NBC Sets Partnership With Xoom.com, Snap

The deal creates an Internet concern affiliated with a major broadcast network.
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Despite a resurgence of merger news this morning, it looks like stocks will have a halting start to the week.

Given what happened Friday, this probably isn't too much of a surprise. That stocks were able to break ranks and head higher despite the bond market's poor reaction to what looked like a favorable

employment report

was somewhat bizarre. Today the Treasuries are under pressure again, and that's putting a somewhat negative tone on equities.

Now back to the merger front. First off, community Web site

Xoom.com

(XMCM)

agreed to a three-way merger with

CNet's

(CNET) - Get Report

Snap!

Internet service and the Web assets owned by

General Electric's

(GE) - Get Report

NBC

. The new company,

NBC Internet

, will be the seventh largest Web site, Xoom said.

Then there are reports that

Chevron

(CHV)

is in talks to acquire

Texaco

(TX) - Get Report

, and the news that

HSBC

will buy

Republic New York

(RNB)

and

Safra Republic

(a Luxembourg-based bank Republic has a 49% stake in) for $10.3 billion.

Plus, Internet stocks are benefiting from a report in

The Wall Street Journal

that

USA Networks

(USAI) - Get Report

will abandon its bid for

Lycos

(LCOS)

. Several major Lycos shareholders had been critical of the deal.

"We're looking at a slight down day in the broader market, and a slight up day in the Internet stocks," said Dan Mathisson, head stock trader at

D.E. Shaw Securities

. "Lycos is going to be up nicely."

At 9 a.m. EDT, the

S&P 500

futures were off 2.5, about 2 points below fair value. The 30-year Treasury was down 4/32 to 91 28/32, lifting the yield to 5.83%.

U.S. markets will be keeping a close eye on any developments following the

NATO

bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. The Chinese press continues to characterize the incident as a wanton attack: The

China Daily

called the mishap an example of the "barbaric acts of U.S.-led NATO."

But while the bombing threatens both the prospects for a U.N.-brokered peace in Kosovo (

Xinhua

-- the official Chinese news agency -- quoted Chinese President

Jiang Zemin

as telling

Boris Yeltsin

that it's "impossible for the U.N. Security Council to discuss any plan to solve the problem") and China's entrance into the

World Trade Organization

, it looks as though any effect on markets will be, at this point, limited.

This, at least, is the impression one gets from the action in Hong Kong, where the news that HSBC Holdings will acquire Republic New York and Safra Republic was enough to lift the market despite the trouble in China. The

Hang Seng

added 165.77, or 1.3%, to 13,163.20.

More rumblings from the government on the possibility of a new round of stimulus helped Tokyo stocks, but late-day selling limited the gains. The

Nikkei

added 30.49 to 16,977.01.

Taichi Sakaiya

, the head of the

Economic Planning Agency

, said Sunday said that an extra budget was a possibility. Over the past week, the

Liberal Democratic Party's

secretary general,

Yoshiro Mori

-- whose job it is to float balloons to the market -- has been making similar suggestions.

European bourses were all lower. In Frankfurt, the

Dax

was down 85.2, or 1.6%, to 5212.18. In Paris, the

CAC

was off 11.07 to 4278.49.

HSBC, down on the merger news, was weighing on the London market. The

FTSE

was down 40.3 to 6315.7.

Monday's Wake-Up Watchlist

By

Elizabeth Roy

Staff Reporter

  • The NBC unit of General Electric (GE) - Get Report agreed to merge its Internet properties with Xoom.com (XMCM) and Snap.com, forming NBC Internet, the first public Internet company integrated with a major broadcast network, CNBC reported.
  • HSBC said it will acquire Republic New York (RNB) and its sister company, Luxembourg-based Safra Republic Holdings, for $10.3 billion in cash.
  • Bloomberg over the weekend and The Wall Street Journal this morning have sources close to the matter saying that Chevron (CHV) and Texaco (TX) - Get Report are in slow-moving merger talks that aren't expected to produce an agreement any time soon. Neither company is commenting on the rumors. Texaco, which tacked on more than 5 points on Friday on takeover speculation to close at 67 1/4, traded at 69 in premarket activity.
  • Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Report will buy $600 million of Nextel's (NXTL) common stock at $36 a share in exchange for Nextel offering its customers Microsoft wireless Internet services, the companies announced. Nextel closed Friday at 36 3/8.
  • USA Networks (USAI) - Get Report will probably abandon its three-month-long bid to acquire Lycos (LCOS) after determining that it probably can't win the approval of the portal company's shareholders, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Lycos traded up 95 1/2 in premarket activity, up 6 from Friday's close at 89 1/2.
  • Norsk Hydro (NHY) , a state-controlled oil-and-gas giant, launched a bid to acquire exploration-and-production company Saga Petroleum (SPM) at a 35% premium. In other news:
  • Autocam (ACAM) - Get Report reported third-quarter earnings of 32 cents a share, beating the consensus estimate by a dime.
  • Comcast (CMCSK) reported a first-quarter profit of 10 cents a share, reversing the year-ago loss of 12 cents.
  • Britain's Action Computer Supplies Holdings agreed to merge with Insight Enterprises (NSIT) - Get Report in a deal valued at around $150 million in stock.
  • Omnipoint (OMPT) reported a first-quarter loss of $3.42 a share, missing by 29 cents the consensus estimate of a loss of $3.13 a share.
  • Tarrant Apparel (TAGS) - Get Report reported first-quarter earnings of 30 cents a share, beating the consensus estimate by a penny.
  • Consolidated Natural Gas (CNG) was upgraded to accumulate from hold by Prudential.
  • Protein Design Labs (PDLI) - Get Report was upgraded to buy from attractive by PaineWebber.
  • Sonat (SNT) was upgraded to accumulate from hold by Prudential.
  • Union Pacific (UNP) - Get Report was downgraded to neutral from attractice by PaineWebber.
  • Western Gas (WGR) was upgraded to accumulate from hold by Prudential.
  • Williams (WMB) - Get Report was upgraded to strong buy from hold by Prudential.