Qwest Communications'

(Q)

CEO is planning to meet next week with

U S West's

(USW)

chairman to discuss their merger in light of the fact that the deal is threatened by a possible bid from

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

,

The Wall Street Journal

reported.

The newspaper said, citing people familiar with the situation, that Deutsche Telekom's CEO is encouraging both Qwest and U S West to iron out their differences over a potential get-together of one or both companies with Deutsche Telekom. Qwest was rising 4 1/8, or 7%, to 64 1/8, U S West was lifting 4, or 5.6%, to 76 and Deutsche Telekom was gaining 2 7/16.

Shared Medical Systems

(SMS)

popped 19 11/16, or 51.5%, to 57 15/16 after it said it is uninterested in a merger with

Eclipsys

(ECLP)

. Eclipsys was sliding 2, or 7%, to 26 5/8. The statement comes in response to Eclipsys' $2 billion takeover offer yesterday.

Bear Stearns

upped its rating on Shared Medical to buy from attractive.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

PMC-Sierra

(PMCS)

was popping 10 13/16, or 5.8%, to 196 1/4 after it said it entered a deal to acquire two semiconductor companies for $1.3 billion.

Unilever

(UL) - Get Report

slipped 3/8 to 25 1/8 said it was launching an e-commerce purchasing system with

Ariba

(ARBA)

. Ariba soared 26 5/16, or 8.8%, to 325 3/4.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

(

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

)

Bristol-Myers

(BMY) - Get Report

was inching down 1.9%, to 51 3/4 after saying it plans to meet its 2000 growth goals, despite the setback for its Taxol drug. On Wednesday, a federal judge invalidated key provisions of patents protecting the cancer drug.

Delphi Automotive Systems

(DPH)

gained 1/16 to 15 15/16 after it said it expects to grow its non-automotive business by nearly 70% to more than $700 million over the next three to five years.

Healtheon/WebMD

(HLTH)

was losing 5 3/4, or 9.8%, to 52 3/4 after it reported a fourth-quarter loss of 42 cents a share, narrower than the 11-analyst expected loss of 55 cents, and the year-ago loss of 25 cents.

Tandy's

(TAN) - Get Report

RadioShack

said February same-store sales were up 14%. Tandy was rising 1 1/2 to 41 5/8.

Offerings and stock actions

Medarex

(MEDX)

, a biopharmaceutical company, said it will sell a little more than 2 million shares of stock in a follow-on public offering at $172 a share. Shares moved up 17 3/4, or 10.1%, to 194.

Analyst actions

Merrill Lynch

upgraded

Altera

(ALTR) - Get Report

to long-term buy from accumulate and set a 12 to 18-month price target on the stock of 110. Altera jumped 11 13/16, or 14.6%, to 93 7/8.

Goldman Sachs cut its rating on

Brinker International

(EAT) - Get Report

to market outperform from trading buy. Brinker added 1/4 to 22 3/16.

Banc of America

sliced its rating on

Budget Group

(BD)

to market perform from buy. Budget declined 7/16, or 7.6%, to 5 5/16.

Bear Stearns

started coverage of

Caminus

(CAMZ)

with a buy rating and a price target of 32. Caminus popped 2 3/8, or 9.6%, to 26 7/8.

Merrill raised

Cybersource

(CYBS)

to near-term buy from accumulate. Cybersource gained 3/8 to 44 1/4.

Cornerstone Properties

(CPP)

posted fourth-quarter funds from operations of 41 cents a share, a penny better than the eight-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 37 cents. Cornerstone Properties lifted 1/16 to 16 7/8.

US Bancorp

lifted its share price target on

Data Critical

(DCCA)

to 65 from 45. Data Critical slipped 7/8 to 48.

Morgan Stanley said it raised its rating on

Disney

(DIS) - Get Report

to strong buy from outperform. Disney bounced 5/8 to 35 1/16.

ING Barings

initiated coverage of

DoubleClick

(DCLK)

with a strong buy rating. DoubleClick mounted 11 9/16, or 13.6%, to 95.

Merrill raised its near-term rating on

DuPont

(DD) - Get Report

to accumulate from neutral and reiterated its long-term buy rating on the stock. DuPont tacked on 5 3/16, or 11%, to 52 1/16.

Credit Suisse First Boston

analyst Tim Newington launched coverage of Internet service providers

Digex

(DIGX)

,

Earthlink

(ELNK)

and

Verio

(VRIO)

with buy ratings and

Exodus Communications

(EXDS)

with a strong buy.

Exodus also announced a 2-for-1 stock split this morning. Digex climbed 15 5/8, or 10.9%, to 158 1/4 and Earthlink added 1 1/2, or 6.4%, to 24 13/16, while Verio bounced 3 5/16, or 5.1%, to 68. Exodus Communications mounted 11 15/16, or 8.1%, to 159 3/8.

