Wall Street stared into the breach this morning after Brazil's devaluation roiled global markets. But instead of running for the shelter of Treasuries (or even mother's little helper), investors dove smack-dab into the void. The result was one of the most remarkable single-day turnarounds in recent market history, although major proxies all ended with losses.

The U.S. bond market did benefit from the overseas unrest, as did the dollar. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond rose 1 10/32 to 101 22/32, its yield falling to 5.14%.

The

Nasdaq Composite Index

stumbled as low as 2206.19 in the opening minutes of trading before embarking on a stunning reversal that took it as high as 2353.87. The forward momentum stalled in the latter part of the day, which ended with the index off 3.94, or 0.2%, to 2316.81.

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

was at the forefront of the Nasdaq's about-face, rising 2.5% after posting strong earnings yesterday; the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

jumped 3.9%.

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

and

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

also closed with gains after suffering early declines, although neither was able to sustain intraday highs. The

Nasdaq 100

closed up 0.5%.

Volatility's progeny, Internet stocks, were also featured in this most volatile of sessions.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index closed off 35.73, or 6.6%, to 506.34, but well above its intraday low of 457.20.

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

again embodied the sector's action, tumbling as low as 332, rebounding as high as 406, before closing off 8% at 368.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

hit its nadir of 9213.10 in the initial phase of trading, once all 30 of its components were open. But the blue-chip proxy mounted a smart snapback of its own, climbing as high as 9437.09 before the rally stalled. The index closed off 125.12, or 1.3%, to 9349.56.

The

S&P 500

closed off 5.11, or 0.4%, to 1234.50 after trading as low as 1205.46. The

Russell 2000

closed down 2.50, or 0.6%, to 424.86 but well off its intraday worst of 412.64.

At day's end there was some debate among traders as to which was more significant: The fact major indices rebounded from morning lows or the fact they were unable to sustain afternoon highs.

Randy Billhardt, co-head of block trading at

PaineWebber

, said it was clearly the former.

"I don't think it's a big deal people sold into some strength because the rally was so sharp and convincing," Billhardt said, partially attributing the comeback to soothing comments from

Treasury

Secretary

Robert Rubin

and Brazil's finance minister. "It's more encouraging we found a level we were able to bounce off of and the end of the world was not upon us."

The trader was most impressed by the action in technology stocks. "Clearly, the tech stocks continue to rule," he said. "The fact the Nasdaq was down over 115 and rallied back is just a tremendous testament to the strength of this market."

Billhardt noted there were 34 million shares of

America Online

(AOL)

priced to trade at 134 before the open "and that was not the low of the day. Clearly there was some panic going in." AOL fell as low as 130, then rose as high as 151 15/16 intraday before closing off 5% at 146.

In

New York Stock Exchange

trading 934.2 million shares were exchanged while declining stocks swamped advancers 2,091 to 1,021. In

Nasdaq Stock Market

action 1.201 billion shares traded -- the eighth-busiest day in Nasdaq history and a record sixth consecutive session with more than a billion shares exchanged -- while losers led 2,509 to 1,628. New 52-week lows bested new highs 20 to 73 on the Big Board but new highs led 69 to 50 in over-the-counter trading.

Brazil Blinks; Investors Unbowed

Financial stocks overall were waylaid by the developments in Brazil and

J.P. Morgan

(JPM) - Get Report

was the biggest negative drag on the Dow, followed by

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

and

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

.

Brazil's central bank removed the so-called mini-band on its currency, the real, essentially devaluing the currency by about 9% vs. the dollar. The

Bovespa

closed down 5.1% after initially falling 10% on the news.

The prospect of Brazilian devaluation has been the great fear of many market players, the proverbial "other shoe" in the market's closet. But as is often the case when something is so widely expected, its impact is muted.

"We knew they were going to devalue and we thought it would be a short-lived problem," said Courtney Smith, chief investment officer at

Orbitex Management

. "We just didn't know if it would be eight hours or eight days. Once they devalued, the pressure is off."

