The Night Watch: Honeywell Soars, United Technologies Falls After Merger Reports

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(Updated from 7:49 p.m. EDT)

A late-breaking news report that

Dow Jones Industrial Average components

Honeywell

(HON) - Get Report

and

United Technologies

are in merger talks spiked after-hours interest in both stocks.

After the bell,

CNBC

reported that United Technologies was near a deal to buy Honeywell for about $40 billion. The companies confirmed that they are in talks about a possible combination. (

TheStreet.com

discussed the proposed merger in a separate

article.)

In recent action, shares of Honeywell climbed $6.19, or 17.3%, to $41.88 on

Instinet

, while United Technologies dropped $7.63, or 11.2%, to $60.38 on Instinet.

Triple-digit gains in the major indices today got investors' juices flowing -- the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 167.9 to 10142 and the

Nasdaq Composite Index finished ahead 247.1 to 3418.6. Tonight, the after-hours crowd checked out the specs on companies in the earnings spotlight.

Even if the price of your Great Aunt's Afghan isn't being bid up on

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

, the online auctioneer's stock price is rising. Good results from eBay sent its shares up $9.56, or 16.72%, to $66.75 on

Island

ECN and higher $9.19, or 16.1%, to $66.38 on Instinet. After the bell, eBay announced earnings of 7 cents a share, topping the 4-cent

First Call/Thomson Financial

consensus and the year-ago 1-cent result. Revenue rose to $113.4 million from $58.5 million in the year-ago period.

By contrast, shares of

Exodus Communications

(EXDS)

decreased $1.31, or 3.45%, to $36.75 on Island and fell $2.55, or 6.7%, to $35.52 on Instinet, even though the company reported a narrower-than-expected third-quarter loss. The Web-hosting firm reported a negative 14-cent result. That loss wasn't as wide as the 18-cent loss expected by Wall Street.

Business-to-business play

Commerce One

(CMRC)

jumped $6.38, or 9.98%, to $70.25 on Island and popped $5.75, or 9%, to $69.63 on Instinet, on the heels of a strong review. After the bell, Commerce One posted a 9-cent loss, narrower than the 12-cent analyst forecast though wider than the year-ago 7-cent result.

Atmel

(ATML)

shares advanced 64 cents, or 4.44%, to $15.06 on Island and increased $1.08, or 7.5%, to $15.50 on Instinet, after posting results tonight. The semiconductor company announced earnings of 17-cents a share, beating the Wall Street forecast by a penny and improving upon the year-ago 4-cent result.

Some investors may best remember

Emulex

(EMLX)

as the victim of a hoax press release this summer, but tonight Wall Street is focused on the data equipment manufacturer's strong earnings report. In post-close activity, Emulex listed earnings of 33 cents a share, besting the 26-cent analyst estimate and the year-ago 18-cent result. Shares of Emulex gained $12.50, or 8.4%, to $160.50 on Instinet.

SDL

(SDLI)

, which is soon to be acquired by

JDS Uniphase

(JDSU)

, also got a boost in the after-hours market.

Excluding merger and other one-time costs, the optical communications company recorded a 45-cent profit, ahead of the 38-cent Wall Street target and the year-ago 11-cent earnings per share. SDL rose $15.81, or 5.47%, to $304.94 on Island and moved up $15.05, or 5.2%, to $304.17 on Instinet. Shares of JDS Uniphase ascended in tandem with SDL's. They advanced $3.06, or 3.4%, to $93 on both Island and Instinet.

Wondering how the market will open tomorrow? At last look, the

S&P 500 futures on

Globex

were up .4 to 1401.5, about a point above

fair value as calculated by

Prudential Securities

, and indicating a small amount of positive sentiment for tomorrow's open. The thinly traded

Nasdaq 100

futures were ahead 5 to 3450, about 12 points above fair value as calculated by

TheStreet.com

, and showing some upward pressure for the Nasdaq's start on Friday.

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.