The early word on the fourth quarter: another blowout. Earnings rose an average 46% on a revenue hike of 10% for the 83 companies in BUSINESS WEEK's flash report. But Wall Street is unimpressed. Case in point: Compaq, which had a 61% jump in profits. "We believe we'll see continued good growth in the U.S., a more optimistic pattern emerging in Europe, and very strong growth in [Asia]," says CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer. But Compaq shares fell 12% on fears of slowing growth.

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