Today, the quarterly earnings jamboree kicked off with Motorola (MOT) announcing better-than-expected results and Biogen (BGEN) not quite up to analysts' expectations.

For Motorola, the quarterly results were a bit better than had been touted. The company announced earnings for the first quarter of 59 cents per share, a penny better than the 29-analyst estimate of 58 cents and sharply higher than last year's 28 cents. The company also announced that semiconductor unit sales had risen 24% and orders were up 21%.



posted first-quarter operating earnings of 41 cents a share, excluding a 36-cent gain. That's way up from last year's first-quarter results of 29 cents but missing the 23-analyst estimate of 43 cents.

One sign that traders are nervous has been the performance of

Global Crossing


shares ahead of their secondary stock offering. This secondary, which was priced tonight at $33 a share, was originally slated to be a pig of a deal, 58 million shares; but that amount was reduced tonight to 43 million shares. What especially fueled the market's concern was that only half of the shares are being offered by the company itself; the rest are being sold off by company insiders, a bailout ratio that in the past has often meant trouble for the stock. With the shares off 28.5% since the filing of the secondary on March 20, the first round of voting is already in.

In other postclose news (

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


(STMP) - Get Report

announced it lost 66 cents a share during the first quarter, better than the four-analyst estimate of a loss of 69 cents and the year-ago loss of $1.13.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures




announced today that they have entered into a marketing alliance so consumers can find the lowest airfares available and bid for them in online auctions.

Getting to know you, getting to know more about you ...

Contact-lens maker

Wesley Jessen VisionCare


agreed to hold exploratory talks with hostile bidder

Bausch & Lomb


, while formally rejecting Bausch & Lomb's $34-a-share offer.


reported that the move toward talks could threaten Wesley Jessen's announced acquisition of

Ocular Sciences

(OCLR) - Get Report


Offerings and stock actions

ASM Lithography

(ASML) - Get Report

will split 3 for 1, according to

J.P. Morgan


Goldman Sachs

priced a 9.1 million-share IPO for biotech company


(EXEL) - Get Report

at $13 a share, above the expected range of $10 to $12.

Chase H&Q

priced a 3 million-share IPO for

Nova Measuring Instruments

(NVMI) - Get Report

at $18 a share, at the low end of the expected $18-to-$20 range.



American Stock Exchange

said Monday its board approved a pilot program to trade a small group of options on an entirely electronic platform.

Pressured by the impending launch of the electronic

International Securities Exchange

, all four existing options exchanges are working on broadening their electronic execution capabilities. This move by the Amex is along those lines.

An Amex spokeswoman did not release the group of options that will be traded under the plan or many other details. The Amex did say in a statement that the program will mark "the first time a domestic options exchange will automatically match customer orders."

The exchange said it will trade on April 14 a group of options on what it calls an "enhanced electronic basis," which it said will "augment" its "current automatic execution capability by electronically matching customer limit orders with incoming market and limit orders."


Brian Louis

Assistant Managing Editor

John J. Edwards III contributed to this story.