Today ended with a serving of mixed berries. The market dined on strawberries and blueberries most of the day, but after finishing those it was left with loganberries, gooseberries and

Fred Berry.

All major indices finished in the black, but as victories go, it's a bit hollow. Leadership in the market remains thin, and market internals were noncommittal again. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

, which at one point was up almost 100 points, gave back most of its gains in the last hour due to trading programs related to options expiration, and finished up 41.32 to 9339.95, a 0.4% gain. Among the leaders were

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

, which closed up 1 1/4, or 2.3% to 54 3/16 and

Union Carbide

(UK)

, which rose 1 1/4 to 40 1/4.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

, decliners led advancers 1,530 to 1,392 on 700 million shares, which doesn't dovetail with the gains shown in the major indices. The ratio on the

Nasdaq Stock Market

was better, as advancers outpaced decliners by a count of 2,121 to 1,865 on 818.9 million shares. Only 25 stocks reached new 52-week highs on the NYSE today, while 82 stocks posted new lows. On the Nasdaq, new lows topped new highs 97 to 23.

"The good news is, you always want to see good financial stocks doing well and starting to show strength," said Gary Kaltbaum, chief technical analyst at

J.W. Genesis Securities

in Boca Raton, Fla. "But the advance/decline line is flat. I don't know how much longer we can have these gains with fewer and fewer names."

Shares of

Merrill Lynch

(MER)

rose 2 7/16 to close at 72 5/16, a 3.5% gain. Merrill was boosted by its announcement that it would purchase

D.E. Shaw's

Internet technology group. The investment bank expects to make online trading available for a limited number of account holders by March. Among other major brokerages,

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

(MWD)

closed up 11/16 at 93 and

PaineWebber

(PWJ)

rose 9/16 to 35 5/16. The

S&P 500

closed up 1.91 to 1239.19.

'The good news is, you always want to see good financial stocks doing well and starting to show strength,' said J.W. Genesis' Gary Kaltbaum. 'But the advance/decline line is flat. I don't know how much longer we can have these gains with fewer and fewer names.'

The market's crop-rotation mentality resulted in some digging in the casino sector. Most of the major gaming names had a banner day as

Merrill Lynch

upgraded

Circus Circus Entertainment

(CIR) - Get Report

, sending it up 1 1/2, or 9.6%, to 17 3/16 on 4.3 million shares.

Harrah's Entertainment

(HET)

improved 1 13/16, or 11%, to 17 13/16 on 2.8 million shares.

Mirage

(MIR)

rose 1 1/8 to 18 3/4;

Starwood Hotels & Resorts

(HOT)

closed at 29 15/16, up 1 1/16, and

MGM Grand

(MGG)

rose 2 11/16 to 36 7/16.

"That group has been so miserable, so lagging and so apparently bottoming that the downside risk has been minimal for better part of a full quarter," said Scott Bleier, chief investment strategist at

Prime Charter

. "People were looking for a group that didn't participate on the upside."

Of the three indices, the

Nasdaq Composite Index

held up better for the balance of the day, finishing up 25.35 to 1931.44 on the day. Major blue-chip tech stocks were higher, including

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

, which has taken a beating at the hands of both the

Justice Department

and the market this month. The software manufacturer finished up 2 to 147 11/16.

Lucent Technologies

(LU)

rose 2 to 103.

Among other tech-focused indices, the large-cap

Nasdaq 100

rose 0.1%, the

Morgan Stanley High-Tech 35

was up 1.6%, the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Computer Box Maker Index

was up 0.5% and the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

gained 1.6%.

Net Stocks Bounce, but Not Ferociously

The major Internet stocks,

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

and

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

got a boost from

CIBC Oppenheimer

analyst (and

TSC

Net Stock Summit participant) Henry Blodgett, who said today that it was time for a look at those two stocks. Amazon rose 12 1/16 to close at 101 13/16, a 13.4% gain.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index, meanwhile, was up 9.80 to 471.20.

TheStreet.com E-Commerce Index

managed a 0.59 gain, closing at 94.60.

"The bounce in Internet stocks wasn't as ferocious as we've seen in the past," Bleier said. "They're up 3 and 5 and 6 points, but that's comparatively far less than what we would have seen a month ago."

Two new Internet companies that just priced initial public offerings performed well, obviously.

Vignette

(VIGN:Nasdaq) rocketed 23 5/8, or 124.3%, to 42 11/16 and

Webtrends

(WEBT:Nasdaq) soared 14, or 107.6%, 27 1/16.

The 30-year Treasury lost 4/32 to 98 1/32, yielding 5.38%. Equities have maintained last quarter's massive gains through a system of churning and relaxing, but for the market to push higher, it's going to have to be in the face of higher interest rates.

