Blue-Chips, Techs Diverge as Street Waits for Greenspan

He's not a driving force in today's muddled action, but market players are looking forward to the Fed chairman's comments tomorrow.
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While the market reacts to some takeover news, a barrage of earnings reports and the situation in Brazil, a potentially large unknown is lurking in the background for the market.

That unknown is what

Alan Greenspan's

appearance tomorrow before the

House Ways and Means Committee

holds in store -- if anything -- for the financial markets. What will the

Federal Reserve

chairman have to say about the economy? What, if anything, will he say about the surging -- some would say wildly overvalued -- stock market? Could it be

Irrational Exuberance Part II

?

Probably not, at least according to some.

"I'm not expecting Mr. Greenspan to take the opportunity to drop some veiled warnings or provide us with some new phrases such as irrational exuberance," said Joel L. Naroff, chief bank economist at

First Union

. He did add, however, "Who knows?"

Others agreed that nothing earth-shattering will pop forth from the G-Man's mouth.

"I wouldn't expect anything dramatic tomorrow," said Peter Coolidge, managing director of equity trading at

Brean Murray Foster Securities

.

Ah, yes, no one truly knows what the Fed chief will say. And that is tomorrow, and today there are Brazil, earnings and M&A news to digest, while technology stocks are sporting the best gains in the market. Meanwhile, blue-chips and big-cap stocks have slumped.

As they have been for so long now, the Internet stocks were the stock market's big winners, thanks in large part to news that

@Home

(ATHM) - Get Report

is buying

Excite

(XCIT)

for $6.7 billion.

TheStreet.com

wrote about the deal

earlier today.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was surging 31, or 6.2%, to 535. @Home and Excite are both index components. Excite was the biggest gainer in the index, up 42.9%. @Home surged initially in the wake of the news, but gave up all those gains, fell into negative territory and then bounced above water.

Market newcomer

MarketWatch.com

(MKTW)

was down 1 7/16 to 95 15/16 after surging 471% Friday, its first day of trading.

The

Nasdaq Composite Index

was leading the market's major gauges, lately up 27, or 1.2%, to 2375, off its highs. Many market participants are anxiously awaiting the earnings report from software giant

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

after the close. The stock was up 2 1/2 to 152 1/4.

TheStreet.com

previewed the report in a story

this morning.

"That's a big one for the tech group," Coolidge said of Microsoft's earnings report. "That's got a lot of people excited."

Overall, earnings have been "so far so good," Coolidge noted, adding that there is still some nervousness out there regarding earnings.

Meanwhile, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was down 71, or 0.8%, to 9270. The biggest drag on the Dow was

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

, which slumped 3 1/16 to 101 5/16.

The

S&P 500

was down 2, or 0.2%, to 1241. The small-cap

Russell 2000

was up 1, or 0.3%, to 428.

Brazil was also on investors' minds. Yesterday Brazil announced it was continuing to let its currency, the real, float. Today the Brazilian

Bovespa

stock index was up 1.8%, after two straight sessions of sharp gains totaling nearly 40%.

Coolidge said the market has digested the recent developments out of Brazil, short-term, however, there are still some issues going out long-term.

Corporate earnings reports were also at the fore today, highlighted in large part by results from banks and brokerages. The results so far for the most part have lived up to or exceeded Wall Street expectations, however, many firms posted results below last year's numbers.

Among some of the big names in the bank and brokerage sector reporting earnings today:

J.P. Morgan

(JPM) - Get Report

,

Chase

(CMB)

,

Merrill Lynch

(MER)

, and

BankAmerica

(BAC) - Get Report

.

After opening higher, the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange/KBW Bank Index

faded and was lately off 1.4%. Brokerage stocks have fared a little better, but they too have also given up early gains and fallen underwater. The

American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index

was down 0.4%.

Phone stocks were sharply higher in part on acquisition news. Today is the first day of trading since the

Vodafone

(VOD) - Get Report

buyout of

AirTouch

(ATI) - Get Report

was announced on Friday night. Vodafone was lately up 5%, while AirTouch jumped 10.6%.

Airlines were prominent in the news today. Both

Delta Air Lines

(DAL) - Get Report

and

Northwest Airlines

(NWAC)

beat Wall Street estimates, although Northwest posted a loss for the quarter due to last year's pilots-union strike. The

Dow Jones Transportation Average

was up 0.3%, well off its best levels of the day.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

, decliners were beating advancers 1,595 to 1,301 on 452 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

winners were beating losers 2,024 to 1,793 on 623 million shares. On the NYSE, 73 issues had set new 52-week highs while 16 had touched new lows. On the Nasdaq, 146 issues had set new highs while new lows totaled 24.

Among other market indices, the

Dow Jones Utility Average

was down 1.1% and the

American Stock Exchange Composite Index

was up a fraction.

In the Treasury market, the 30-year bond was lately down 9/32 to 101 27/32, yielding 5.12%. (For more on the fixed-income market, please see today's early

Bond Focus.)

Tuesday's Midday Movers

By

Heather Moore
Staff Reporter

As noted above, Web search engine and directory company Excite was up 29, or 42.9%, to 96 9/16 after cable-based Internet service provider @Home agreed to buy it in $6.7 billion stock swap. @Home was up 1 1/2 to 103 3/4. Under the deal, Excite shareholders will receive 1.04 shares of @Home for each share of Excite. In sympathy,

Lycos

(LCOS)

was up 17 1/8, or 19.5%, to 105 3/8.

