(

Updated from 10:33 a.m. ET

)

From pop to fizzle in two days!

Coca-Cola

(KO) - Get Report

, one day after announcing intentions to court

Quaker Oats

( OAT), announced last night that it was no longer interested in picking up the food company. Coca-Cola popped $4.31, or 7.8%, to $59.56, while Quaker Oats got cooked, sliding $7.44, or 7.9%, to $87.

Coke's board of directors nixed the deal, as market watchers speculated that adding Gatorade's brand to Coke's drink lineup could result in an antitrust suit and that adding Quaker's food business to Coke's -- well, Coke really isn't in the food business. The thinking was that adding a food business to pick up a beverage line -- even one that clearly dominates the sports-drink market -- wasn't worth the trouble. Basically, Coke took a lot of flack Tuesday, watched its stock price take a big hit and the deal just didn't seem worth it to the board.

So who's gonna go for the oats? Where will that lovable Luddite icon end up?

Would you believe France?

Danone

, the French yogurt company, has announced that it was interested in acquiring Quaker.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Construction-minded

Caterpillar

(CAT) - Get Report

and the commercial vehicle unit of

DaimlerChrysler

( DCX) are pairing up. They announced an alliance to create and distribute vehicle parts focused on medium-duty engines, fuel systems and other components that will be used both in their individual products and sold to third parties.

In other news from DaimlerChrysler, the automaker announced that will be idling three North American manufacturing plants to slow down production and reduce the number of cars and trucks it has in inventory. Plants in Ontario, Detroit and Toledo, Ohio will be affected by the shutdown, with a total of 13,600 unionized workers impacted.

This is just the latest in a series of moves in DaimlerChrysler, which recently said goodbye to three American executives from its Chrysler unit and replaced them with German management. Lately, Daimler has been struggling, trading near record lows after it announced a third-quarter loss of $512 million on slumping light-vehicle sales. DaimlerChrysler edged up 23 cents to $39.08. Caterpillar finished down 44 cents, or 1.1%, at $37.81.

Danaher

(DHR) - Get Report

closed down $1.38 to $62.69 after it said will buy

United Power

for about $100 million. The deal is expected to be neutral to slightly positive to Danaher's 2001 earnings.

United Power, which is a unit of British engineering group

Delta

, makes electrical power distribution units and other products that are used to regulate power in data, telecommunications and factory applications.

NTT DoCoMo

, Japan's biggest wireless telephone company, looks like it is close to picking up a 20% chunk of

AT&T Wireless

( AWE). According to a variety of published reports, the deal with DoCoMo could be valued as much as $9 billion and might be announced next week. AT&T Wireless finished the day down 44 cents, or 2.2%, at $19.44.

DoCoMo has been looking for ways to expand its reach in the U.S. It especially wants a quick way to introduce its mobile phone Net service, called I-mode, which enables consumers to use their phones to read news, trade stocks, book concert tickets and find out where to get the best sushi.

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

created a new stock to track the wireless unit in April. The wireless unit reported revenue of $2.8 billion, a 36.6% gain over the year-ago quarter. Total subscribers, including those won in acquisitions of rival companies and those served by AT&T partners, numbered 15 million, a gain of 1 million over the prior quarter.

A month ago, AT&T announced that it was splitting into

four easy pieces, one of which is AT&T Wireless.

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Earnings/revenue reports and previews

When was the last time you bought some

Spam? That's what I thought.

Hormel Foods

(HRL) - Get Report

, which makes the canned luncheon meat along with Dinty Moore products, missed fourth-quarter earnings estimates: Its net income rose 2.2%, but was lower than expected due to a slowdown in grocery product sales. Hormel reported earnings of 44 cents a share, missing the four-analyst estimate by a penny, but it was better than year-ago earnings of 40 cents.

Hormel closed down 69 cents, or 3.7%, at $18.

