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Midday Movers: Micron Technology, Xcelera.com, Metamor and Natural Microsystems

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Motoring ahead at midday, the Nasdaq Composite is up about 106 points to 4817 and getting a lift from biotechnology and semiconductor stocks. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down approximately 92 points to 10,814.

This afternoon's big stock news comes from

Micron Technology

(MU) - Get Report

, which jumped 15 1/8, or 12.6%, to 134 1/4, although it reported second-quarter earnings of 58 cents a share, which includes a charge, far short of the

First Call/Thomson Financial

22-analyst estimate of 74 cents, but up from the year-ago 8 cents, which also includes a charge.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Bank One

(ONE) - Get Report

is

looking into selling its Internet bank,

WingspanBank.com

, which was launched less than a year ago,

The Wall Street Journal

reported. The newspaper said Bank One, whose stock collapsed last August and hasn't even come close to recovering, has hired

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

to advise it on a possible sale.

Cytec Industries

(CYT)

said it is "pursuing strategic options for its paper chemicals business" and has hired

Credit Suisse First Boston

to help. Cytec said its paper chemicals business had pro forma sales of $100 million in 1999. Bank One remained flat at 27 1/8.

DaimlerChrysler

(DCX)

is taking a look at acquiring a controlling stake in Japan's

Mitsubishi

, according to published reports. DaimlerChrysler climbed 1/8 to 65 9/16.

Exodus Communications

(EXDS)

is making a $637.5 million equity investment in

Mirror Image Internet

, a subsidiary of

Xcelera.com

(XLA)

. The companies plan to improve Web site performance for customers, consumers and e-Business Web sites. Exodus Communications advanced 7 to 162 1/4, while Xcelera.com jumped 49 3/4, or 28.5%, to 224 1/16.

The

Federal Trade Commission

has begun a preliminary probe into plans by

Ford

(F) - Get Report

,

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

and DaimlerChrysler to build an online parts market, the

Journal

reported. The newspaper said that spokesmen for the auto titans said they weren't aware of a probe but anticipated the alliance among the big automakers to move forward. Ford dropped 1 3/4 to 44, while General Motors rose 1 7/8 to 82 1/16.

Household International

(HI) - Get Report

is buying the $2.15 billion real estate loan portfolio in cash from

Banc One Financial Services

, the consumer finance division of

Bank One

(ONE) - Get Report

. Household International fell 1 3/8 to 36 1/2, while Bank One was flat at 27 1/8.

PSINet

(PSIX)

is buying

Metamor Worldwide

(MMWW)

for $44.55 a share, a whopping premium to Metamor's closing price of $16 yesterday. Under terms of the deal, Metamor shareholders will receive 0.9 of a PSINet share for each Metamor share they own. PSINet slumped 7 1/2, or 15.2%, to 42, while Metamor popped 17 7/8, or 111.3%, to 33 7/8.

Pepsi-Cola

(PEP) - Get Report

and

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

set a joint online and offline promotional program,

Pepsi Stuff.com

. Pepsi-Cola dropped 1 1/8 to 33 1/8.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

(

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

)

Dean Foods

(DF) - Get Report

posted third-quarter earnings of 67 cents a share, shy of the nine-analyst estimate of 71 cents but up from the year-ago 20 cents. Dean Foods declined 3, or 10.9%, to 24 1/2.

Gucci

(GUC)

posted full-year 1999 net income of $3.48 a share, a penny ahead of the seven-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago $3.28. For the fourth quarter, Gucci reported net income of 97 cents a share, a penny ahead of the five-analyst estimate but down from the year-ago $1.12. Gucci was down 5 3/4, or 6.1%, to 89 1/4.

National Service Industries

(NSI)

reported second-quarter operating earnings of 49 cents a share, in line with the five-analyst estimate but down from the year-ago operating earnings of 54 cents. National Service Industries slipped 11/16 to 21 1/4.

Worthington Industries

(WTHG)

posted third-quarter earnings of 26 cents a share, beating the eight-analyst estimate of 25 cents and up from the year-ago 21 cents. Worthington Industries fell 1/8 to 12 11/16.

Offerings and stock actions

Chase Manhattan

(CMB)

set a 3-for-2 stock split. The shares were down 2 1/4, or 2.5%, to 89 3/4.

