 and 28 cents a share, just about in line with the 28 cent First Call/Thomson Financial estimate. For the full year, Power-One said that earnings would come in between $1.33 and $1.35 a share, again, just on the low side of estimates. Power-One closed down 98 cents, or 1.98%, to $48.81.

USX-U.S. Steel

(X) - Get Report

announced a troubling fourth quarter, with losses of 67 cents a share, missing the 21 cent loss expected by Wall Street. The losses came after a litany of problems tanked the company. U.S. Steel faced production problems in coalmines, a declining economy and therefore, slower sales, and to top it all off -- higher costs for fuel.

Revenues fell 6.6% from the previous year, with steel shipments falling 20%. And those problems are not going away. U.S. Steel said its first-quarter will also be difficult, with lagging demand dropping prices. USX-U.S. Steel closed down 81 cents, or 4.9%, to $15.63.

After Tuesday's Close

So, earnings season continues and you know what that means -- more than enough reading material. Some of the standouts include

Compaq

(CPQ)

,

Broadcom

(BRCM)

and

Siebel Systems

(SEBL)

. Compaq closed up $1.80, or 8.98%, to $21.85; Broadcom closed down $8.50, or 6.4%, to $124.31 and Siebel Systems closed up 88 cents, or 1.1%, to $79.38.

Amdocs Beats First-Quarter Estimates by a Penny

Broadcom Tops Estimates, Offers Positive Guidance

Cadence Design Tops Expectations

Compaq Beats Fourth-Quarter Estimates by Two Pennies

Fairchild Semiconductor Beats Lowered Estimates, Cuts First-Quarter Guidance

Intersil Beats Estimates by a Penny

Lam Research Tops Forecasts

LSI Logic Meets Estimates, Sees First-Quarter Shortfall

Microsemi Easily Beats First-Quarter Projection

Oak Technology Meets Estimates

QLogic Beats Forecasts by Two Cents

SCI Systems Misses Forecasts by a Nickel

Siebel Tops Estimates, Sticks to Guidance

CheckFree

(CKFR)

, which provides online billing services, posted a second-quarter loss of 6 cents a share, a penny narrower than the

First Call/Thomson Financial

19-analyst estimate and 2 cents better than the year-ago loss. Including acquisition-related amortization and charges, the latest quarter's loss was $1.34. The year-ago figure includes acquisition-related charges. CheckFree closed up $5.75, or 11.4%, to $56.31.

Kimberly-Clark

(KMB) - Get Report

reported fourth-quarter earnings of 85 cents a share, including a charge of 2 cents. First Call's 10-analyst estimate was 87 cents a share. The year-ago figure, including a 2-cent charge, was 77 cents a share.

The company said its objectives of top-line growth of 6% to 8% and double-digit increases in earnings per share from operations annually remain unchanged.

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Analyst actions

Getting slammed to the deck this morning was

Network Appliance

(NTAP) - Get Report

after the storage software company was downgraded to "market outperformer" by

Goldman Sachs

.

In addition to the downgrade, Goldman's storage analyst, Laura Conigliaro, dropped the company from Goldman's recommended-for-purchase list. The stock was one of the most actively traded on electronic network

Instinet

this morning, with 159,000 shares changing hands out of a total 3 million shares traded this morning.

Network Appliance is expected to earn 10 cents a share, according to the 19-broker

First Call/Thomson Financial

consensus. It reports fiscal third-quarter earnings the week of Feb. 15.

By contrast,

Merrill Lynch

maintained its current buy rating on the stock. Analyst Tom Kraemer commented this morning, "In our opinion, dot-com/telecom weakness will not compromise secular demand or NTAP's business model but it could in the short term eliminate incremental earnings and revenue growth. For the intermediate and longer term, we believe the stock is well-positioned." Network Appliance closed down $12.19, or 16.6%, to $61.38.

Following its earnings report

last night, analysts have taken action on communications chipmaker

Broadcom

(BRCM)

, adjusting estimates and price targets. Merrill Lynch raised 2001 earnings-per-share estimates to $1.52 from $1.42, and established a 2002 estimate of $2.11.