NetCreations

( NTCR), an email-marketing firm, announced that its fourth quarter wouldn't come in line with estimates so much -- or at all. Citing poor market conditions for Internet advertisers, the company guided estimates lower, telling the street it expects a loss of 4 to 6 cents a share. The

First Call/Thomson Financial

estimate was for an 11-cent profit.

File this under "more bad news." In the previous quarter, the company warned that it would miss estimates. And it's well off its 52-week-high of $69.75, closing Tuesday at $6. Today, the stock closed slightly up 6 cents, or 1%, at $6.06.

And this latest miss from NetCreations could pull down another much-maligned stock --

DoubleClick

( DCLK). On Oct. 3, DoubleClick, an Internet advertising firm, announced that it was purchasing NetCreations in a stock swap that values one share of NetCreations as 0.41 of a DoubleClick share.

DoubleClick closed down $1.63, or 11.8%, at $12.13.

Watson Pharmaceuticals

( CFLO), maker of generic drugs, drastically lowered its earnings and revenue outlook. The company expects to lose revenue between $18 and $20 million in the fourth quarter and between $38 to $40 million in fiscal 2001 revenue. Just for comparison's sake, the company announced $183.4 million in revenue for its third quarter. This morning,

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

downgraded the stock to outperform from strong buy.

Watson finished the day down $2.56, or 5%, at $48.50.

So how do these lower revenue figures impact the fourth-quarter and fiscal 2001 earnings picture? Pretty deeply. The company will come in 10 to 12 cents lower per share in the fourth quarter and 15 to 17 cents a share for the full year 2001.

Bristol-Meyers Squibb

( CFLO) was at the heart of the matter. The pharmaceutical giant crushed Watson's attempt to make a generic version of its antianxiety drug

BuSpar

by getting a patent on a byproduct of the drug, just before the original patent on BuSpar was set to expire. The

Food and Drug Administration

was expected to allow generic versions of BuSpar to enter the market when BuSpar's market exclusivity expired, but since Bristol-Meyers has received a new patent, it could be up to 30 months before generic BuSpar could hit the market.

Bristol-Meyers Squibb closed up $1.06, or 1.6%, at $67.94.

After Tuesday's Close

CacheFlow

( MIKE) reported a narrower-than-expected loss for the second quarter of 9 cents a share, excluding stock compensation expenses and goodwill amortization. The seven-analyst estimate expected a loss of 11 cents, and the year-ago loss was 22 cents a share. CacheFlow closed at half of its value at open, down $39, or 50.8%, at $37.81.

Michaels Stores

( NOVL) posted third-quarter earnings of 44 cents a share, a penny better than the 10-analyst estimate and better than the year-ago earnings of 34 cents a share. Michaels Stores closed down 19 cents, or 0.7%, at $27.

Novell

( PRSF) met analysts' expectations for the fourth quarter, but said the period's results reflected dramatic declines in traditional packaged software sales as revenue fell 21% from a year ago.

Excluding a restructuring charge, the company broke even on a per share basis for the quarter, in line with the four-analyst estimate. The company earned 21 cents in the year-ago period.

Novell expects incremental expenses to be higher than previously expected for the first quarter and fiscal 2001 following the company's decision to accelerate the deployment of its content exchange services. The company estimated that its investments and associated expenses for the services will total about $65 million.

Goldman Sachs

downgraded the stock to market perform from outperform. Novell finished down $1.44, or 19.3%, at $6.

Portal Software

( PRSF) reported third-quarter earnings of 4 cents a share, 2 cents better than the 14-analyst estimate and up from its year-ago loss of 1 cent a share. Portal Software finished down a whopping $11.88, or 63.8%, at $6.75.

This morning, Goldman downgraded it to outperform from recommended and

Prudential Securities

lowered the stock to accumulate from strong buy.

Suiza Foods

( SZA) said it was comfortable with its fourth-quarter earnings estimates of $1.07 a share. In the year-ago fourth quarter, the company reported earnings of 91 cents a share.

Suiza said it made the announcement after competitor

Dean Foods

(DF) - Get Report

said it will likely miss its fourth-quarter estimates due to higher production costs.