More than the devaluation, Smith took exception to a recent bank transaction tax enacted in Brazil as part of the

International Monetary Fund's

austerity program. "Raising taxes in a recession is not the right thing to do," he said. "There's no question the balance between

government spending and taxes has to get in line, but you cut spending. That lays off 100,000 people instead of killing 40 million."

As for the U.S. market, Smith described it as "pretty impressive" but said "I'm glad we had today because I could argue the bear case on sentiment."

Investors' Intelligence

reported 60% of newsletter writers are bullish this week, up from 58.3% last week and the highest reading since January 1992, according to

CNBC

.

Still, Smith does not share the concern of some that today's action will only further cement the 'buy on the dip' mentality in the minds of retail investors.

"At some point this will be the wrong strategy but it's nonsensical to say when," he said. "Once you set a time, you're held accountable."

Without specifying, the bullish investment chief doesn't think the strategy will prove wrong anytime soon, "unless we get into a deflationary depression a la the 1930s -- a total liquidity trap -- with the Japan model in the U.S. and Europe. Excluding that, the current inflationary situation is almost ideal for financial assets."

Today, Smith sold long positions in Citigroup,

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

,

MCI WorldCom

(MCIC)

, and Microsoft, while adding positions in

Texas Instruments

(TXN) - Get Report

, Sun Microsystems, Intel and

American Home Products

(AHP)

. The hedge fund entered the session with short positions against

Newmont Mining

(NEM) - Get Report

and

Schlumberger

(SLB) - Get Report

.

Among other indices, the

Dow Jones Transportation Average

slid 37.27, or 1.2%, to 3169.42; the

Dow Jones Utility Average

dipped 0.51, or 0.2%, to 308.07; and the

American Stock Exchange Composite Index

lost 0.26, or 0.04%, to 699.39.

Elsewhere in North American equities, the

Toronto Stock Exchange 300

dropped 68.78, or 1%, to 6632.05 and the

Mexican Stock Exchange IPC Index

plunged 159.22, or 4.6%, to 3300.42.

Wednesday'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.

)

Intel took in 3 3/8 to 139 after

last night posting fourth-quarter earnings of $1.19 a share, 12 cents higher than the 31-analyst consensus and above the year-ago 98 cents. The company said it sees its first-quarter gross margin falling slightly below the fourth quarter's 58% because of seasonal factors.

J.P. Morgan

upped the chip maker to buy from market perform and

Credit Suisse First Boston

lifted the stock's price target to 180 a share. Elsewhere in tech,

Seagate

(SEG)

hopped 2 11/16, or 6.9%, to an annual high of 41 5/8 after it reported last night second-quarter earnings of 42 cents a share, well in excess of the 11-analyst forecast of 26 cents and the year-ago loss of 8 cents.

After traveling all over the place today, as noted above, Yahoo! settled down 32 1/2, or 8.1%, to 368. Late yesterday, the Internet portal reported fourth-quarter earnings of 21 cents a share, topping the 24-analyst forecast of 16 cents and the year-ago 2 cents. The company also announced a 2-for-1 stock split.

BT Alex. Brown

cut it to buy from strong buy, and

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

upped its six-to-12-month price target to 500 a share (presumably on a pre-split basis). Elsewhere in Netland,

Broadcast.com

(BCST)

gave up 53 3/4, or 24.2%, to 170 and

Cyberian Outpost

(COOL)

tumbled 5 15/16, or 15.3%, to 33 1/4.

JetFax

(JTFX)

, meanwhile, climbed 3/8, or 8.5%, to 4 15/16 on plans to introduce its next Internet service Feb. 8.

For the most part, Brazilian ADRs (understandably) failed to soften losses as large-cap U.S. tech stocks did.