Credit Suisse First Boston

, while maintaining a buy rating on the company, lowered its price target to $175 from $300. It raised 2001 estimates to $1.55 from $1.35. Goldman Sachs raised 2001 earnings-per-share estimates to $1.54 from $1.42.

Lehman Brothers

and

J.P. Morgan Chase

have upgraded

Compaq

(CPQ)

to a buy rating from market perform after the company reported earnings last night,

lowering sales guidance but not earnings guidance in the process. Lehman is buying this outlook, lowering its own revenue guidance but not earnings guidance in its downgrade. J.P. Morgan Chase upped the company to a buy from long-term buy.

Upgrades

CheckFree

(CKFR)

: UP to strong buy from buy at

Robertson Stephens

.

Franklin Resources

(BEN) - Get Report

: UP to intermediate-term buy from accumulate at Merrill Lynch. Franklin closed up 76 cents, or 1.8%, to $41.99.

Hormel Foods

(HRL) - Get Report

: UP to buy from hold at CSFB. Hormel closed up 38 cents, or 2.1%, to $18.56.

Integrated Circuit Systems

(ICST)

: UP to buy from market perform at Lehman Brothers. Integrated Circuit Systems closed up $1.25, or 6.8%, to $19.75.

PRI Automation

(PRIA)

: UP to buy from long-term attractive at Robertson Stephens. PRI Automation closed up 69 cents, or 2.2%, to $31.81.

Downgrades

Cadence Design Systems

(CDN)

: DOWN to hold from buy at CSFB. Cadence closed down $2, or 6.3%, to $30.

Corn Products International

(CPO)

: DOWN to hold from buy at CSFB. Corn Products was up 6 cents, or 0.2%, to $26.94.

Cypress Semiconductor

(CY) - Get Report

: DOWN to outperform from strong buy at

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

; price target DOWN to $34 from $45 at CSFB. Cypress closed down $1.75, or 6.3%, to $26.

Flextronics

(FLEX) - Get Report

: DOWN to accumulate from buy at Merrill Lynch. Flextronics closed down $2.13, or 5.5%, to $36.56.

Home Depot

(HD) - Get Report

: 2001 earnings-per-share estimates DOWN to $1.25 from $1.30 at Lehman Brothers. Home Depot closed up 31 cents, or 0.7%, to $45.06.

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report

: DOWN to outperform from buy at

Salomon Smith Barney

. Johnson & Johnson closed down $2.13, or 2.3%, to $90.56.

Kimco Realty

(KIM) - Get Report

: DOWN to intermediate-term accumulate from buy at Merrill Lynch. Kimco closed down 44 cents, or 1%, to $43.19.

LSI Logic

(LSI) - Get Report

: 2001 earnings-per-share estimates DOWN to $1.12 from $1.55 at Merrill Lynch. LSI closed down $1.40, or 5.8%, to $22.60.

Merrill Lynch

(MER)

: DOWN to buy from strong buy at CSFB. Merrill closed down $3.56, or 4.5%, to $76.44.

QLogic

(QLGC)

: DOWN to long-term attractive from buy at Robertson Stephens. QLogic closed down $15.19, or 15.6%, to $82.50.

RealNetworks

(RNWK) - Get Report

: DOWN to accumulate from buy at Merrill Lynch. RealNetworks closed down $1, or 8.3%, to $11.06.

SCI Systems

(SCI) - Get Report

: DOWN to accumulate from buy at Merrill Lynch. SCI closed down $3.94, or $12.8%, to $26.75.

Sherwin-Williams

(SHW) - Get Report

: DOWN to neutral from outperform at Morgan Stanley. Sherwin-Williams closed down 38 cents, or 1.5%, to $24.56.

USA Education

(SLM) - Get Report

: DOWN to buy from strong buy at Lehman Brothers; price target raised to $65 from $55. USA Education closed up 69 cents, or 1.1%, to $62.38.