Suiza Foods closed up $1.19, or 2.7%, or $44.75.

Tribune

( TRB) said it's comfortable with fourth-quarter earnings estimate of 35 cents to 40 cents a share. The

First Call/Thomson Financial

12-analyst estimate is currently 37 cents.

Also, Tribune backed full-year earnings guidance of $1.30 to $1.35 a diluted share. The 13-analyst estimate is $1.32 a share. This morning,

Credit Suisse First Boston

cut it to buy from strong buy. Tribune finished down $1.19, or 3.1%, at $36.75.

Whole Foods Market

( WFMI) posted fourth-quarter earnings of 48 cents a share, in line with the 12-analyst estimate and up from year-ago earnings of 40 cents a share.

The latest fourth-quarter figure excludes charges and adjusts for the cumulative tax rate adjustment. Whole Foods closed up $3.44, or 6.7%, at $54.88.

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Analyst actions

After so much waiting, investors have begun to focus again on fundamentals. And those fundamentals reflect slowing corporate earnings. Just this morning, for example,

Lehman Brothers

lowered its outlook for home improvement retailer

Home Depot

(HD) - Get Report

for 2001 from $1.45 a share to $1.40.

In a report, Lehman wrote, "While we believe Home Depot is one of the finest names in retailing, we continue to reiterate our cautious outlook on the shares given the company's vulnerability to a potential slowdown in the housing market." Lehman has a 52 week price target of $55 on the stock.

Last night, Home Depot reaffirmed its estimates of 23%-25% growth in earnings per share for fiscal 2001. The

First Call/Thomson Financial

22-analyst estimate calls for the company to earn $1.16 a share in the fiscal year ending in January. The Atlanta-based retailer also said it expects same-store sales to grow 3%-4% and anticipates operating 2,300 stores by 2004. Home Depot closed down $1.50, or 3.9%, at $36.75.

Upgrades

Finisar

(FNSR) - Get Report

: 2001 EPS view UP to 18 cents from 13 cents at

Wit SoundView

. The firm also reiterated Finisar as a strong buy and its 12-month price target of $57. Finisar closed up $6.25, or 24.3%, at $31.94.

HCA-Healthcare

(HCA) - Get Report

: UP at Lehman, 2000 EPS to $1.60 from $1.59, 2001 EPS to $1.84 from $1.79, price target to $50 from $44. HCA-Healthcare closed up 25 cents, or 0.6%, at $40.25.

Superior Industries

(SUP) - Get Report

: UP at

UBS Warburg

; price target to $40 from $38. Superior Industries closed down 25 cents, or 0.7%, at $33.31.

Unisys

(UIS) - Get Report

: UP to strong buy from buy at

SG Cowen

. Unisys finished up 56 cents, or 4.8%, at $12.31.

Downgrades

Intuit

(INTU) - Get Report

: DOWN to buy from add at

ABN Amro

, price target to $55 from $60. Intuit closed down $4.31, or 9%, at $43.88.

Ticketmaster

( TMCS): DOWN at ABN Amro, price target to $24 from $30. Ticketmaster finished $1.25, or 10.8%, at $10.38.

Avnet

(AVT) - Get Report

: DOWN at

Credit Suisse First Boston

, 2000 EPS to $3.28 from $3.48, 2001 EPS to $4.01 from $4.17, price target to $35 from $45. Avenet closed down 69 cents, or 3.6%, at $18.19.

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

: DOWN at

Banc of America

; price target to $65 from $80. General Motors closed 63 cents, or 1.2%, at $50.69.

BorgWarner

(BWA) - Get Report

: DOWN to buy from strong buy at UBS Warburg. BorgWarner finished down 50 cents, or 1.4%, at $35.25.

Dana

( DCN): DOWN to hold from buy at UBS Warburg. Dana finished down 6 cents, or 0.4%, at $17.63.

Lear

(LEA) - Get Report

: DOWN to buy from strong buy at UBS Warburg. Lear closed down 19 cents, or 0.9%, at $22.

