Biotech stocks were falling all to pieces, with the American Stock Exchange Biotechnology Index down 15.2% and the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index down 13.1%. The apparent culprit is news that the U.S. and the U.K. have agreed to openly share information from the ongoing project to map the human genome, the thought being that private enterprises may suffer from the openness.

Protein Design Labs

(PDLI) - Get Report

was down a massive 80 7/8, or 31.5%, to 176;

Incyte Pharmaceuticals

(INCY) - Get Report

was down 57, or 28.9%, to 140;

Human Genome Sciences

(HGSI)

was down 34 9/16, or 22.7%, to 118; and

Affymetrix

(AFFX)

was down 57 1/16, or 24.1%, to 180 3/16.

Inktomi

(INKT)

popped 24 3/8, or 12.9%, to 213 1/2 after it said it was expanding its mobile wireless infrastructure, in part through six alliances with technology companies. Inktomi is taking an equity stake in

AirFlash

for its mobile phone Internet services. It also is allying with France's

Cap Gemini Sogeti

and

Portal Software

(PRSF)

in a move that will include billing for wireless content.

Inktomi is also joining forces with

Hewlett-Packard

(HWP)

for its wireless hardware platform and

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

for Sun's wireless infrastructure set. Inktomi is forging a link with

Spyglass

(SPYG) - Get Report

for content information and wireless Web firm

GWcom

. Portal Software gained 3 7/8, or 5.2%, to 5%, Hewlett-Packard inched up 1/8 to 146 5/8, Sun Microsystems gained 1 5/8 to 92 1/2, and Spyglass was rising 6 5/8, or 8.5%, to 85 1/16.

Alcoa

(AA) - Get Report

dropped 4 15/16, or 7.3%, to 63 1/8 after it said it will buy

Cordant Technologies

(CDD)

for $57 a share, or about $2.9 billion. The deal includes the assumption of $685 million in debt. Cordant was jumping 25 7/8, or 87.5%, to 55 7/16.

For more on this

story, see the coverage from the

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com's

joint newsroom.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Digital Island

(ISLD)

and

Federated's

(FD)

Fingerhut

said they entered an online alliance. Under the partnership Digital Island said it will provide e-commerce technology to Fingerhut. Digital Island gained 5/16 to 102 1/4 while Federated slipped 3/16 to 34 3/4.

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

was unchanged at 98 after it bought an undisclosed stake in Malaysia's

Astro

television network as part of a deal the two companies said would help shape the development of new multimedia and interactive TV services for Asia.

Nortel Networks

(NT)

jumped 3 13/16 to 125 1/2 after it agreed to acquire

Xros

for $3.25 billion in Nortel stock. Nortel said the acquisition would be slightly dilutive to 2000 earnings-per-share, but would add to 2001 EPS. Nortel also said it would issue 27.5 million shares for the deal.

For more on this

story, see coverage from the

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com

joint newsroom.

Sears

(S) - Get Report

rose 1 1/16 to 28 1/2 and

America Online

(AOL)

rose 2 1/4 to 63 9/16 after the companies said they formed an alliance that involves marketing each other's goods and services. Under the agreement, AOL's products and services will be marketed to Sears' customers at its 858 stores nationwide. The venture also includes plans to market and sell high-speed broadband access as the market develops.

For more on this

story, see the coverage from the

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com's

joint newsroom.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

(

Earnings estimates from First Call/Thomson Financial; earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified.

)

AnnTaylor

(ANN)

added 1 15/16, or 8.2%, to 25 1/2 after it posted fourth-quarter earnings of 50 cents a share, in line with the 14-analyst estimate and a penny better than the year-ago results.

FactSet Research

(FDS) - Get Report

gained 1 7/8, or 5.7%, to 35 after it reported second-quarter earnings of 18 cents a share, a penny better than the three-analyst estimate and the year-ago 13 cents.

Host Marriott

(HMT)

slipped 1/16 to 8 7/8 after it

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 54 cents a share, in line with the 14-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 49 cents.

Martha Stewart

(MSO)

moved up 1 5/8, or 6.2%, to 27 3/4 after it posted fourth-quarter pro forma earnings of 5 cents a share, better than the five-analyst estimate of 1 cent and the year-ago pro forma earnings of 3 cents.

Network Appliance

(NTAP) - Get Report

shed 7 5/8 to 220 1/2 despite saying it expects to post revenue of $500 million in the year to April 2000, with turnover doubling to $1 billion in the year to April 2001.

Polymer Group

(PGI)

lost 2 1/4, or 18.5%, to 9 15/16 after it said it expects first-quarter and full-year earnings to fall short of analyst estimates due to order delays, expenses for two new lines and other factors. Polymer sees earnings of 6 cents to 8 cents a share in the first quarter and full-year earnings of 90 cents to $1.10. The current three-analyst estimate for the first quarter is 19 cents a share, while the four-analyst estimate for 2000 is $1.19.

Offerings and stock actions

Adaptive Broadband

(ADAP) - Get Report

last night set a 2-for-1 stock split. The stock nevertheless slipped 12 1/2, or 7%, to 165.

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

shareholders approved a proposal to create a wireless tracking stock. The company said it expects to begin the IPO for the tracking stock this spring. AT&T added 13/16 to 53 1/2.

Concord Camera

(LENS)

said it approved a 2-for-1 stock split. It bounced 1 1/2 to 54.

