Updated from 11:34 a.m.

Applied Materials

(AMAT) - Get Report

and

Sycamore Networks

(SCMR)

, both released earnings last night and were fodder this morning for analyst downgrades, readjustments and commentary. It seems like everyone has weighed in with opinions on the duo's fortunes.

Applied Materials announced first-quarter earnings

that beat estimates by a healthy margin -- 4 cents a share. But that's just the first quarter. Going forward, the chip-equipment maker said that next quarter's earnings would come in between 32 cents and 37 cents a share, much lower than the 49 cent estimate. The company also lowered revenue estimates.

Merrill Lynch

analyst Brett Hodess cut his second-quarter estimate to 36 cents from 51 cents and his 2001 estimate to $1.60 from $2.00. He had some harsh words about the company, too. "AMAT's industry view is the weakest we have seen," he wrote. "The company believes semiconductor capital spending could drop 20% in 2001. Demand is weak in all regions, with U.S. and Asian foundry and Korea particularly weak."

Lehman Brothers

analyst Edward White cut his full-year 2001 earnings per share estimate to $1.90 from $2.50, citing the company's weaker-than-expected outlook for the first half of the year. White, who also cut his price target to $65 from $90, also said he expects "a rebound" for the company in the second half of 2001.

Prudential Securities

cut its second-quarter earnings per share estimate to 36 cents from 52 cents a share, as well as its 2001 earnings estimate to $1.57 a share from $1.93 this morning. It also dropped its fiscal 2001 revenue estimate by $1 billion, to $8.1 billion from $9.1 billion.

Sycamore reported

second-quarter earnings that beat analysts' expectations by a penny, helped by its top-line growth. But the company also warned that 2001 growth would slow, not a good sign. Lehman Brothers cut its price target to $75 from $150, while maintaining a strong buy rating on the stock. "Customer concentration remains perhaps the greatest risk Sycamore faces," the analyst wrote.

AMAT closed up $5.56, or 13.5%, to $46.81; Sycamore was up $3.75, or 16.6%, to $26.31.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

Infinity Broadcasting

(INF) - Get Report

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 16 cents a share, up from 13 cents a share in the same period last year. According to a poll by

First Call/Thomson Financial

, four analysts expected fourth-quarter earnings of 10 cents a share. Revenues for the fourth quarter grew about 40% to $1.1 billion, up from $759 million last year. Infinity closed up 10 cents, or 0.3%, to $31.80.

McGraw-Hill

(MHP)

, the textbook publisher and owner of

BusinessWeek

and

Standard & Poor's

, announced fourth-quarter earnings of 50 cents a share, in line with Wall Street estimates but worse than last-year's quarter. The company warned that its first quarter would be much lower than expected, coming in between 5 cents to 8 cents a share, when the analysts, on average, expected 21 cents a share. McGraw-Hill closed down $4.40, or 7%, to $58.15.

TD Waterhouse

(TWE)

announced first-quarter earnings of 13 cents a share, beating the lowered 11 cent estimate. Slowdowns in customer stock trading and the high costs of advertising were blamed for the tough quarter. The company, which has 4.4 million customers, said that it will be difficult to reach its goal of adding 1.2 million new accounts if the market conditions do not improve. TD Waterhouse closed down 62 cents, or 4.3%, to $13.78.

Viacom

(VIA) - Get Report

reported lower fourth-quarter earnings Wednesday because of the cost of acquiring

CBS

television network, but exceeded analysts' expectations, as revenue grew 78% thanks to strong showings by its cable and television units.

The media mega-weight, whose subsidiary

Infinity Broadcasting

also reported

earnings this morning, said earnings for the quarter -- including amortization costs -- was $30.4 million, or 2 cents a share, compared with $133.1 million, or 19 cents a share, in the same period last year. Analysts on average polled by First Call/Thomson Financial expected earnings of 3 cents a share, including its CBS acquisition.

Revenue for the quarter was $6.36 billion, up from $3.57 billion. On a pro forma basis, revenues rose 5% from $60.04 billion last year. Viacom closed up 32 cents, or 0.6%, to $54.03.

