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While the major indices rallied, it was announced that United Technologies (UTX) - Get United Technologies Corporation Report has said Honeywell (HON) - Get Honeywell International Inc. (HON) Report is exploring "alternate merger proposals," and the combination of two Dow Jones Industrial Average companies may not happen after all.

Meanwhile, a string of recent earnings releases, including last night's reports from


(EBAY) - Get eBay Inc. Report


Commerce One


, and this morning's release from


(MRK) - Get Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Report

, steadied stocks and created buying interest.

A day after the

Nasdaq Composite Average's 200-point surge, the tech-heavy index added further to those gains. It continued a reversal that began two days ago, when the Comp briefly touched 3026. Since then, it has tacked on nearly 500 points in a session-and-a-half.

It had been reported that UTX and Honeywell were in

talks by


TheStreet Recommends

always-zealous David Faber, but according to UTX, talks between the two companies on a potential $40 billion transaction have been terminated. Honeywell, a diversified technology and manufacturing company, is

seeking other partners, derailing what would have been the first merger between Dow components since 1907.

UTX's stock dropped sharply today as investors anticipated dilution of earnings resulting from the purchase of a company not much smaller than UTX. As of yesterday, Honeywell's market capitalization (shares outstanding multiplied by stock price) was $28.75 billion; UTX's was $31.8 billion. UTX ended off 4.1% to $65 and Honeywell was halted late in the day at $41.13.

Among today's big movers were



; the optical communications company was up $49.91, or 17.3%, to $339 after reporting earnings

yesterday. eBay, which also reported

strong results, bounced up 88 cents, or 1.5%, to $58.06, and it helped to lift Internet stocks in tandem. The market overall has improved in the last two days on the back of strong earnings reports.

Stocks were consistent losers from September through the middle of October, due to investor concern that corporate earnings growth would fall short of expectations and that economic growth would be hindered by rising fuel costs and weakening consumer demand. Recent reports have allayed those concerns, however.

Leading the way today on the NYSE were the brokerage stocks.

Bear Stearns


rallied -- thanks to the persistent rumors of a potential takeover. The stock was up $5.81, or 10.4%, to $61.50.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter


, benefiting from an upgrade, was up $4.38, or 5.7%, to $80.94. The

American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index

rose 4.1%.

Today's biggest loser was

Circuit City

(CC) - Get Chemours Co. Report

, after the company

warned that third-quarter earnings would be below expectations. The stock was hammered, losing 35.6% to $13.81.

Sector Watch

On the back of SDL's strong earnings report, optical communications and equipment companies were exploding today.


(GLW) - Get Corning Inc Report

was up 11.4%,


(CIEN) - Get Ciena Corporation Report

gained 6.9%, and

JDS Uniphase


gained 13.8%. Internet Sector

index was seeing some positive lift from eBay's earnings report. The DOT, as it's known, gained 5.9%, thanks to strong gains in



, up 9.1%, and

(AMZN) - Get, Inc. Report

, up 11%.


Philadelphia Oil Service Index

was moving strongly today, up 3.5%.

R&B Falcon

(FLC) - Get Flaherty & Crumrine Total Return Fund Inc Report

was particularly strong, gaining 4.5% as November crude oil futures increased to $33.20 from $32.91 last night.

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The bond market was virtually unchanged today. With no economic releases today, there was little new to cause any change in the market's view.

The benchmark 10-year

Treasury note was lately up 2/32 to 100 26/32, yielding 5.642%, and it's traded in a tight range today.

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