EDS

(EDS)

announced a stock-repurchase plan of up to 9.5 million shares. EDS shares were up 3 1/4 to 69 5/8.

Robertson Stephens

priced 3.5 million shares of

inSilicon

(INSN)

at $12 each, above the expected $9-$11 range. inSilicon, which is a unit of

Phoenix Technologies

(PTEC)

, uses communications technology to design complex semiconductors for devices such as network routers and cell phones. InSilicon hopped 10 1/2, or 87.5%, to 22 1/2 while Phoenix Technologies fell 1 3/16, or 5.2%, to 21 7/8.

TST Recommends

Hutchison Whampoa

sold a huge portion of its stake in

Vodafone AirTouch

(VOD) - Get Report

.

Reuters

said

Deutsche Bank

and

Goldman Sachs

placed 925 million shares of Vodafone at 349 pence each. Vodafone AirTouch dropped 2 5/16 to 58 5/16.

Analyst actions

This morning,

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

launched coverage of five companies involved in the manufacturing of construction and home building materials.

Martin Marietta

(MLM) - Get Report

,

Masco

(MAS) - Get Report

and

Vulcan

(VMC) - Get Report

were all initiated with market outperform ratings.

Lafarge

(LAF)

and

Armstrong World

(ACK)

were launched with neutral ratings. Martin Marietta was down 1/2 to 45 1/2, Masco slipped 9/16 to 21 3/4, Vulcan declined 1 5/16 to 42 5/8, Lafarge dropped 9/16 to 23 7/16 and Armstrong World fell 13/16 to 18 9/16.

Analog Devices

(ADI) - Get Report

: coverage INITIATED with a buy rating at

Salomon Smith Barney

. Analog Devices rose 4 3/8, or 5.2%, to 89 3/8.

Belco Oil & Gas

(BOG)

: coverage INITIATED with a buy rating and an 11 price target at

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

. Belco Oil & Gas climbed 3/8 to 9 3/4.

Broadcom

: coverage INITIATED with a buy rating at

W.R. Hambrecht

. Broadcom advanced 7 15/16 to 235 15/16.

Elan

(ELN)

: coverage INITIATED with a recommended list rating and a 55 price target at

Goldman Sachs

. Elan stayed flat at 42 15/16.

Garden.com

(GDEN) - Get Report

: coverage INITIATED with a buy rating at W.R. Hambrecht. Garden.com was up 7/8, or 11.5%, to 8 1/2.

Hotel Reservations Network

(ROOM)

: coverage INITIATED with buy ratings at

Bear Stearns

and

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

. Hotel Reservations Network ascended 1 3/16, or 8.1%, to 15 15/16.

JDS Uniphase

(JDSU)

: coverage INITIATED with a buy rating and a 180 price target at W.R. Hambrecht. JDS Uniphase moved up 2 1/2 to 129 1/2.

Micron Technology

(MU) - Get Report

: earnings estimate DOWN to 13 cents per share from 24 cents at

D.A. Davidson

. Micron Technology jumped 15 1/8, or 12.6%, to 134 1/4.

Natural Microsystems

(NMSS)

: rating UP to strong buy from buy at Alex. Brown. Natural Microsystems hopped 14, or 25.7%, to 68 1/2.

Nextcard

(NXCD)

: coverage INITIATED with a strong buy rating and a 43 price target of 43. Nextcard rose 2, or 11.7%, to 19.

Northrop

(NOC) - Get Report

: 2000 earnings estimate UP to $8.35 per share from $7.20 at

SG Cowen

. Northrop remained unchanged at 54.

SDL

(SDLI)

: coverage INITIATED with a buy rating at W.R. Hambrecht. SDL moved up 9 1/2 to 215 3/8.

Travelers Property Casualty

(TAP) - Get Report

: rating DOWN to hold from strong buy at

Warburg Dillon Read

. Travelers was up 1/16 to 41.

Miscellany

Autodesk

(ADSK) - Get Report

said the

Federal Trade Commission

has ended an investigation of the company's business practices. Autodesk fell 5/16 to 50 7/8.

Bye-bye Rezulin.

Warner-Lambert

(WLA)

is withdrawing its controversial diabetes drug from the U.S. market. The

Food and Drug Administration

said that the company had agreed to an FDA request to pull the drug, which had been linked to fatal liver failure. Warner-Lambert slipped 2 3/4 to 92 1/4.