Telebras

(TBH)

fell 5 11/16, or 9.1%, to 56 5/8;

Brahma

(BRH)

fell 1/2, or 5.9%, to 8;

Embratel

(EMT)

fell 2 9/16, or 19.6%, to an all-time low of 10 1/2;

Telesp Participacoes

(TSP)

fell 1 7/16, or 8.2%, to 16 1/8; and

Unibanco

(UBB)

fell 1 1/16, or 8.6%, to 11 1/4.

In sympathy,

Telefonica del Peru

(TDP)

sliced off 1 7/16, or 11.5%, to 11 1/16 and Argentina's

Banco Rio de la Plata

(BRS) - Get Report

sliced off 1 11/16, or 16.5%, to 8 9/16.

Also unable to recover from Brazilian economic worries were big banks and brokerage house: Citigroup dropped 3 9/16, or 6.4%, to 52 3/16; J.P. Morgan dropped 5 1/4 to 106 9/16; and

Chase

(CMB)

dropped 2 1/4 to 71 5/8.

Merrill Lynch

(MER)

let go of 3 9/16 to 69 7/16 after

Brown Brothers Harriman

slashed it to short-term neutral from buy.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Ascend

(ASND) - Get Report

jumped 5 7/16, or 7.3%, to an all-time high of 80 5/16 after agreeing to a $20 billion stock buyout offer from

Lucent

(LU)

. Lucent lost 3 5/8 to 104 1/4.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

upped its rating on Lucent to strong buy from outperform.

TheStreet.com

wrote this week about what a Lucent-Ascend get-together might mean for

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

. Cisco slipped 2 1/4 to 95 7/8.

Boston Celtics

(BOS) - Get Report

rose 2 1/2, or 17.9%, to a post-offering high of 16 1/2 after

Castle Creek Partners

launched a $17-a-share cash tender offer for 16% of the company.

Ciena

(CIEN) - Get Report

popped 2 3/4, or 18.8%, to 17 3/8 on takeover rumors, and SunMicrosystems grew 3 7/16 to an all-time high of 96 13/16 on talk of a link-up with

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

. Big Blue picked up 7/16 to 185 1/2.

ViaGrafix

(VIAX)

shot up 4 1/16, or 73%, to 9 3/4 after announcing it will market its computer training products through America Online. Separately, AOL and

Bell Atlantic

(BEL)

announced a deal to offer high-speed Internet access over Bell phone lines. Bell rung up 1 3/16 to 54 15/16.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

Fourth-quarter net income dropped dramatically for offshore driller

Rowan

(RDC)

, pushing the stock down 1/2 to 10 7/16. The first of the offshore drilling group to report, Rowan fell short of the estimate, posting net income of $4.8 million, or 6 cents a share, on revenue of $134.7 million. That's 3 cents shy of the 22-analyst consensus and well below the net income of $47.8 million, or 53 cents a share, it generated in the year-ago quarter on revenue of $190.2 million.

For the year, Rowan reported net income of $124.5 million, or $1.43 a share, on revenue of $706.4 million. In 1997, Rowan's net income was $146.7 million, or $1.65 a share, on revenue of $695.3 million.

Reflecting the severity of the downturn in the shallow water drilling market, Rowan's utilization for its jackup rig fleet, one of the largest in the Gulf of Mexico, was 59%, down from 100% in the year-ago quarter.

Continued earnings estimate cuts can't seem to keep up with the pace of falling revenue in the sector. One of the latest estimate cuts came from

Salomon Smith Barney

just this week. Analyst Mark Urness cut his 1999 estimate for Rowan to 65 cents from $1. But without a marked improvement in the industry next year, Rowan stands a good chance to earn only 24 cents in 1999, less than half of Urness' latest estimate and far below the current consensus estimate of 78 cents.

--

Mavis Scanlon

Acclaim Entertainment

(AKLM)

shed 1 13/16, or 14.7%, to 10 1/2 after posting first-quarter earnings of 16 cents a share, a penny ahead of the five-analyst call for a repeat of the year-ago 15 cents.

Aetrium

(ATRM)

skidded 1 3/4, or 14.4%, to 10 3/8 after warning it sees a fourth-quarter loss of 21 cents a share after establishing a $1 million reserve to cover past-due bills. The five-analyst estimate called for a loss of 14 cents.