After Tuesday's Close

JDS Uniphase

(JDSU)

warned of an earnings shortfall but insisted it would be able to ride out the industrywide slowdown in telecommunications spending.

JDS, which also completed its merger with optical-components maker

SDL

(SDLI)

, forecast earnings of 17 cents a share for its fiscal third quarter -- which ends in March -- 4 cents shy of the estimate cited by First Call/Thomson Financial. The company also forecast earnings of 74 cents a share for its fiscal year ending in June, 8 cents shy of the consensus estimate. That implies a 4 cent shortfall for the fourth quarter ending in June, as well.

JDS said sales for the periods would be in line to slightly above plan, with third-quarter sales forecast at $1 billion, even with estimates, and fourth-quarter revenue expectations of $1.18 billion, within the 7% to 10% sequential growth projected for the year. The company also boosted its fiscal 2002 sales target to $6 billion, up from the $5.66 billion analysts expected, and continued to stick with its forecast that its prospects will begin to turn up in the second half of calendar 2001.

For more on what this latest announcement means for JDS, check out

TheStreet.com's

separate

story. JDS closed up $2.75, or 7.1%, to $41.25; SDL was down $5.63, or 3.7%, to $146.75.

Chip-equipment maker

Applied Materials

(AMAT) - Get Report

beat Wall Street's first-quarter earnings estimates by 4 cents, as noted above.

The company earned 66 cents a share, beating the First Call/Thomson Financial 24-analyst estimate and up from year-ago earnings of 39 cents a share. But the figure was down from the 77 cents it brought in during the fourth quarter of 2000.

Revenue, meanwhile, was higher than projected, at $2.73 billion. That was down 6% from fourth-quarter levels but up 59% from the year-ago period. The analyst consensus was for revenue of $2.69 billion, according to First Call.

The company warned at the end of January that slower chip demand in the most recent quarter had resulted in delayed and canceled equipment orders. That caused the company to trim its revenue estimate for the period by 7% to 10%, from the $2.9 billion to $2.95 billion range. AMAT, as noted above, ended the day up $5.56, or 13.5%, to $46.81.

Sycamore Networks

(SCMR)

, as noted above, reported second-quarter earnings that exceeded analysts' expectations by a penny, as revenue blew away the year-ago top line.

The optical networking company, which is based in Chelmsford, Mass., reported income, excluding the amortization of deferred stock compensation and payroll tax on stock option exercises, of $18.1 million, or 6 cents a share, for the quarter. According to First Call/Thomson Financial, analysts expected earnings of 5 cents.

Sycamore lost $1.7 million, or 1 cent a share, for the same period last year.

Revenue for the second quarter rose to $149.2 million from $29 million in the same period last year, and increased 24% from $120.4 million in the latest first quarter. The stock closed up $3.75, or 16.6%, to $26.31.

Arrow Electronics

(ARW) - Get Report

reported fourth-quarter earnings of $1.09 a share, a penny better than the five-analyst estimate and up from year-ago earnings of 46 cents a share. The company cited its October acquisition of

Wyle Systems

, a computer products business, as a factor in its growth.

The electronics components distributor reported fourth-quarter revenue of $3.7 billion, up from $2.5 billion in the same quarter one-year ago.

Arrow anticipates first-quarter earnings of $1.09 a share, before the dilutive effect of zero-coupon convertible debentures and a one-time charge. The current three-analyst estimate for the first quarter is $1.06 a share, which is 2 cents lower than their initial consensus of $1.08 a share.

"We continue to see cancellations and rescheduled orders among a narrow slice of our customer base, namely the large, visible telecom and networking companies and their contract manufacturing partners, but we also see continuing strength among the balance of our customers," the company said. Arrow closed up $1, or 3.6%, to $29.10.

ConAgra

(CAG) - Get Report

said high energy costs and the slowing economy are hurting the outlook for the rest of the fiscal year, and the company responded by lowering its earnings guidance.

The company behind brands such as Healthy Choice, Wesson and Van Camp's reported double-digit earnings growth for the first half of fiscal 2001, but said "risk-mitigating activities" would will not be enough to offset higher energy costs. As a result, the additional expenses could slice 17 cents a share off the company's bottom line. ConAgra said that "were it not for the company's hedging efforts, costs would have been even higher." The company's fiscal year ends May 27.