Elsewhere in Netland, online publisher

CNet

(CNET) - Get Report

was up 11 1/4, or 15.6%, to 83 1/4 after agreeing to create the first Internet portal service aimed at users with high-speed modems with

General Electric's

(GE) - Get Report

NBC

. GE was down 7/8 to 99 7/8.

Online retailer

Onsale

(ONSL)

was down 5 1/4, or 9%, to 53 after saying it expects to report a fourth-quarter loss of 15 cents to 17 cents a share on revenue of $59 million. The 14-analyst

First Call

prediction called for a loss of 16 cents compared with the year-ago loss of 9 cents.

Earnings/revenue movers

BankAmerica was down 1 13/16 to 62 3/4 after reporting fourth-quarter earnings of 91 cents a share, two cents short of the 28-analyst consensus and down from the year-ago 94 cents.

Bank of New York

(BK) - Get Report

was down 1 1/2 to 35 9/16 after reporting fourth-quarter earnings of 40 cents a share, on target with the 23-analyst forecast and above the year-ago 37 cents.

Bank One

(ONE) - Get Report

was down 1 7/16 to 53 11/16 after reporting fourth-quarter earnings of 88 cents a share, in line with the 24-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 75 cents.

Chase was up 2 5/16 to 73 3/16 after posting fourth-quarter earnings of $1.31 a share, beating the 20-analyst estimate of $1.19 and topping the year-earlier 94 cents.

Chubb

(CB) - Get Report

was down 3 1/4, or 5.2%, to 59 11/16 after yesterday warning it expects fourth-quarter earnings of 90 cents a share, below the 16-analyst consensus estimate of $1.08 and down from the year-ago $1.01.

Clorox

(CLX) - Get Report

was up 2 5/8 to 112 1/2 after posting second-quarter earnings of 55 cents, beating the 12-analyst prediction by a penny and topping the year-ago 47 cents.

Delta was down 1 to 55 after announcing fourth-quarter earnings of $1.29 a share, beating the 11-analyst estimate of $1.26 and the year-ago $1.20.

Enron

(ENE)

was up 1/8 to 63 15/16 after reporting fourth-quarter earnings of 48 cents a share, beating the 15-analyst estimate by a penny but shrinking from the year-ago 53 cents.

Enron Oil & Gas

(EOG) - Get Report

was up 7/16 to 17 1/4 after yesterday posting fourth-quarter earnings of 6 cents a share, a penny better than the 20-analyst forecast but down from the year-ago 28 cents.

Freddie Mac

(FRE)

was down 13/16 to 58 5/8 after recording fourth-quarter earnings of 62 cents a share, 2 cents ahead of the 18-analyst forecast and up from the year-earlier 51 cents.

J.P. Morgan was down 2 1/2 to 106 1/4 after announcing fourth-quarter earnings of 42 cents a share, including charges related to cost reduction programs, above the 12-analsyt view of 38 cents but below the year-ago $1.33.

Merrill Lynch was down 1 1/8 to 71 1/4 after recording fourth-quarter earnings of 86 cents a share, crushing the 12-analyst estimate of 64 cents but falling below the year-earlier $1.15.

Northwest Airlines was down 3/8 to 26 1/8 after posting a fourth-quarter loss of $1.49 a share, narrower than the 11-analyst call for a loss of $1.51 and behind the year-ago profit of 97 cents.

PaineWebber

(PWJ)

was up 1/8 to 37 3/4 after posting fourth-quarter earnings of 63 cents a share, beating the eight-analyst consensus of 55 cents but falling below the year-ago 68 cents.

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

was up 2 to 117 15/16 after posting fourth-quarter earnings of 54 cents a share, 2 cents higher than the 27-analyst outlook and above the year-ago 38 cents.

Rockwell

(ROK) - Get Report

was down 1/4 to 40 7/8 after reporting first-quarter earnings of 70 cents a share, 7 cents ahead of the 10-analyst view and up from the year-ago 59 cents.

Southern

(SO) - Get Report

was down 9/16 to 28 1/16 after recording fourth-quarter earnings of 25 cents a share, falling 4 cents short of the 12-analyst forecast and dropping down from the year-ago 32 cents.

Wells Fargo

(WFC) - Get Report

was down 15/16 to 36 9/16 after announcing fourth-quarter earnings of 46 cents a share, in line with the 25-analyst estimate and higher than the year-ago 39 cents.

In other news:

AirTouch Communications was up 8 13/16, or 10.6%, to 92 3/16 after agreeing to be acquired by Britain's Vodafone for roughly $60 billion in and stock, creating the world's largest wireless company with a combined market capitalization of about $110 billion. Vodafone was up 8 13/16, or 5%, to 184 13/16. The new company, to be known as Vodafone AirTouch, will rank as the third-largest public company in the U.K.

Bell Atlantic

(BEL)

, which was up 4 3/4, or 8.9%, to 57 7/8, pulled out of the bidding war for AirTouch Friday.

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Report

was up 4 5/16, or 9.2%, to 51 7/16 after

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

raised its price target on the stock to 58 from 43 a share, while maintaining an outperform.