"Rates have not reached punishing levels, but given the trade numbers and the composition of economic numbers we're now talking a potential 6-handle on GDP in the next quarter," said Jim Bianco, president of

Bianco Research

. Even though the economic data haven't revealed a rise in inflation, the bond market is still reacting badly to the continued growth in the economy.

Among other indices, the

Dow Jones Transportation Average

gained 10.64 to 3134.51, the

Dow Jones Utility Average

added 0.33 to 295.58 and the

American Stock Exchange Composite Index

advanced 2.75 to 692.57.

For the week, the Dow industrials rose 65.06, or 0.7%; the S&P 500 rose 9.06, or 0.7%; the Nasdaq Comp lost 38.44, or 1.7%; the Russell 2000 lost 6.14, or 1.5%; the TSC Internet index lost 11.98, or 2.5%; the TSC E-Commerce index lost 5.56, or 5.6%; the Dow transports rose 37.62, or 1.2%; the Dow utilities rose 9.14, or 3.2%; and the Amex Composite lost 3.55, or 0.5%

Elsewhere in North American equities today, the

Toronto Stock Exchange 300

bounced 45.47, or 0.7%, to 6409.54 and the

Mexican Stock Exchange IPC Index

rallied 87.47, or 2.1%, to 4200.12. For the week, the TSE 300 slipped 24.15, or 0.4%, and the IPC gained 98.94, or 2.4%.

Friday's Company Report

By Heather Moore
Staff Reporter

(

Earnings estimates from First Call; new highs and lows on a closing basis unless otherwise specified. Earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified.

)

Telecom Italia

(TI)

shot up 6 3/8, or 6.4%, to an all-time high of 106 7/16 after

The Wall Street Journal Europe

said Italy's

Olivetti

is preparing to make a $58 billion bid to acquire its larger telecommunications rival. Olivetti has proposed selling stakes in two Italian telecom operators to Germany's

Mannesmann

for $10 billion, a move that might be required to buy Telecom Italia.

TheStreet.com

wrote about the bid this afternoon in a

report from Milan by new

TSC

columnist but longtime journalist

Luca Ciarrocca

.

Elsewhere in takeover talk,

Sunstrand

(SNS)

popped up 6 3/8, or 12.4%, to 58 amid rumors the aerospace and industrial components maker will be taken out. But the real action was the implied volatility in the options market, as

noted today by

TSC

options reporter

Dan Colarusso

.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

America West

(AWA)

flew 2 3/4, or 13.8%, to 22 3/4 after

The Wall Street Journal

reported that

UAL

(UAL) - Get Report

made a conditional cash offer for the company. The move could trigger a bidding war between UAL, parent of

United Airlines

, and

Continental Airlines

(CAIA)

, the newspaper said. UAL added 1/4 to 59 1/2; Continental slipped 3/16 to 35 1/8.

San Diego-based

Bank of Commerce

(BCOM) - Get Report

took in 1 1/2, or 8.8%, to 18 5/8 after

U.S. Bancorp

(USB) - Get Report

agreed to acquire the company in a stock swap in which Bank of Commerce holders will get 0.6 of a U.S. Bancorp share. U.S. Bancorp rose 1/16 to 33.

Brio Technology

(BRYO)

surged 2 3/8, or 13.7%, to 20 1/4 on news

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

agreed to resell the company's product line worldwide. Terms of the deal were undisclosed. IBM lowered 2 5/8 to 171 5/8.

Newport News Shipbuilding

(NNS)

advanced 3 1/2, or 12.3%, to 31 15/16 following last night's news that the company got an unsolicited $2 billion bid from

General Dynamics

(GD) - Get Report

. Newport said it remained committed to a separate planned merger worth $470 million with

Avondale Industries

(AVDL) - Get Report

and that it would consider General Dynamics' offer. GD added 5/16 to 60 3/8.

Polaroid

(PRD)

excelled 3 1/4, or 17.1%, to 22 1/4 after the

oft-off-the-mark Inside Wall Street column in

Business Week

reported whispers that a giant consumer-products company is interested in either a merger with or a buyout of Polaroid.

SkyMall

(SKYM)

vaulted 3 1/4, or 28.3%, to 14 3/4 on an agreement whereby

Northwest Airlines

(NWAC)

will link to SkyMall on its Web site. Northwest lifted 7/16 to 24 1/4.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

Boron LePore

(BLPG)

skidded 1 3/8, or 11.3%, to an all-time low of 10 7/8 after warning it sees first-quarter results of 9 cents to 11 cents a share due to uncertainty about the magnitude and timing of revenue from new and existing clients. The four-analyst outlook called for 16 cents vs. the year-ago 17 cents.