Additionally, ConAgra projected that the harsh winter weather and uncertainty surrounding farm policy could shave 13 cents off its second-half earnings. Promotion and distribution expenses for the company's food products will take another 10 cents out of second-half profits.

In the fiscal third quarter, which ends Feb. 28, the company expects earnings of 18 cents to 20 cents a share. First Call carries a consensus estimate of 44 cents a share. For the fiscal fourth quarter, ConAgra, which is based in Omaha, Neb., forecast earnings of 39 cents to 41 cents a share, compared with Wall Street's 53 cent estimate. In the fiscal third and fourth quarters of 2000, ConAgra earned 41 cents and 46 cents a share. For the fiscal year, the company expects to earn $1.46 to $1.50 a share. Analysts expect earnings of $1.85 a share. The company earned $1.67 in fiscal 2000. ConAgra had a rough day -- the stock closed down $4.85, or 19.5%, to $20.01.

Jack In The Box

(JBX)

reported first-quarter earnings of 61 cents a share, a penny better than the seven-analyst estimate and up from year-ago earnings of 52 cents a share. In early January, the fast-food restaurant chain had said it expected earnings between 58 cents and 62 cents a share. At the time, the estimate for the quarter was 59 cents a share. Jack In The Box popped up $1.41, or 5%, to $29.50.

Kulicke & Soffa

(KLIC) - Get Report

, a semiconductor-equipment maker, offered a rather bleak outlook for the remainder of the year and set plans to cut 7% of its workforce.

The company said: "Looking ahead, we do not anticipate a return to a more robust business cycle before the end of the 2001 calendar year." About 300 people will lose their jobs.

Kulicke & Soffa also said "in light of the lower order activity we have experienced over the last few months, K&S must adapt its cost structure to the realities of the semiconductor industry." K&S closed up 75 cents, or 5.4%, to $14.56.

Protein Design Labs

(PDLI) - Get Report

broke even on a per-share basis and reported a loss of $51,000 in the fourth quarter. In the year-ago period, Protein Design lost $5.9 million, or 16 cents a share. The company beat the consensus estimate calling for a loss of 7 cents, according to analysts surveyed by First Call.

The pharmaceuticals developer had revenue of $17.6 million, up from $8.1 million in the fourth quarter a year ago. Much of the company's revenue comes from agreements with other drug companies.

The company expects costs and expenses to rise 20% to 25% in 2001. Revenue depends on several factors, including royalties, patent licenses and drug sales. The company declined to provide quarterly guidance, but said it does expect to break even again in 2001. Wall Street expects the company to lose a penny for the year. Protein Design Labs closed down 19 cents, or 0.3%, to $62.

WellPoint Health Networks

(WLP)

posted fourth-quarter earnings of $1.37 a share, 2 cents better than the 15-analyst estimate and up from year-ago earnings of $1.20 a share.

Membership in WellPoint's medical plans grew to about 7.9 million at the end of 2000, up from 7.3 million at the end of 1999. WellPoint Health closed up $4.58, or 4.6%, to $104.90.

Whole Foods Market

(WFMI)

reported first-quarter earnings of 54 cents a share, missing the 11-analyst estimate of 58 cents a share, but up from the year-ago 45 cents. The company said lower-than-expected comparable store sales and higher-than-expected utility costs hurt its diluted earnings per share by 4 cents a share in the quarter.

The natural foods supermarket chain lowered its fiscal 2001 earnings guidance to $2.20 to $2.15 a share, well below the First Call 11-analyst estimate of $2.34 a share, and revised its fiscal 2001 sales growth projections to 15% to 20%. On Oct. 26, Whole Foods said it expected 2001 revenue to rise 20% to 25%. Fiscal 2002 sales growth will remain at 15% to 20%, while some operating margins will improve because of gross margin leverage and leverage in direct store expenses at existing stores. Analysts expect the company to earn $2.78 a share in 2002.

Whole Foods plans to open or acquire 15 to 20 stores this year and expects to report same-store sales growth of 5% to 7% for the rest of fiscal 2001. Whole Foods ended the day down $8.94, or 15.8%, to $47.56.

