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Dell (DELL) was sliding 7/8 to 37 7/8 after it reported fourth-quarter earnings of 16 cents a share, a penny ahead of the revised First Call/Thomson Financial 29-analyst estimate and the year-ago earnings. The consensus estimate was lowered from 21 cents a share, excluding the gain, following Dell's Jan. 26 announcement that it expected to report fourth-quarter net income of about 16 cents a share, including an investment gain of 1 cent a share.

Dell said its profit growth was slowed by parts shortages and a sales slowdown tied to Y2K fears. Net income was $436 million, compared with $425 million in the year-ago period.

Credit Suisse First Boston

re-emphasized its strong buy rating on



. The computer maker last night announced earnings of 16 cents a share, a penny better than the restated

First Call/Thomson Financial


For more on Dell's

earnings, see the swell coverage from

joint newsroom.

Five IPOs have made their trading debuts during today's session. For more pricing and trading information, check out's

Offerings and stock action coverage.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Cameron Ashley Building Products


was popping 2 1/16, or 14.5%, to 16 1/4 after it said it has received an unsolicited takeover offer from

Guardian Industries

for $17 a share, or $148.1 million, based on the 8.71 million shares of Cameron Ashley outstanding.



was lifting 2 1/8, or 10.5%, to 22 1/4 after it said that



would take up to a $100 million stake in its

division before its IPO. Healtheon would purchase $10 million in cash convertible preferred stock, converting into 1% interest after VitalWorks goes public. Healtheon will also invest another $90 million after the IPO. Healtheon/WebMD was climbing 2 to 56 15/16.

National Westminster Bank


, also know as NatWest, told its shareholders to accept

Royal Bank of Scotland's

$34 billion offer. Natwest has been a takeover target for both Royal Bank of Scotland and

Bank of Scotland

, who were in a bidding war over the bank. This week, three of NatWest's biggest shareholders threw their support behind the Royal Bank's offer. NatWest was rising 2 to 110.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews


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




was edging up 11/16 to 14 3/4 after it posted fourth-quarter earnings of 4 cents a share, a penny better than the four-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 13-cent loss.



of Sweden reported income for 1999 after financial items of $716 million, a little above expectations, according to


. The company expects continued good demand in North America this year in all product areas, while in Europe, it expects market conditions to improve in 2000 compared to 1999. Electrolux was slipping 2 to 44 3/8.



was falling 1/16 to 18 1/16 after it posted fourth-quarter earnings of 33 cents a share, beating the six-analyst estimate of 28 cents and up from the year-ago 19 cents.

Pep Boys


was losing 1/8 to 6 15/16 after it reported a 3.8% decline in fourth-quarter same-store sales.



was not trading after reporting fourth-quarter earnings of 20 cents a share, greatly missing the six-analyst estimate of 32 cents and down from the year-ago 30 cents.

Trigon Healthcare


was moving up 9/16 to 33 3/16 after it reported fourth-quarter earnings of 62 cents a share, edging out the 15-analyst estimate of 59 cents and up from the year-ago 49 cents.



was declining 1/4 to 7 7/16 after it posted fourth-quarter earnings of 12 cents a share, a penny shy of the two-analyst estimate and down from the year-ago 26 cents.

Offerings and stock actions

Analyst actions

Salomon Smith Barney

upped its rating on

American General


to strong buy. American General was mounting 2 7/8, or 5.4%, to 55 15/16.

SG Cowen

sliced its rating on

Applied Graphics


to buy from strong buy. Shares of Applied Graphics was sliding 7/8, or 11.6%, to 6 11/16.

CIBC World Markets

upped its rating on



to buy from hold. Alcoa was bouncing 2 7/8 to 68 3/8.

J.P. Morgan

initiated coverage of



as a market performer. D&S was down 1/16 to 22 15/16.

Banc of America

cut its rating on


to buy from strong buy. was shedding 5 5/8, or 26.7%, to 15 3/8.

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

raised its rating on

Grupo Radio Centro


to buy from market perform. Grupo Radio Centro was edging up 3/8 to 9 1/4.

Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown

raised its rating on



to buy from market perform. Harbinger was bouncing 15/16 to 30 1/8.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter




to outperform from neutral. Keane was sliding 1 9/16, or 5.6%, to 26.

Merrill Lynch


Nabors Industries


to intermediate-term buy from accumulate. Nabors was adding 1 5/16 to 33 3/16.

Banc of America

raised its price target on

Network Solutions


to 400 from 375. Network Solutions was soaring 22 1/2, or 7.7%, to 315 1/8.

Salomon Smith Barney

upped its price target on



to 65 from 55. Nucor was hopping 1 3/4 to 47.

Merrill Lynch upped its rating on

Office Depot


to an intermediate, long-term buy from accumulate. Office Depot was declining 1/2 to 13 1/8.

Merrill upgraded its intermediate-term rating on

Royal Dutch Petroleum


to buy from accumulate. Royal Dutch was gaining 3/8 to 55.

Merrill upgraded its intermediate-term rating on

Shell Transport


to buy from accumulate. Shell Transport was rising 5/16 to 44 1/16.


raised it rating on



to buy from attractive and upped its price target to 35 from 30. Sunoco was climbing 13/16 to 24 3/4.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter upped its price target for

Telecom Argentina


to 58 per ADR from 35 per ADR. Telecom Argentina was unchanged at 45 7/8.

DLJ upgraded

TV Azteca


to buy from market perform. TV Azteca was declining 1/16 to 13.

Bank of America raised its price target on



to 300. Triquint was leaping 20 1/2, or 8.9%, to 249 3/4.

Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown upped its rating on

Wink Communications


to buy from market perform. Wink Communications was lifting 4 5/8, or 7.1%, to 69.

Lehman Brothers

rolled out coverage of

XM Satellite Radio


with a buy rating and a price target of 60 for 2000. XM Satellite Radio was rising 2 11/16, or 9%, to 32 5/8.


Cabletron Systems


was tacking on 1/4 to 36 15/16 after it said it plans to reorganize its core business into four independent operating companies in order to better focus on high-growth areas of the communications market.

The new companies --

Riverstone Networks


Enterasys Networks


Global Network Technology Services


Aprisma Management Technologies

-- will focus on service provider, enterprise electronic business, professional services and infrastructure management, the company said. Cabletron said the four units eventually will be separate, publicly traded companies.

Dow Chemical


was falling 3/16 to 105 3/4 after it said it tapped Michael Parker as its new president and CEO.

Internet heads will talk to the


administration next week on how to respond to this week's Web attacks,

The Wall Street Journal

reported. According to the


, the attacks sparked concerns about whether the government is doing enough to protect the Internet.

Usually when a company loses a court fight it means bad things for its stock, but that wasn't the case for shares of

Medco Research


this week, the Heard on the Street column in

The Wall Street Journal


The Delaware Chancery Court ruled on Wednesday, in a suit filed by the Wisconsin Investment Board, that Medco will delay for at least 15 days a shareholder vote -- which was set for yesterday -- on its planned takeover by

King Pharmaceuticals


for no more than $397 million, or $34 a share, the column said.

In response, Medco shares rose 7% yesterday, the column reported. The stock rose because Medco shareholders stand to gain about $50 million from the ruling, according to a lawyer with the Wisconsin Investment Board, which owns 11.6% of Medco, the column said. The board filed the suit to block the merger, citing its value, the column said. Medco Research was unchanged at 31 and King Pharmaceuticals was adding 13/16 to 51.

The Inside Wall Street column in

Business Week

, written by Gene Marcial, reports that some big investors believe

America Online








are separately interested in buying

StarMedia Network


, an Internet media company for Spanish and Portuguese-language audiences. AOL was skidding 5/8 to 57 5/8.

The column also includes an item on



, the second-largest cement producer in the U.S., whose stock has soared from 46 in early December to 57 7/8 lately, in part because a number of investors think that Southdown is a takeover target. Southdown was climbing 1 1/4 to 57 7/16.

Also in the column,

Emcor Group


garners bullish mention. Emcor Group was gaining 1 1/4, or 6.1%, to 21 1/4.