NYFIX

(NYFX)

set a 3-for-2 stock split. NYFIX lifted 1 1/2 to 60 1/2.

Quanta Services

(PWR) - Get Report

advanced 2 7/8, or 5.5%, to 55 1/8 after it set a 3-for-2 stock split.

Sycamore Networks

(SCMR)

fell 5 to 145 after it priced a 10.2 million-share offering at $150.25 a share.

Analyst actions

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

analyst Andrew Shore started coverage of major consumer products companies including

Revlon

(REV) - Get Report

,

Procter & Gamble

(PG) - Get Report

,

Gillette

(G) - Get Report

,

Colgate-Palmolive

(CL) - Get Report

,

Avon

(AVP) - Get Report

,

Clorox

(CLX) - Get Report

and

Dial

(DL) - Get Report

.

  • Revlon received a market perform and a 12-month price target of 11. It slid 1, or 9.7%, to 9 1/4.
  • Procter & Gamble was rated market perform with a price target of 60. P&G lost 1 5/16 to 55 15/16.
  • Gillette was rated strong buy with a price target of 36. It slid 1 1/4 to 30 5/8.
  • Colgate-Palmolive was rated a buy with a target of 48. It declined 1/2 to 42 7/8.
  • Avon was started as a market perform with a price target of 30, and skidded 3/16 to 27 7/8.
  • Clorox was started as a market perform with a target of 33. It slipped 7/16 to 30 3/16.
  • Dial was rated a market perform with a price target of 11. It tacked on 3/8 to 11 15/16.

Chase H&Q

started coverage of

ASE Test

(ASTSF)

with a buy rating and a price target of 60. ASE Test bounced 3 5/8, or 11.6%, to 34 5/8.

J.P. Morgan

started coverage of

Avista

(AVA) - Get Report

with a buy rating. Avista advanced 1 11/16, or 5.6%, to 31 11/16.

Warburg Dillon Read

started coverage of

Bausch & Lomb

(BOL)

with a buy rating and a price target of 75. Bausch & Lomb gained 9/16 to 51 9/16.

Merrill Lynch

upgraded

Caterpillar

(CAT) - Get Report

to intermediate-term buy from accumulate. The firm maintained its long-term buy rating on the stock. Caterpillar 15/16 to 36 9/16

Credit Suisse First Boston

reinstated

Conexant Systems

(CNXT) - Get Report

with a strong buy rating and a 12-month target of 140. Conexant Systems climbed 3 to 87 5/16.

CSFB raised its 2000 earnings estimates on

Credence Systems

(CMOS)

to $3.60 from $3.35. The 12-month price target was raised to 170 from 90. Credence Systems hopped 6 1/16 to 131.

Lehman Brothers

said it cut

Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea

(GAP)

to neutral from buy. A&P declined 2 5/8, or 12.2%, to 18 3/4.

Goldman Sachs

started coverage of

Inforte

(INFT)

on its recommended list. The stock gained 3/4 to 67 3/4.

Goldman Sachs started coverage of

Lending Tree

(TREE) - Get Report

as market outperformer. Lending Tree advanced 1 11/16, or 11.3%, to 16 5/8.

Morgan Stanley cut its rating on

Lennox International

(LII) - Get Report

to neutral from outperform. Lennox lost 1/4 to 9 13/16.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

started coverage of

Providian

(PVN)

with a strong buy rating and a price target of 110. Providian rose 4 3/8, or 6.8%, to 69.

CSFB raised

Radio One

(ROIA)

to strong buy from buy and boosted its 12-month price target to 105 from 80.

Bear Stearns

lifted Radio One to buy from attractive. Radio One jumped 13 3/16, or 20.8%, to 76 5/8.

Morgan Stanley started coverage of

Sabre Holdings

(TSG) - Get Report

at outperform with a price target of 56. Sabre Holdings was down 15/16 to 46 11/16.

Merrill Lynch raised

Sandisk

(SNDK)

to near-term buy from accumulate. Sandisk bounced 17 1/2, or 14%, to 142 1/2.

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

analyst Mark Hassenberg raised his rating on

Solectron

(SLR)

to top pick from buy. Solectron climbed 4 1/16, or 10.2%, to 44 1/16.

Morgan Stanley raised its rating on

Sysco

(SYY) - Get Report

to strong buy from outperform and set a price target of 38. Sysco was unchanged at 28 3/8.

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

upgraded

Tribune

(TRB)

to strong buy from buy. Tribune was up 2 13/16, or 9.1%, to 33 5/8.

Miscellany

Consolidated Stores

(CNS) - Get Report

said it hired Credit Suisse First Boston to help it pursue strategic options. Consolidated Stores moved up 1 3/8, or 12.2%, to 12 11/16.

FedEx

(FDX) - Get Report

said it launched a new premium home delivery program designed to provide service options, including appointment and evening delivery, which is not currently available to most residential clients. FedEx was flat at 32 13/16.

Tyco International

(TYC)

said it established a venture capital unit called

Tyco Ventures

, which will invest in emerging companies and technologies to enhance its core business. Tyco International was down 1/2 to 45 1/2.

The Heard on the Street column in the

The Wall Street Journal

calls

Robertson Stephens

analyst Dan Niles the "new Michael Jordan among technology analysts." The story says Niles has developed a strong following among investors after a "year of prescient calls" about

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

and others. Dell advanced 2 1/4 to 57.