Midday Movers: Salomon Swats Biotechs, MicroStrategy Soars and Baan Bombs

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Salomon Smith Barney swatted biotechs this morning, slicing its rating on MedImmune (MEDI) to outperform from buy. Salomon also downgraded shares of Genzyme (GENZ) and Biogen to neutral from outperform ratings. Shares of MedImmune were skidding 16 9/16, or 10.6%, to 138 3/4; Genzyme was falling 1 3/4 and Biogen shares were stumbling 11 13/16, or 13.4%, to 76 5/16.

MicroStrategy

(MSTR) - Get Report

was jumping 7 3/8 to 217 11/16 after it said its board approved a 2-for-1 stock split.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

CNet

(CNET) - Get Report

will join forces with

AMFM

(AFM)

to create CNet Radio, the country's first all-tech radio format. The companies will share revenue on advertising sales and CNet said the first radio station would launch in San Francisco. Shares of CNET were popping 2 5/8 to 64, while AMFM was falling 1 1/2 to 75 5/8.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

(

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

)

Baan

was slipping 4 1/4, or 28.8%, to 10 9/16 after it warned it expects its 1999 fourth-quarter loss to widen to as much as $250 million, partly as a result of a restructuring. The company also announced the departure of CEO Mary Coleman.

HSBC

cut its rating on Baan to sell from hold.

For more on this

story, check out the coverage by

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com's

joint newsroom.

Canandaigua Brands

(CDB)

was unchanged after it reported third-quarter earnings of $1.60 a share, beating the 12-analyst estimate of $1.56 a share and the year-ago $1.10 a share. The company attributed latest-quarter sales gains to acquisitions completed between December 1998 and June of last year.

Cross Timbers

(XTO)

was unchanged after it said it had dropped plans to form Texas Permian Trust and will sell some of the properties expected to be included in the trust as part of a plan to generate $320 million to $340 million of cash flow in 2000.

Family Dollar Stores

(FDO)

was edging up 13/16, or 5.2%, to 16 5/16 after it posted first-quarter earnings of 21 cents a share, in line with the 13-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 17 cents a share. The company said it plans to open about 400 stores, and close 50 during its current fiscal year.

Helen of Troy

(HELE) - Get Report

was climbing 1/8 to 7 1/4 after it posted third-quarter earnings of 20 cents a share, beating the five-analyst estimate of 18 cents, but lower than the year-ago 37 cents.

Kulicke & Soffa

(KLIC) - Get Report

was hopping 1 3/4 to 43 3/16 after it said its first-quarter profit would beat estimates by more than 30%. The 13-analyst estimate calls for earnings of 36 cents a share. The company attributed the strength to demand for its

Model 8028

wire bonder and improving overall activity in the industry.

For more on this

story, check out the coverage provided by

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com's

joint newsroom.

Lattice Semiconductor

(LSCC) - Get Report

was declining 1 3/8 to 47 7/16 after it said it will report a $92 million aftertax gain in the first quarter from the appreciation of foundry investments made in two Taiwanese companies.

Sears

(S) - Get Report

was bouncing 2 7/8, or 9.5%, to 32 15/16 after it reported a 0.6% decline in same-store sales for December, but said it sees fourth-quarter earnings before items up at a high-teen to low-twenty percent, citing strength in its credit business and full-line stores. Sears also said it is revising its full-year outlook, expecting an increase at a high single digit to low-teen percent rate, excluding items.

For more on this

story, check out the coverage provided by

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com's

joint newsroom.

Trident Microsystems

(TRID)

was lifting 1/8 to 10 1/16 after it said it will report a $125 million onetime gain in its March quarter.

Ultimate Electronics

(ULTE)

was sliding 2 11/16, or 10.2%, to 23 3/4 after it said changes in its accounting methods would reduce its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings and force the company to restate past results lower.

Xilinx

(XLNX) - Get Report

was advancing 11/16 to 47 7/16 after it said it would report a $400 million aftertax gain in results for its fourth-quarter ending April 1. The gain comes from its investment in Taiwanese company

United Silicon

, which is merging with

United Microelectronics

.

Offerings

Pinnacle Holdings

was sliding 1 1/2 to 37 3/4 after it said it filed for an 8 million-share offering. Pinnacle said that it would offer 5.3 million shares, while some of its shareholders would put up 2.7 million shares.

Universal Electronics

(UEIC) - Get Report

was stumbling 3/4 to 44 7/16 after it said its board approved a 2-for-1 stock split payable around Jan. 31 to shareholders of record Jan. 10.

Analyst actions

Salomon Smith Barney

started coverage of

Airnet Communications

(ANCC)

with a buy rating. Shares of Airnet were lifting 1 13/16 to 38 3/8.

PaineWebber

upped its price target on

Amgen

(AMGN) - Get Report

to 80 from 60. Shares of Amgen were falling 1/16 to 63.

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

said it sees airline stocks rallying in 2000 and said it favors

AMR

(AMR)

and

Skywest

(SKYW) - Get Report

. Shares of AMR were gaining 5/8 to 68, while Skywest was shedding 1 3/4, or 6.1%, to 27.

