Wall Street Stops to Catch Its Breath

And the dollar is getting slammed against the yen.
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After its big move last week, Wall Street is going to catch its breath this morning.

"It looks like we're going to have a little pause here today," said Todd Clark, head of listed trading at

Charles Schwab

. "I think Europe, the dollar, bonds, these things are weighing on stocks." Clark also pointed out that Friday's move -- where the

Dow

moved more than 100 points despite pretty narrow breadth in the market -- suggested that the market was pretty overextended.

Overextended or not, it looks like tech stocks will be moving higher this morning. In premarket trading, four-letter issues are flashing green. And if a company has a .com after its name, so much the better.

"The Internuts are going to open to the upside," said Bill Meehan, market analyst at

Cantor Fitzgerald

. Powered by

Merrill Lynch

raising its price target for

America Online

(AOL)

and

Broadcast.com's

(BCST)

stock-split announcement, Net stocks look to surge at the open.

At 9 a.m. EST, the

S&P 500

futures were off 3.3, a bit below fair value and indicating a negative open.

The dollar has been taking a beating against the yen in the European session, falling as low as 108.7, its lowest level in over two years. People are citing a number of reasons -- the possible resignation of Brazil's finance minister, concern over the U.S. economy (apparently ignoring Friday's strong employment report) and Japanese companies repatriating funds. But in a way these arguments are being ascribed to the move after the fact, according to Lisa Finstrom, senior currency analyst at

Salomon Smith Barney

.

"The break here today, I think it's technical," she said. "Traders have been looking for the break to 108 -- we had 108 discussed since December by some banks. It's a bit self-fulfilling."

Though she thinks the argument that repatriation of funds is behind today's move, Finstrom points out that it's one of the factors behind the yen's strength. Though the Japanese fiscal year does not end until the end of March, many companies move their money home this month. The dollar was lately off 1.70 to 109.20.

The trouble with the dollar was killing the Treasury market. The 30-year was down 1 16/32 to 98 12/32, lifting the yield to 5.36%.

Japanese stocks edged lower as traders continued to fret about the dollar's weakness against the yen. The

Nikkei

slipped 23.33 to 13,368.48.

The news that

Guangdong International Trust & Investment

would file for bankruptcy hurt Hong Kong stocks. Hong Kong banks had heavy exposures to the mainland trust, which Beijing shut down in October. The

Hang Seng

fell 88.43 to 10,634.27.

After a good start, European markets were all lower. In Germany, the

Dax

was down 116.79, or 2.2%, to 5276.05. In Paris, the

CAC

was down 61.58, or 1.5% to 4183.84. In London, the

FTSE

was down 69, or 1.1%, to 6096.7.

Monday's Wake-Up Watchlist

By

Brian Louis
Staff Reporter

    Lucent

    (LU)

    is close to announcing a takeover of

    Ascend

    (ASND) - Get Report

    in a deal valued at more than $16 billion, the

    Financial Times

    reported. People close to the talks said over the weekend that an announcement was likely to be made as early as Wednesday, the newspaper said. Separately, this morning Lucent said it will buy privately held

    Kenan Systems

    in exchange for Lucent stock in a deal worth roughly $1.5 billion. Lucent said the acquisition is expected to increase its earnings in the first year of combined operations.

    Centura Banks

    (CBC)

    reported fourth-quarter earnings of 93 cents a share, a penny shy of the

    First Call

    nine-analyst consensus estimate, but up from the year-earlier 89 cents a share.

    Campbell

    (CPB) - Get Report

    said it expects earnings per share for 1999 to come in 18 cents to 23 cents below analysts' estimates. The company announced cost-saving initiatives in its supply-chain operations, which it expects to result in annualized savings of about $100 million.

    Merrill Lynch

    raised its price target on

    America Online

    (AOL)

    to 195 a share,

    CNBC

    reported.

    AVX

    (AVX) - Get Report

    reported third-quarter earnings of 7 cents a share, beating the First Call five-analyst consensus estimate by a penny, but down from the year-earlier 38 cents a share.

    Short-sellers are betting

    Blue Rhino

    (RINO)

    , which contracts with independent distributors to service and deliver propane cylinders to retailers like

    Home Depot

    (HD) - Get Report

    and

    Wal-Mart

    (WMT) - Get Report

    , could take on gas if investors were to focus on how the company reduced its inventory not long ago, thereby bumping its results before announcing plans last week to sell 2 million additional shares, today's Heard on the Street column in

    The Wall Street Journal

    said.

    Broadcast.com

    (BCST)

    set a 2-for-1 stock split.

    CompX International

    (CIX) - Get Report

    appointed John Miller as vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer.

    E*Trade

    (EGRP)

    reported a first-quarter loss of 23 cents a share, better than the 11-analyst First Call consensus of a loss of 30 cents a share.

    J.P. Morgan

    raised its 12-month price target on

    General Motors

    (GM) - Get Report

    to 145 a share,

    CNBC

    reported.

    LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton

    (LVMHY)

    will inform the

    Securities and Exchange Commission

    tomorrow it has a 20% stake in

    Gucci

    (GUC)

    ,

    Reuters

    reported, citing the financial daily

    Il Sole-24 Ore

    .

    Metamor Worldwide

    (MMWW)

    is buying

    SPR

    (SPRI)

    in a stock deal valued at $313 million, under which each share of SPR's stock will be exchanged for 0.8 of a share of Metamor's stock.

    Renaissance

    (RNR) - Get Report

    said it expects to post a loss for the fourth quarter due to a $40 million estimated after-tax charge arising from the acquisition of

    Nobel Insurance

    , which it bought in June. Excluding the Nobel charge, fourth-quarter results are expected to be in line with analysts' expectations. First Call's five-analyst consensus estimate calls for earnings of $1.30 a share in the fourth quarter.

    Sharper Image

    (SHRP)

    said it will launch an Internet auction site in February.

    Yahoo!

    (YHOO)

    announced a deal with

    IBM

    (IBM) - Get Report

    whereby IBM's new

    Aptiva PC

    line, which was announced last week, offers Internet services from Yahoo. The new IBM Aptiva PCs connect to both Yahoo's Web directory capabilities and personalized Web pages.