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IBM's Star Keeps Rising

But Oracle isn't attracting much applause, as it's expected to issue an earnings warning today.

SAN FRANCISCO -- IBM (IBM) - Get Free Report and Oracle (ORCL) - Get Free Report were sharing the technology spotlight, with IBM starring as Wall Street's darling and Oracle garnering little applause.

IBM was in record territory again after CEO

Louis Gerstner

met with analysts and fund managers Wednesday and stressed IBM's growing role in a Web-based economy. In early trading, IBM was up 10, or 4.4%, at 235 1/2.

Credit Suisse First Boston

analyst Amit Chopra said Gerstner explained that IBM's positioning in the Web-based economy should spur revenue growth in its software services and technology businesses. CS First Boston estimated that for every $1 of PC revenue, it expects IBM to generate $2 of "beyond-the-box" sales. CS First Boston reiterated a buy rating on the stock.

Also in a note today,

Goldman Sachs

reported IBM "should be the premier e-business enabler." Analyst Laura Conigliaro upped her price target on the stock to 250 from 225, saying she expects IBM to meet or exceed her $8.90-a-share earnings estimate for fiscal year 2000.

Merrill Lynch

also reiterated its buy rating on IBM and raised its price target for the stock to 270.

Oracle will meet with analysts today, but its

message likely won't be as positive. Oracle is expected to warn about fourth-quarter earnings estimates, and analysts are already trimming numbers.

In a report Wednesday,

Salomon Smith Barney

lowered estimates for Oracle's current fiscal fourth quarter to 33 cents from 37 cents and cut its target for fiscal year 2000 to $1 from $1.07. But analyst Neil Herman maintained a buy rating on the stock, saying that Oracle "is positioning itself very well with regards to the Internet," and the company's "intermediate-term story remains intact." Herman added that some of the near-term concerns about the fiscal fourth quarter are reflected in the current stock price, and only about two weeks are left in the quarter.

In early trading, Oracle was down 2 5/16, or 9%, at 23.

Net Gains

Internet stocks were mostly higher, and


(EBAY) - Get Free Report

was one of the top gainers early on. The company said it would partner with

SkyTel Communications

(SKYT) - Get Free Report

to create a wireless person-to-person online trading service that will allow eBay users to receive auction updates and participate in auctions via wireless devices, including pagers, cell phones and personal digital assistants. eBay was up 5 1/4, or 3%, at 204, though SkyTel was off 1 15/32, or 7%, at 20 1/4.