Major proxies were narrowly mixed at midday, as investors tried to decipher the code of the latest
Producer Price Index
. With the exception of technology stocks, which, much like
no time for losers, strength was scattered and somewhat masked, across a number of sectors.
Though the headline number on the October PPI fell 0.1%, ducking under an expected 0.1% gain, the core rate, which excludes food and energy prices, rose 0.3%, skipping past the expected 0.1% rise, though down from last month's attention-grabbing 0.8% gain. The mixed numbers were having a glass half-empty/half-full effect on the market.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
spent the better part of the morning bouncing under its opening mark but was lately up 35 to 10,652, while the broader
was up 13, or 1%, to 1379. The small-cap
was up 4 to 450.
Among those who opted for a upbeat view of today's action was Barry Berman, head of stock trading at
Robert W. Baird
. "We've had a heck of a run for the last week and a half. Coming off that we are not seeing a big selloff and no big follow through," from yesterday, he said.
All that was seen of the
Nasdaq Composite Index
this morning was the dust it kicked up as it shot up 61, or 2%, to 3187. The Comp was powered at the top by
. NextCard was helped by a reiterated rating from
Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette
, among other
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
index, which yesterday joined the Nasdaq in taking a break from its furious tarantella of consecutive records, was dancing again. The measure was on pace for another all-time high with its gain of 10, or 1.2%, to 849.
Healthy earnings from
last night were also lending a little extra confidence to the technology sector as well.
Financials weren't having any fun. The
American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index
was sagging 2% as interest-rate sensitive stock slid collectively, though not steeply, lower. The
Philadelphia Stock Exchange/KBW Bank
index was falling 1.1%
As for the PPI's implications for next Tuesday's
meeting, Berman says the consensus is that a 25-basis-point rate hike was in the market, but beyond that, it's anyone's guess. "It depends on how the Fed views that, but clearly there is no panic" today, he said. "Every time you get a selloff, and doom-and-gloom-sayers, and the market finds support rather quickly, that just gives more confidence" going forward, said Berman.
But the bears have reasons for focusing solely on the empty portion of the glass too. A report from David Orr, chief economist at
, says the most important figure in today's report was the 0.4% jump in the core intermediate stage index. Orr says it has a "very good record of tracking periods of Fed tightening." Orr also mentions Fed head
past opinions of the intermediate-term core rate as a credible gauge.
Oil stocks continued to rise after Venezuelan Energy and Mines Minister Ali Rodriguez said
would probably extend oil production cuts beyond March to counterbalance a drop in oil demand in the second quarter. December crude oil futures were lately at $24.61. Strength in oil stocks was visible in
Royal Dutch Petroleum
, up 2.7%, and
, lately rising 4.3%.
, which reported an explosion at a refinery in Los Angeles this morning (see below), was rising 4%.
was up 2.4%, helped additionally by an announcement of a $1.1 billion
outsourcing pact with
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service
index was lately rising 2.6%, while the
American Stock Exchange Oil & Gas
index was up 1.5%.
New York Stock Exchange
, decliners were leading advancers 1,501 to 1,411 on 613 million shares. On the
Nasdaq Stock Market
leaders were beating laggards 2,011 to 1,721 on 878 million shares. New highs trailed new lows 48 to 88 on the Big Board, while on the Nasdaq, new highs were leading new lows 171 to 59.
The benchmark 30-year Treasury was down 14/32 to 100 9/32, its yield rising to 6.10%. (For more on the fixed-income market, see today's early
Wednesday's Midday Watchlist
Earnings estimates from First Call/Thomson Financial; earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified
Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures
Amazon.com and NextCard set a strategic relationship under which NextCard will be the exclusive provider of a co-branded Amazon.com NextCard credit card. Amazon also has obtained a warrant to acquire up to 4.4 million shares of NextCard stock, a stake of about 9.9%. Amazon was in the news yesterday after saying it was launching four online stores.
joint newsroom wrote about the move in a story
also wrote about the news in a column
this morning. NextCard soared 16 15/16, or 53%, to 48 5/8 while Amazon.com added 2 1/4 to 73.
said they were in a deal to provide content for a portal. The alliance will provide CNET technology through a Commerce One market site. CNet was adding 1 7/16 to 51 1/4, while Commerce One was jumping 15 5/16 to 336 1/2.
A new joint venture company involving an Irish consortium and
said it planned to compete in Ireland's deregulated electricity market beginning in February. The company, known as
, said it would invest $264 million over the next three years. GPU shares were slipping 1/4 to 32 13/16.
Earnings/revenue reports and previews
, the Dutch business software firm, said it expects to return to profitability in 2000 and that sales and license revenue were improving in the fourth quarter,
reported. Baan shares were climbing 7/8, or 6.9%, to 13 5/8.
after the close posted first-quarter earnings of 24 cents a share, which beat the 32-analyst estimate by a penny and came in above the year-ago 17 cents. Yesterday Cisco said it was purchasing rival
in a $799 million stock swap.
joint newsroom wrote about Cisco's
earnings and its
acquisition of Aironet in stories yesterday. Shares of Cisco were popping 4 13/16, or 6.4%, to 78 15/16.
said it has adjusted its first quarter 2000 earnings downward, to reflect the sale of certain extended service plans. The company is now posting a revised first-quarter loss of 4 cents a share, a penny more than previously stated. CompUSA shares were sliding 1/8 to 5 3/4.
Federated Department Stores
reported third-quarter earnings of 56 cents a share, beating the 18-analyst estimate of 53 cents a share and the year-ago 50 cents a share. Federated shares were mounting 1 3/8 to 43.
reported third-quarter earnings of nine cents a share, missing the 13-analyst estimate by a penny, but up from a year-ago 8 cents. Shares of Kmart were edging up 1/4 to 9 13/16.