Tower Automotive

( TWR): DOWN to hold from strong buy at UBS Warburg. Tower Automotive finished down 19 cents, or 1.9%, at $9.88.

American Axle

(AXL) - Get Report

: DOWN at UBS Warburg, price target to $13 from $18. American Axle finished down 25 cents, or 2.4%, at $10.19.

Lucent

( LU): DOWN at UBS Warburg, price target to $25 from $30. Lucent finished up 13 cents, or 0.7%, at $17.69.

New Era of Networks

(NEON) - Get Report

: DOWN to neutral from buy at SG Cowen. New Era of Networks finished down $2.81, or 30%, at $6.56.

Initiations

Precision Castparts

(PCP)

: NEW accumulate at

Merrill Lynch

; price target: $43. Precision Castparts closed up 69 cents, or 1.8%, at $37.

Entergy

(ETR) - Get Report

: NEW hold at CSFB. Entergy finished up 25 cents, or 0.6%, $41.69.

Capstone Turbines

(CPST) - Get Report

: NEW buy at CSFB. Capstone Turbines finished down $4, or 16.3%, at $20.50.

Alliance Capital Holdings

(AC) - Get Report

: NEW buy at UBS Warburg; price target: $51. Alliance finished down 6 cents, or 0.1%, at $46.44.

Dendrite International

( DRTE): NEW buy at UBS Warburg; price target: $24. Dendrite closed $2.75, or 14.8%, at $15.88.

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Offerings and stock actions

After Tuesday's Close

Eclipsys

( ECLP) said it has cancelled a Nov. 28 investor meeting after saying that it will sell 5 million additional shares to the public in a secondary offering.

Eclipsys said it would reschedule the meeting, but did not provide a date. Eclipsys finished down 69 cents, or 3.1%, at $21.44.

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Miscellany

In the classic kids' game "Telephone," someone says a phrase and it gets whispered around in a circle until hilarity ensues when the message is botched. The same thing happened to market monolith

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

, albeit with less humorous results. This morning, rumors that the company was going to issue a profit warning ran rampant around trading desks, before GE squelched them. The company announced that it had no plans to issue a profit warning or even any press releases today. Yet, GE finished the day down $2.19, or 4.3%, at $48.56.

After Tuesday's Close

Liz Claiborne

( LIZ) President Denise Seegal announced she would be resigning from the company effective Dec. 8.

Seegal has served as president since 1996 and her leaving is part of several structural changes the company plans to make in the next few weeks. The company's chairman and CEO, Paul Charron will take over that day-to-day operations when Seegal exits.

Liz Claiborne finished down 63 cents, or 1.5%, at $39.94.

William Gibson, founder and chairman of Internet services company,

Manugistics

(MANU) - Get Report

, announced the he would retire on Feb. 28, the end of the company's fiscal year. Following Gibson's departure, CEO Gregory Owens will assume the role of chairman. Manugistics closed down $1.81, or 2.2%, at $80.25.

United Parcel Service

(UPS) - Get Report

was awarded the right to operate direct flights to China beginning in April. UPS closed up 6 cents, or 0.1%, at $60.19.

The U.S.

Department of Transportation

made a tentative decision to grant approval for six of the 10 new air routes. The four remaining routes were split among the three carriers already serving China.

UAL's

(UAL) - Get Report

United Airlines

received the right to operate two additional weekly flights, while

FedEx

(FDX) - Get Report

and

Northwest Airlines

( NWAC) each got one extra flight.

AMR's

(AMR)

American Airlines and

Delta Air Lines

(DAL) - Get Report

lost bids for the route.

UAL finished down $1.38, or 3.7%, at $36.13, while FedEx finished up 34 cents, or 0.7%, at $49.74. Northwest ended the day down $1.38, or 4.7%, at $27.63; AMR closed down $1.44, or 4%, at $34.56; Delta finished down $1.13, or 2.3%, at $48.63.

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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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