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TheStreet Recommends

Analyst actions

The news in tech wasn't all bad -- not from an analyst's perspective, anyway.

J.P. Morgan

lifted the battered semiconductor sector, raising its ratings on five semiconductor companies. There were no details immediately available, but the following companies were all upgraded to long-term buy from long-term market performer, sidestepping the apparent near-term weakness by focusing on the long-term investment picture:

Varian Semiconductor

(VSEA)

,

ASM Lithography

(ASML) - Get Report

,

Novellus

(NVLS)

,

KLA-Tencor

(KLAC) - Get Report

and the oft-battered, much-maligned Applied Materials.

Varian closed up $2.25, or 8.3%, to $29.50; ASM was; Novellus ended the day up $5.19, or 13.4%, to $43.94; KLA-Tencor finished up $6, or 16.2%, to $43.13; and Applied Materials, which we've already listed twice -- for those of you who've just tuned in -- closed up, as previously mentioned, by $5.56, or 13.5%, to $46.81.

Upgrades

Canadian Pacific

(CP) - Get Report

: UP to outperform from neutral at

Salomon Smith Barney

. Canadian Pacific closed up 75 cents, or 2%, to $38.20.

Chevron

(CHV)

: UP to U.S. recommended for purchase from market outperform at

Goldman Sachs

. Chevron closed up 50 cents, or 0.6%, to $85.85.

CNF

(CNF) - Get Report

: UP to buy from outperform at Salomon Smith Barney. CNF closed up $1.46, or 4.2%, to $36.50.

Lear

(LEA) - Get Report

: UP to U.S. recommended for purchase from market outperform at Goldman Sachs. Lear ended the day up $1.19, or 3.8%, to $32.15.

Texaco

(TX) - Get Report

: UP to U.S. recommended for purchase from market outperform at Goldman Sachs. Texaco closed up 30 cents, or 0.5%, to $64.20.

Downgrades

Coldwater Creek

(CWTR)

: DOWN to buy from strong buy at

UBS Piper Jaffray

. Coldwater Creek was up one without a paddle today; the stock closed down $15.31, or 43.4%, to $20 after announcing it was drastically lowering its estimates. Coldwater lowered its earnings estimates to between 4 and 7 cents, while analysts had been expecting 66 cents. Whoa!! Splash some cold water on yourself!

ConAgra

(CAG) - Get Report

: DOWN to market perform from market outperform at Goldman Sachs. As noted above, the stock closed down $4.85, or 19.5%, to $20.01.

EMerge Interactive

(EMRG)

: DOWN to hold from buy at

Credit Suisse First Boston

. Emerge closed down 3 cents, or 0.7%, to $4.47.

ExxonMobil

(XOM) - Get Report

: DOWN to market outperform from U.S. recommended for purchase at Goldman Sachs. ExxonMobil closed down 86 cents, or 1%, to $83.93.

Initiations

eLoyalty

(ELOY)

: NEW outperform at Salomon Smith Barney. eLoyalty must have inspired some, because it closed up $1.25, or 13.3%, to $10.69.

ONI Systems

(ONIS)

: NEW strong buy at Lehman Brothers; price target: $55. "We believe the company is strategically positioned to benefit from the acceleration for demand for optical transport systems," the analyst wrote. The ONI stock closed up $6.88, or 16.8%, to $47.75.

Group Moves

CSFB started a big ol' bunch of biotechnology stocks this morning, covering both the therapeutics companies that produce treatments, therapies and drugs as well as the genomics companies that scour the genetic code for troublemaking genes:

