After Quarterly Reports, Lycos Leaps and Dell Drops

Lycos has strengthened on an upgrade from Merrill Lynch, while Dell has failed to meet investors' great expectations.
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SAN FRANCISCO -- After celebrating its solid third-quarter results reported last night, there's no hangover at Lycos (LCOS) today. Dell (DELL) - Get Report, on the other hand, must have a headache, since many investors have booted shares of the company after it reported first-quarter earnings that only matched estimates.

Just a week after it cheered Wall Street with news that its deal with

USA Networks

(USAI) - Get Report

was dead, Lycos reported results that bested expectations by a penny and announced a 2-for-1 stock split effective in late July. More good news for the company arrived this morning, with

Merrill Lynch's

Henry Blodget upping his long-term rating on the stock to buy from accumulate.

Blodget increased his revenue estimates for Lycos and placed a 12- to 18-month price target of 170 on the stock. He maintained his intermediate-term rating of accumulate on the stock "because of the high volatility and valuations of the Internet stocks in general, as well as the approach of a seasonally slow period for advertising and Internet traffic." Lycos was up 7 5/16, or 6%, at 120 1/4 in early trading.

As Lycos goes, so goes its largest investor,

CMGI

(CMGI)

. CMGI was up 3 13/16, or 2%, at 243 1/4.

The day-after earnings picture was not as positive for Dell. Investors are still accustomed to Dell outpacing Wall Street expectations, and Tuesday's in-line earnings of 16 cents a share were not enough to keep sellers away today. The stock was down 3 3/4, or 9%, at 40 5/16.

Warburg Dillon Read

analyst Charlie White was in the spotlight today after he downgraded Dell to hold from buy. In a research note released this morning, White said that "against the headwind of a 60

price-to-earnings multiple

and in the face of an inevitable decline in Dell's growth rate into the 30s," the stock is "unlikely to outperform the market in the near term."

A solid second-quarter earnings

report was helping

Applied Materials

(AMAT) - Get Report

this morning. After beating estimates by 9 cents, the semiconductor-equipment leader was trading up 2 3/8, or 4%, at 65 1/2.

The earnings news also was positive at

BEA Systems

(BEAS)

, which makes software that connects older computer systems with newer ones. Shares of the company were up 2, or 11%, at 20 3/8 after it reported first-quarter earnings of 5 cents a share, 3 cents better than the consensus estimate.

Software maker

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

was trading higher after

Lehman Brothers

upped its rating on the stock to buy from neutral. SAP was lately up 1 13/16, or 5%, at 35 7/16.

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

said late Tuesday it will acquire

Kruse International

, a collector-automobile vendor, and

Billpoint

, an Internet credit-card payment company. eBay will issue about $275 million in stock to pay for the purchases. The online auctioneer jumped 4 15/16, or 3%, to 194 1/2 in early action.