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

cut

Bristol-Meyers Squibb

(BMY) - Get Report

to market perform from buy. Shares of Bristol-Meyers Squibb were losing 3 9/16, or 5.5%, to 60 7/8.

Credit Suisse First Boston

said it started coverage of the following CLECs with buy ratings:

Allied Riser Communications was shedding 13/16 to 20 1/2.

Covad Communications was adding 15/16 to 59 7/8.

Focal Communications was jumping 3, or 11.5%, to 28 7/8.

Intermedia Communications was edging up 7/8 to 37 3/8.

IXNet was shedding 1/8 to 29 1/2.

Northpoint Communications Group was losing 7/8 to 25 1/8.

Rhythms NetConnections was stumbling 7/8 to 31.

Teligent was lifting 1 1/4 to 62.

Credit Suisse also rolled out coverage of

e.spire Communications

(ESPI)

,

Electric Lightwave

(ELIX)

,

GST Telecommunications

(GSTX)

and

ICG Communications

(ICGX)

with hold ratings.

Shares of e.spire Communication were gaining 3/16 to 6 5/8, Electric Lightwave was falling 1/4 to 19 1/4, GST Telecommunications shares were unchanged at 9 3/8 and ICG Communications was slipping 3/4 to 17 1/8.

Credit Suisse cut its rating on

Labor Ready

(LRW)

to a hold from a buy. Shares of Labor Ready were declining 2 7/8, or 24%, to 9 1/16

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

upped its rating on

Disney

(DIS) - Get Report

to outperform from neutral. Shares of Disney were adding 1 3/8 to 31 3/16.

Wit Capital

started coverage of

FreeMarkets

(FMKT)

with a buy rating. DLJ started the stock as a buy and set a six-month-to-12-month price target of 550.

Goldman Sachs

started coverage of the stock as a market outperformer. Shares of FreeMarkets were plummeting 35 7/8, or 10.4%, to 309.

Merrill Lynch

raised its rating on three defense companies, citing an improved defense outlook for the first half of this year and overly poor stock performance in 1999.

Northrop Grumman

(NOC) - Get Report

was lifted to buy and long-term buy from accumulate and long-term buy. Merrill set a 12-month price target of 82.

General Dynamics

(GD) - Get Report

was upped to buy from long-term buy and accumulate with a price target of 72 and

Alliant Techsystems

(ATK)

was raised to buy and long-term buy from neutral and long-term accumulate. Alliant's price target was raised to 80.

Northrop Grumman was climbing 1 11/16 to 54 9/16, General Dynamics was bouncing 2 to 51 1/16 and Alliant Techsystems' shares were lifting 5 1/16, or 8.2%, to 66 9/16.

Soundview Technology

rolled out coverage of

Newport

(NEWP)

with a buy rating and a price target of 59. Shares of Newport were hopping 6, or 13.9%, to 49 3/4.

Salomon rolled out coverage of

T. Rowe Price

(TROW) - Get Report

with a buy rating. Shares of T. Rowe Price were losing 5/8 to 34 7/16.

Alex. Brown started coverage

of VA Linux

(LNUX)

at a buy and set a price target of 260. Shares of VA Linux were mounting 3 to 194 5/16.

Schroder

raised its price target on

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

to 600 from 350. Shares of Yahoo was soaring 21 1/2 to 496 7/16.

Miscellany

Bell Atlantic

(BEL)

introduced a package of local and long-distance services. The company introduced three long-distance plans which it said would help consumers save between 10% and 50%. Shares of Bell Atlantic were skidding 1/4 to 59 11/16

Fidelity Investments

wants shareholders of its more than $100 billion

(FMAGX) - Get Report

Magellan fund to let the fund make bigger bets, the

Journal

reports. Trustees are recommending shareholders approve a plan that would allow Magellan to invest up to 25% of its assets in a single company. Fidelity was lately down 1.52 to 135.11.

Web Street

(WEBS)

was slipping 1/2 to 12 7/8 after it said its online brokerage unit was seeking to become a self-clearing brokerage firm, which would allow it to cut costs and offer more services to its customers. Its wholly owned subsidiary,

Web Street Securities

, filed with the

National Association of Securities Dealers

(NASD), the parent of Nasdaq, to become such a firm.

A growing number of American corporations are concluding dividends are no longer necessary to attract investors, according to a story in

The New York Times

. While companies once needed dividends to convince investors that their stock was worthy of buying, more and more firms are not bothering to pay them. A quarter of the value of the

S&P 500

comes from companies that do not pay dividends, the story says. In comparison, two decades ago only 2% of the value of the index came from such companies.

The Heard on the Street column in the

Journal

takes a look at short-seller blues in recent years as major indices have roared to records. According to one investment adviser who tracks the group, short-sellers were down 3.2% last year through November, and December is not shaping up any better. The last time the average short had a positive year was 1994, when the S&P 500 finished the year down, the story says.