New Plan Excel Realty
reported third-quarter funds from operations of 51 cents a share, missing the single-analyst estimate of 53 cents and the year-ago 54 cents a share. New Plan Excel shares were sliding 1/16 to 16 1/2.
posted third-quarter earnings of 60 cents a share, beating the single-analyst estimate by a penny and up from the year-ago 34 cents. Shares of Oneida were falling 3/16 to 23 13/16.
reported third-quarter earnings of $1.11 a share, in line with the seven-analyst estimate and up from a year-ago 98 cents a share. Payless ShoeSource was gaining 1 1/8 to 43 1/8.
reported third-quarter operating net of 7 cents a share, falling short of the five-analyst estimate of 15 cents a share, but up from a year-ago 6 cents a share. The company said it expects to achieve $105 million in cost savings by the end of next year. Pennzoil-Quaker shares were adding 1/16 to 12 5/16.
reported third-quarter earnings of 33 cents a share, in line with the nine-analyst estimate but lower than a year-ago 46 cents a share. The company said it sees a fourth-quarter charge due to job cuts and unit sales. Sierra said recapitalization was not in its shareholders best interests and said it would proceed with a previously announced share buyback plan. Sierra Health shares were adding 11/16, or 11.3%, to 6 13/16.
reported third-quarter earnings of 44 cents a share, missing the 10-analyst estimate of 47 cents and down from the year-ago 49 cents. Last night,
joint newsroom covered Waste Management's
third-quarter earnings report. Shares of Waste Management were losing 1 9/16, or 8.8%, to 16 3/16.
Offerings and stock actions
wrote about the United Parcel Service IPO in a story
has decided to ax its IPO plans, citing unfavorable market conditions. Merrill was expected to price Centerprise Advisors' 10.5 million-share IPO on Wednesday in a price range of $11.50 to $13.50 a share.
set a 2-for-1 stock split of its common shares. A stock dividend will be distributed on Dec. 9 to shareholders of record on Nov. 24. Shares of Copper Mountain were hopping 4 1/8, or 5.2%, to 83 1/2.
board approved a 3-for-2 stock split. Dataram shares were climbing 1 3/8, or 7.4%, to 19 7/8.
Merrill cut its rating on
to near-term neutral from accumulate. Allied Waste shares were slipping 5/8, or 6.7%, to 8 5/8.
Credit Suisse First Boston
upped his rating on
American Home Products
to buy from hold. American Home Products was mounting 1 3/8 to 54 1/16.
Warburg Dillon Read
at buy. American Standard was sliding 3/16 to 38 3/16.
Bay View Capital
to intermediate-term accumulate from intermediate-term neutral and long-term buy from long-term accumulate. Bay View Capital was adding 11/16 to 14 3/4.
Merrill Lynch upped its price target on electronic manufacturing service stocks including
to 76 from 62,
to 77 from 62 and
to 91 from 82. Shares of Celestica were rising 6 7/16, or 10.2%, to 69 1/8, while Jabil was hopping 2 9/16 to 65 3/16. Solectron shares were jumping 4 1/4, or 5%, to 86 5/8.
raised its price target on
Electronic Data Systems
to 75 from 70 a share. The stock was up 5/8 to 64.
and set a price target of 150. Shares of Inktomi were mounting 6 5/8, or 5.7%, to 123.
Salomon Smith Barney
raised it price target on
to 85 from 70. Lehman Brothers was climbing 2 1/8 to 73 15/16.
upped its intermediate-term opinion on
to buy from accumulate. Methode shares were bouncing 2 3/4, or 13.5%, to 23 3/8.
to strong buy from buy. QLT said yesterday its losses widened in the third quarter because of higher marketing costs. QLT shares were adding 1 11/16 to 36 3/8.
Banc of America raised its ratings on
to buy from market performer. Shares of Seagate were mounting 1 7/8, or 5.4%, to 36 5/8, while Maxtor shares were rising 1 7/16, or 24.4%, to 7.
Credit Suisse First Boston upgraded
to buy from hold. Stanley Works shares hopped 1 1/4 to 30 11/16.
Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette
raised its rating on
to buy from market perform. Yesterday, shareholders approved a plan to create a separate tracking stock for
. Staples shares were gaining 2 9/16, or 14.7%, to 20.
Banc of America upped its price target on
to 125 from 60. Visual Networks was soaring 8 1/2, or 13.9%, to 69 1/2.
announced a restructuring plan under which it will cut 200 jobs. The plan, which includes new initiatives focused on the Internet and advanced work group solutions, is expected to produce annual cost savings of about $20 million. Avid will take a charge of between $9 million and $10 million in the fourth quarter related to the revamping. Avid Tech was edging up 9/16 to 12 1/16.
this morning unveiled a new corporate Internet-access PC priced at $499. Compaq expects the new machine, called the iPaq (sound familiar?), to account for at least 15% of the corporate computers it sells over the next year. The boxmaker's stock was up 1 3/8, or 6.6%, to 22 1/8.
An explosion at a
refinery about 40 minutes from Los Angeles sparked a major fire late Tuesday, sending plumes of smoke billowing hundreds of feet and temporarily closing nearly schools and a freeway before it was contained. Shares of Tosco nevertheless were up 1 1/8 to 27 15/16.
Overshadowing the bad news for the refinery were upgrades this morning from
No injuries were reported in Tuesday's fire, the second major fire at a Tosco refinery this year. Tosco was fined over $810,000 by the federal
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
in August following its investigation into alleged violations which led to the February fire that killed four. The cause of Tuesday's fire is under investigation.