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The Night Watch: After-Hours Gang Sending J.P. Morgan Shares Higher

Also, some of today's tech laggards have started to recoup their day-session losses.
Author:

( Updated from 7:29 p.m. EDT)

Consolidation in the financial arena has set tonight's extended trading session abuzz.

Minutes before the closing bell, the

NYTimes.com

reported that

Chase Manhattan

(CMB)

is in serious talks to buy

J.P. Morgan

(JPM) - Get Report

.

Details of the merger were not immediately available, but the Web site said that an announcement could come as soon as Wednesday. (

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com

covered the

breaking news and

analyzed the implications of a merger in separate stories.)

Takeover speculation on J.P. Morgan has sent the investment bank's stock rocking in recent weeks. The stock closed today's session higher by $10, or 5.9%, to $179.31. In composite trading, shares of J.P. Morgan traded up to $185.44.

On

Instinet

, J.P. Morgan was lately trading at $185.50, with a whopping 668,424 shares changing hands. Meantime, Chase Manhattan was trading off its $56.06 close to $52.56.

The merger news has spread to other financial names. Shares of

Lehman Brothers

(LEH)

-- which is also considered merger bait -- were in motion. On Instinet, Lehman was trading down $2.25, or 1.4%, to $158.88, with volume of 35,900.

Merrill Lynch

(MER)

was trading up $1.69, or 2.4%, to $71.50, with volume of 700 shares on Instinet.

Today's merger news comes on the heels of

Credit Suisse First Boston's

announcement that it will buy

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

(DLJ)

and

UBS Warburg's

TST Recommends

(UBS) - Get Report

proposal to purchase

PaineWebber

(PWJ)

.

In other action, after-hours warriors have picked up beaten down technology stocks and taken them, for the most part, a touch higher.

Shares of large-cap tech stocks

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

,

JDS Uniphase

(JDSU)

and

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Report

-- which closed the session down -- were all trading slightly higher in recent action.

Tonight's biggest mover on Instinet was

Watson Pharmaceuticals

(WPI)

, which dove $15.125, or 23.6% lower, to $49 in recent trading.

After the closing bell, the pharmaceutical company announced that it expects to report sharply lower third-quarter earnings due to higher costs and reduced product sales resulting from its acquisition of

Schein Pharmaceutical

.

Watson expects third-quarter earnings of between 12 and 14 cents a share. The current 10-analyst estimate calls for the company to come in at 48 cents a share.

For

Savvis Communications

(SVVS)

, tonight's busy session brought nothing but smiles. Shares of Savvis, which provides data networking services to businesses, gained $3.31, or 35.1%, to $12.75 on Instinet.

After the closing bell, Savvis announced that it will build its own fiber-optic communications network that will replace the lines it leases from other service providers. According to the company, the move will cut costs and allow Savvis to better control its growth and provide new services to customers.

Savvis closed the regular session up 19 cents to $9.44.

This information is provided by Instinet, a wholly owned subsidiary of Reuters (RTRSY) . For further information, please contact Instinet at www.instinet.com.

Island ECN, owned by Datek Online, offers trading, mainly in Nasdaq-listed stocks, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. EDT.

Confused?

TheStreet.com

explains how the rules change when the sun goes down in Investing Basics: Night Owl, a section devoted to after-hours trading.