Initiations

BeckmanCoulter

(BEC)

: NEW buy at CSFB; price target: $50. BeckmanCoulter closed up 69 cents, or 1.8%, to $38.88.

Cubist Pharmaceuticals

(CBST)

: NEW buy at CSFB; price target: $46. Cubist closed up $3.25, or 10.4%, to $34.50.

Stilwell Financial

(SV)

: NEW market outperformer at Goldman Sachs. Stilwell closed down 94 cents, or 2.1%, to $44.88.

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Offerings and stock actions

Dutch KPN Telecom

(KPN)

announced that it would push on into the fray, and will be spinning off unit

KPN Mobile

, despite rumors to the contrary. A Dutch newspaper raised allegations that the company would shelve its plans for the

IPO in the wake of a slumping market. Dutch KPN closed down 88 cents, or 5.2%, to $16.

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Miscellany

Ball Corp.

(BLL) - Get Report

said its board has elected R. David Hoover president and CEO to succeed George Sissel, who retired today. Ball closed up 44 cents, or 1%, to $43.94.

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

announced that Hugh McColl Jr., its chairman and chief executive, will retire April 25. Kenneth Lewis, current president and chief operating officer, has been elected his successor. Bank of America closed up 69 cents, or 1.4%, to $51.06.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

(MWD)

announced Wednesday that its president and chief operating Officer, John Mack, is stepping down March 21, to be replaced by CFO Robert Scott. The shift is part of a larger plan to restructure the Wall Street operation's upper management. Morgan closed down $2.56, or 2.95%, to $84.25.

After Tuesday's Close

"Layoff" was unfortunately the word of the day from several companies.

Excite@Home

(ATHM) - Get Report

plans to fire about 250 employees, or roughly 8% of the company's workforce.

The Internet service provider has about 3,000 employees. Those affected by the job cuts are mostly content-related employees of the

Excite.com

Web portal division, a spokeswoman said. The

@Home

and

@Work

divisions, which offer broadband Internet services, aren't affected.

Excite@Home is scheduled to release fourth-quarter earnings this week. Analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

expect a loss of 9 cents a share. In the fourth quarter of 1999, the company broke even on a per-share basis. Excite@Home closed down 6 cents, or 0.75%, to $8.25.

Gateway

(GTW)

said 140 workers at the company's Lake Forest, Calif., facility will lose their jobs as the result of the PC maker's move of North American server production to North Sioux City, S.D.

The move is part of what Gateway has deemed an "overall efficiency plan" for its manufacturing services. The North Sioux City facility will begin to assemble servers in March. The transfer from Lake Forest begins next month.

Earlier this month, Gateway produced a wretched earnings report, badly missing its already lowered fourth-quarter profit estimate. The company also cut its projections for 2001 and said it would reduce its worldwide employment ranks in the first quarter by more than 10%, while recording a $50 million pretax charge. According to data from

Market Guide

, Gateway has about 21,000 employees. Gateway closed up 6 cents, or 0.3%, to $22.21.

As it completes its 2001 business planning process, Internet consulting company

MarchFirst

(MRCH)

said it would cut corporate expenses by about 10% and lay off an additional 550 people. It also said it would close or consolidate some smaller offices in Montreal and Pittsburgh.

The job cuts are effective immediately and are spread throughout the company. MarchFirst closed down 25 cents, or 8.3%, to $2.75.

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

and

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

agreed to settle the lawsuit concerning a Java technology license agreement.

Sun filed the suit in October 1997; Microsoft countersued. The The companies signed a technology license and distribution agreement in March 1996 that is set to expire in two months. Under the terms of the settlement, the existing agreement is terminated.

Microsoft can continue to ship all current products and those in beta testing that contain Sun's technology for seven years. Microsoft will pay Sun $20 million and also agreed not to use Sun's Java Compatible trademark, which the software maker hasn't done since 1998. Microsoft closed up $2.38, or 3.9%, to $62.94, and Sun closed up $1.19, or 3.8%, to $32.75.

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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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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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