Ciena

(CIEN) - Get Report

hopped 1 9/16, or 7.5%, to 22 7/16 after last night topping first-quarter earnings estimates by 3 cents a share with a profit of 2 cents. In the year-ago period, the company earned 37 cents.

ResMed

(RESM)

grew 3 1/2, or 11.7%, to 33 1/2 after saying it's comfortable with analysts' estimates for the rest of 1999. The five-analyst forecast called for 26 cents a share in the third quarter, 27 cents in the fourth quarter and 99 cents for the full year.

Warburg Dillon Read

raised the stock to strong buy from buy.

Sepracor

(SEPR)

tumbled 21, or 15.3%, to 116 after posting a fourth-quarter loss of $1.10 a share, a penny narrower than the 11-analyst estimate but worse than the year-ago loss of 51 cents.

Texas Utilities

(TXU)

slid 3/8 to 43 5/8 after posting fourth-quarter earnings of 71 cents a share, in line with the 10-analyst outlook and above the year-ago 39 cents.

Wackenhut Corrections

(WHC)

picked up 1 3/8, or 7.4%, to 20 after restating fourth-quarter revenue to $88.7 million from $87.8 million because of an understatement of prison-use revenue and expenses. The company also set a buyback of up to 500,000 shares.

Offerings and stock actions

Celestica

(CLS) - Get Report

dropped 2 1/16, or 6.9%, to 28 after last night saying it will sell 8 million shares at C$42.60 a share.

Newly issued

Mannatech

(MTEX) - Get Report

continued its slide from yesterday, tumbling 5 7/8, or 28.5%, to 14 5/8. Apparently, the Texas developer and distributor of nutritional supplements was thought to be a technology company because of its name. When investors found out it wasn't, they fled.

Faring much more poorly than its new-issue counterparts WebTrends and Vignette,

Pinnacle Holdings

(BIGT)

brought in a measly 1/16 to 14 1/16 after

BT Alex. Brown

priced its 20 million-share IPO low-range last night. Pinnacle is a wireless communications rental tower space provider.

Analyst actions

Allaire

(ALLR)

shed 2 7/8, or 5.5%, to 49 3/4 even after

Credit Suisse First Boston

initiated coverage with a buy.

Applied Power

(APW)

sank 3 9/16, or 12%, to 26 1/4 after an analyst at

Cleary Gull Reiland & McDevitt

said the company's second-quarter earnings "will be tight."

Arrow Electronics

(ARW) - Get Report

jumped 1 1/8, or 7.5%, to 16 3/16 after

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

upgraded it to outperform from neutral.

As noted above, Circus Circus took in 1 1/2, or 9.6%, to 17 3/16 after Merrill Lynch upped it to near-term accumulate from neutral and to long-term buy from accumulate.

Dean Foods

(DF) - Get Report

slipped 1 7/16 to an annual low of 34 after

NationsBanc Montgomery Securities

lowered it to hold from buy. Yesterday, the company said it sees third-quarter earnings falling below expectations.

National Instruments

(NATI) - Get Report

expanded 2 3/16, or 8.1%, to 29 1/8 after Credit Suisse First Boston started coverage with a buy and a price target of 36 a share.

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

gave up 2 13/16 to 128 5/16 after Merrill Lynch downgraded it to near-term accumulate from buy.

Sunrise Assisted Living

(SNRZ)

climbed 1 5/16 to 39 7/16 after

BancBoston Robertson Stephens

resumed coverage of the assisted living industry.

CareMatrix

(CMD) - Get Report

shot up 2 15/16, or 17.2%, to 20 1/16 and

Alternative Living Services

(ALI)

shot up 1 15/16, or 9.2%, to 23 1/16.

Texas Instruments

(TXN) - Get Report

added 15/16 to 93 after

Goldman Sachs

began coverage with a market outperform.

Waste Industries

(WWIN)

tanked 1 7/8, or 11.9%, to an annual low of 13 15/16 after

BT Alex. Brown

lowered it to market perform from buy. Yesterday, the company warned its fourth-quarter earnings will be about 4 cents a share short of expectations.

Miscellany

Coca-Cola

(KO) - Get Report

advanced 1 1/8 to 65 3/4 after announcing plans to launch its first bottled water brand,

Dasani

, in North America during the first half of this year.

JB Oxford Holdings

(JBOH)

scored 1 11/32, or 20.3%, to 8 after launching a private-label version of

PC Quote's

(PQT)

real-time quotation system. PC Quote rose 1/2, or 12.5%, to 4 1/2.