Merrill raised its intermediate-term rating on

Ensco International

(ESV)

to buy from accumulate and maintained its long-term buy rating on the stock. Ensco slipped 3/8 to 32 1/2.

Goldman Sachs analyst Lori Appelbaum started coverage of

FirstMerit

(FMER)

as a market outperform, a 2000 estimate of $1.90 a share, and a 2001 estimate of $2.08 a share. FirstMerit mounted 3/8 to 14 1/2.

CSFB cut

Hearst-Argyle

(HTV)

to hold from buy. Hearst-Argyle lost 1/4 to 21 1/16.

CSFB raised

Infinity Broadcasting

(INF) - Get Report

to strong buy from buy.

Warburg Dillon Read

raised its rating on

Intuit

(INTU) - Get Report

to strong buy from buy. Infinity lifted 5/8 to 35 and Intuit leaped 5 1/16, or 10.8%, to 51 5/8.

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

initiated coverage of management consulting firm

eLoyalty

(ELOY)

with a buy rating and a 50 price target. eLoyalty was off 3/32 to 33 7/8.

DLJ started

I2 Technologies

(ITWO)

and

Broadvision

(BVSN) - Get Report

at market performance. I2 Technology climbed 5 5/16 to 164 1/2.

Warburg also initiated coverage of forestry and wood company

Louisiana-Pacific

(LPX) - Get Report

as a hold. Louisiana-Pacific advanced 11/16, or 5.7%, to 12 3/4.

Banc of America

raised its rating on

Mylan Laboratories

(MYL) - Get Report

to strong buy from buy. Mylan Laboratories gained 3 3/4, or 15.5%, to 27 7/8.

ABN Amro

analyst Daniel Ford upgraded

NiSource

(NI) - Get Report

, an energy/utility-based holding company, to buy from hold and set a 12-month price target of 19 on the shares. NiSource tacked on 1/8 to 13 1/8.

DLJ started coverage of

Omnicare

(OCR)

with a buy rating. Omnicare hopped 1, or 18.4%, to 11 1/16.

SG Cowen cut its 2000 earnings estimates on

Qualcommm

(QCOM) - Get Report

to $1.03 from $1.05. Qualcomm fell 2 3/16 to 130.

DLJ started coverage of

Siebel Systems

(SEBL)

and

Agilent Software

(A) - Get Report

at buy. Siebel Systems bounced 7 5/16, or 5.3%, to 144.

CSFB upped

Teradyne's

(TER) - Get Report

price target to 120 from 95. Teradyne lifted 3 15/16 to 87 7/8.

CSFB raised

Texas Instruments'

(TXN) - Get Report

price target to 200. Texas Instruments added 10 5/16, or 6.3%, to 184.

Miscellany

Borders Group

(BGP)

gained 1 15/16, or 15.1%, to 14 13/16 after it said it hired an advisor to help it explore strategic options, including recapitalization, a buyout or a business combination.

Dominion

(D) - Get Report

rose 1/4 to 36 7/8 after it announced a new corporate structure, integrating

Consolidated Natural Gas

. Dominion and Consolidated completed their merger on Jan. 28. The new company has adopted the name Dominion. Dominion said its streamlining effort "will result in reductions in the company's 17,000-member workforce." Dominion also said it "will utilize attrition, voluntary early retirement, and voluntary and involuntary severance programs to accomplish the reductions."

Global Crossing

(GBLX)

gained 3, or 5.5%, to 57 3/8 after saying it has tapped the head of its Internet business, Leo Hindrey, to replace Bob Annunziata as its CEO. Annunziata will sit on the company's board.

Global Crossing also confirmed its plans to create a tracking stock for its GlobalCenter Web-hosting business, with an IPO set for this summer. Global Crossing CFO Dan Cohrs told Reuters last month that the offering would include less than 20% of GlobalCenter.

The

National Association of Securities Dealers

and the

New York Stock Exchange

discussed merging as a way to remain leaders in the fast-evolving equity markets, the

Wall Street Journal

reported, citing people with knowledge of the talks.

For more on this story, take a look at

TSC's

coverage this afternoon.

In addition, the

Journal's

Heard on the Street column says

Reuters

(RTRSY)

unit

Instinet

and

Datek Online Holdings

recently held serious merger discussions that have since been dropped. Together, New York-based Instinet and Datek's 85%-owned

Island ECN

account for two-thirds of the volume of stocks traded on e-communications network, according to the story. The main reason talks failed to progress further was antitrust concerns, the story said, citing people with knowledge of the negotiations.

In the Inside Wall Street column in

Business Week

, oil refiner and specialty chemical producer

Ashland

(ASH) - Get Report

garnered positive mention. Richard Cohen, an analyst at

Starr Securities

, is quoted in the column as saying Ashland's a "bargain." Cohen figures Ashland is worth 45 a share, according to the column.

Also, the column includes a positive story on

S1

(SONE)

.