A few evening tidbits:

The Semiconductor Industry Association released its December book-to-bill ratio. The closely watched indication of how computer chips are selling came in at 1.10, modestly below expectations. Semiconductor stocks traded mostly lower on Thursday.

Motorola

(MOT:NYSE) reported fourth-quarter earnings at 39 cents per share. That was two cents shy of First Call's estimate and five cents shy of the street's "whisper" figure. Still the late release didn't deter late-staying traders who reported that Motorola's share price was unchanged after hours.

Ford Motor

(F:NYSE) said it will consider a partial sale of

Hertz

, the rental agency. We try harder.

Echo Star Communications

(DISH:Nasdaq) completed a merger with privately-held Direct Broadcast Satellite A. Couch Potatoes rejoice!

And former

Disney

hotshot Michael Ovitz received $38.9 million in compensation and 3 million shares in Disney (DIS:NYSE) according to documents filed with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

.

Keep an eye on the following stocks, all presenting at Morgan Stanley's Phoenix technology conference Friday:

Ortel

(ORTL:Nasdaq)

Macromedia

(MACR:Nasdaq)

Aspect Telecommunications

(ASPT:Nasdaq)

Computer Associates

(CA:NYSE) (Remember them?)

ADC Telecommunications

(ADCT:Nasdaq)

Bottoms up.

Compiled in part from Press Release wires, websites and other wire reports.

By Andrew Morse

amorse@thestreet.com