Anicom

(ANIC)

gave up 1 1/4, or 13.5%, to 8 after warning its fourth-quarter earnings would be 8 cents to 10 cents a share. The nine-analyst view was for profits of 13 cents.

Beyond.com

(BYND) - Get Report

plunged 6 1/4, or 17%, to 30 9/16 after it announced a fourth-quarter loss of 53 cents a share, wider than the five-analyst forecast of a loss of 47 cents and the year-ago loss of 11 cents.

Linear Technology

(LLTC)

vaulted 12 3/16, or 13.9%, to an all-time high of 99 13/16 after it reported second-quarter earnings of 59 cents a share, 2 cents above the 17-analyst outlook and above the year-ago 55 cents. The company also set a 2-for-1 stock split. In sympathy,

Maxim Integrated Products

(MXIM) - Get Report

lifted 6 7/8, or 15.4%, to an all-time high of 51 1/2.

Qlogic

(QLGC)

gained 8 7/8, or 6.2%, to an all-time high of 151 1/4 after its CEO made bullish comments about the company's third-quarter earnings potential. The six-analyst forecast calls for 35 cents a share, after a proposed 2-for-1 stock split, vs. the year-ago 43 cents.

Strattec

(STRT) - Get Report

brought in 1 3/4, or 6.2%, to 29 7/8 after last night reporting second-quarter earnings of 81 cents a share, 11 cents higher than the two-analyst view and above the year-ago 59 cents.

Offerings and stock actions

Walgreen

(WAG)

expanded 3 3/16, or 5.9%, to 57 11/16 after setting a 2-for-1 stock split.

Analyst actions

American Xtal Technology

(AXTI) - Get Report

surged 4 1/16, or 33.5%, to 16 3/8 after

Prudential Securities

raised it to strong buy from accumulate and set a 12-month price target of 20 a share.

@Home

(ATHM) - Get Report

accepted 6, or 6%, to 105 3/4 after Prudential pushed it up to strong buy from buy.

Avon Products

(AVP) - Get Report

slid 2 1/16, or 5%, to 39 7/16 after DLJ downgraded it to market perform from buy.

Colgate-Palmolive

(CL) - Get Report

lowered 6 1/8, or 7.3%, to 78 3/8 after DLJ cut it to market perform from buy.

SanDisk

(SNDK)

brought in 3 9/16, or 21.8%, to 20 after

Wheat First Union

lifted it to outperform from hold based on strong Christmas sales.

Uniphase

(UNPH)

excelled 5 3/8, or 8.6%, to 68 1/8 after

SoundView Technology

upped it to strong buy from buy.

Miscellany

Advanced Health

(ADVH)

shot up 1 5/8, or 81.3%, to 3 11/16 after the healthcare information concern said it will focus on electronic commerce between physicians and hospitals and change its name to

AHT

.

Eli Lilly

(LLY) - Get Report

rose 4 3/16, or 5.5%, to 80 11/16 after saying a federal court limited the number of issues in a patent lawsuit between it and

Barr Laboratories

(BRL)

over Lilly's

Prozac

antidepressant. Barr tumbled 4 5/16, or 9.3%, to 42 1/4.

Gucci

(GUC)

shaved off 1/16 to 70 after saying last night it was not consulted when

LVMH Moet-Hennessy Louis Vuitton

(LVMHY)

bought

Prada's

9.5% stake in Gucci. Louis Vuitton slid 1 7/8 to 45 3/8.

KeraVision

(KERA)

advanced 3 1/16, or 23.7%, to an annual high of 16 1/16 after a

Food and Drug Administration

panel recommended approval for the company to sell its nearsightedness product,

Intacs

.

Wendy's International

(WEN) - Get Report

picked up 1 3/16, or 5.4%, to 23 3/16 thanks to a bullish Heard on the Street article in

The Wall Street Journal

.