  • Amgen (AMGN) - Get Report: NEW strong buy; price target: $120. Amgen closed down 31 cents, or 0.4%, to $72.
  • Applied Biosystems (ABI) : NEW strong buy; price target: $103. Applied Biosystems closed up $1.65, or 2.3%, to $74.56.
  • Biogen: NEW hold; price target: $57. Biogen closed up 13 cents, or 0.2%, to $71.31.
  • Celera Genomics (CRA) : NEW buy; price target: $55. Celera Genomics closed up 30 cents, or 0.7%, to $43.60.
  • Chiron (CHIR) - Get Report: NEW buy; price target: $47.80. Chiron closed up $1, or 2.2%, to $45.75.
  • Cor Therapeutics (CORR) - Get Report: NEW buy; price target: $33.80. Cor ended the day up 56 cents, or 1.8%, to $32.06.
  • Genentech (DNA) : NEW strong buy; price target: $76. Genentech closed up $1.10, or 1.96%, to $57.10.
  • Genzyme (GENZ) : NEW strong buy; price target: $82.90. Genzyme closed up 31 cents, or 0.4%, to $83.
  • IDEC Pharmaceuticals (IDPH) : NEW strong buy; price target: $61.80. IDEC closed up 81 cents, or 1.4%, to $60.44.
  • Immunex (IMNX) : NEW hold; price target: $32.40. Immunex closed up 88 cents, or 2.9%, to $31.31.
  • Incyte Genomics (INCY) - Get Report: NEW hold; price target: $20.60. Incyte Genomics closed down $1.94, or 9.7%, to $18.06.
  • Medimmune (MEDI) : NEW strong buy; price target: $63. Medimmune closed up 88 cents, or 2.3%, to $38.69.
  • Millennium Pharmaceuticals (MLNM) : NEW buy; price target: $41.30. Millennium closed down $2.44, or 6.6%, to $34.63.
  • Myriad Genetics (MYGN) - Get Report: NEW buy; price target: $72.10. Myriad closed down $4.63, or 6.6%, to $65.50.
  • Neurocrine Biosciences (NBIX) - Get Report: NEW buy; price target: $40. Neurocrine closed down $1.44, or 5.6%, to $24.13.
  • Orchid Biosciences (ORCH) : NEW buy; price target: $16. Orchid Biosciences closed down 69 cents, or 7.2%, to $8.88.
  • Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) - Get Report: NEW buy; price target: $91. Vertex closed up $2.06, or 3.4%, to $62.94.

After Tuesday's Close

Merrill Lynch raised its near-term rating on

News Corp.

(NWS) - Get Report

to accumulate from neutral because of the potential merger of its Sky Global with

Hughes Electronics'

(GMH)

DirecTV. News Corp. closed down 2 cents, or 0.1%, to $41.38.

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Offerings and stock actions

After Tuesday's Close

Cayenta

, which is majority owned by

Titan

(TTN)

, withdrew its IPO of 6.5 million share of Class-A common stock for $12 to $14 a share.

The business software firm cited poor market conditions for the withdrawal. The company had applied for a

Nasdaq listing under the ticker "CYTA." Titan closed down 38 cents, or 1.8%, to $20.75.

Krispy Kreme

(KREM)

announced a 2-for-1 stock split to be distributed in the form of a stock dividend on March 19. Krispy Kreme closed up $2.19, or 3.2%, to $69.88.

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Miscellany

Microsoft's

(MSFT) - Get Report

got a new president and COO. His name is Rick Beluzzo. He's the 47-year-old former CEO of

Silicon Graphics

(SGI)

who came to Microsoft in September 1999. Prior to the promotion, Beluzzo was the company's vice president of personal services and devices. He also likes walks on the beach and sunsets. Microsoft closed up 19 cents, or 0.3%, to $58.38; Silicon Graphics was down 22 cents, or 4.6%, to $4.62.

After Tuesday's Close

United Dominion Realty Trust

(UDR) - Get Report

named Thomas Toomey president and CEO. He was also named a director.

The apartment owner and operator said Toomey succeeds John McCann, who is retiring. McCann will remain chairman. Toomey had been COO of

Apartment Investment Management

(AIM) - Get Report

. United Dominion closed up 3 cents, or 0.3%, to $11.48; Apartment Investment was down 8 cents, or 0.6%, to $12.41.

Visx

(EYE) - Get Report

, which makes vision correction lasers, promoted the company's current president, Liz Davila, to CEO. The company didn't say whether Davila will retain her other title of COO.

Davila succeeds Mark Logan, who is leaving the company to pursue other interests. He will remain chairman, though, until the company's next annual meeting. Visx closed down 33 cents, or 2.1%, to $15.57.

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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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