Farewell, Millennium: Upside Day Caps Massive Annual Gains

The Nasdaq's record-setting 1999 gain of 85.6% joins smaller but still-huge moves as a bullish decade ends.
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After a year like 1999 -- after a decade like the 1990s -- you really wouldn't expect any less than this, would you?

Floating on the breeze of optimism that's lifted them throughout the last few weeks, major equity indices wrapped up the millennium with more gains and more records.

Wall Street's already buoyant mood brightened still more as industrialized nations east of the U.S. rolled into 2000 with no significant Y2K troubles, and stocks finished the shortened session at or near their highs.

Gotta start with the

Nasdaq Composite Index

, which jumped 32.44, or 0.8%, to a record 4069.31. The seemingly unstoppable Comp solidified its position as the best performing major U.S. index in history, turning in a stunning 85.6% gain for 1999. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

rose 81.7% in 1915 (although some say the figure was a bit lower).

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The Nasdaq's twin engines today, as they've been for so much of the recent run, were

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

and

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

. Qualcomm, in its first day of trading after a 4-for-1 stock split, leapt 14 5/16, or 8.9%, to a record 176 1/4. That's 705 on a pre-split basis and puts the wireless giant's 1999 gain at 2,621%.

Yahoo! gained 16 11/16, or 4%, to a record 432 11/16, finishing the year up 265.2%.

The Dow wrapped things up today with a gain of 44.26, or 0.4%, to a record 11,497.12, leaving it up 25.2% for the year.

Alcoa

(AA) - Get Report

, by far the top performing Dow stock of the year -- with a gain of 122.6% -- fittingly posted today's largest point gain among the gilded 30, up 2 7/16 to 83. The Dow's biggest loser,

Philip Morris

(MO) - Get Report

, lost 57% on the year and fell 11/16 to 23 today.

Speaking of falling, the overall Net sector couldn't muster much upside momentum despite Yahoo!'s blast higher. With

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

,

America Online

(AOL)

and

BroadVision

(BVSN) - Get Report

among the drags,

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index lost 5.99, or 0.5%, to 1154.45.

Don't fret, though. The DOT eked out a 184.1% advance for 1999.

The

S&P 500

, performance benchmark for most money managers, made a lot of them look good this year. Today up 4.79, or 0.3%, to a record 1469.26, it rose 19.5% on the year -- a figure a great many Wall Street pros managed to beat.

TheStreet.com

Red Hots index, rose 16.42, or 3.7%, to 463.16. The 20-stock index tracks action in particularly volatile stocks and is meant to measure so-called hot money. (You can check quotes on the Red Hots index and its component stocks at

http://www.thestreet.com/redhots.)

*From first-day close, 11/13/98

And how 'bout that

Russell 2000

? The much-maligned small-cap index, benefiting from a lot of formerly small-cap tech stocks that have surged since their inclusion in the index, broke 500 for the first time today. It gained 8.15, or 1.6%, to a record 504.74, for a 1999 gain of 19.6%.

The Russell's late-year run captures an effect that has stock watchers heartened as 2000 begins -- the broadening of the market's advance. The rally certainly has been driven by the largest stocks, and by the largest high-tech names in particular. But as the recent chatter on Wall Street has it, we're seeing a change.

"Things are actually looking better," said Richard Dickson, technical analyst at

Scott & Stringfellow

in Richmond, Va. "I guess I'm encouraged that the market does seem to have broadened out. We are seeing some participation among the secondary indexes. Things generally have gotten stronger rather than weaker in the last couple of weeks or so."

"The question is, how much of this is January-effect buying and how much represents longer-term buying?" Dickson went on. "I don't think there's any clear answer to that."

The January effect refers to the buying of stocks that have been downtrodden in the past year and have suffered most from tax-loss selling. Dickson noted that investors have been more and more eager to get ahead of the effect. "They start discounting it, and pretty soon the January effect becomes the December effect," he said.

Y2K? Not 2 Worry

As the new millennium (at least in popular parlance) loomed into view in the Asia-Pacific region, the expected celebrations but none of the feared major disruptions came with it. From New Zealand to Japan to Hong Kong, there were delightful fireworks but no exploding power plants.

Jim Herrick, managing director of trading at

Robert W. Baird

in Milwaukee, said that was just what traders needed to see to extend the rally. "As the market has stayed open it's actually gathered a little strength," he said before the 1 p.m. EST close. "As the millennium passes over a number of countries, the Y2K problems have receded. There was an absence of volume as people waited to see if we had any Y2K glitches."

Volume certainly was dampened, but not so much as one might have expected. And breadth was solidly positive, again bespeaking the broadening trend.

New York Stock Exchange

advancers topped decliners 2,151 to 915 on 374.1 million shares, with 122 new 52-week high outpacing 89 new lows. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

, 2,609 winners beat 1,569 losers on 767.9 million shares. New highs led new lows 202 to 89.

The bond market had a rough year, and it ended poorly. The bellwether 30-year Treasury dropped 19/32 to 95 12/32, its yield rising to 6.48%. (For more on the fixed-income market, see today's

Bond Focus.)

Among other indices, the

Dow Jones Transportation Average

rose 13.75, or 0.5%, to 2977.20 (down 5.5% on the year); the

Dow Jones Utility Average

slipped 0.26 to 283.36 (down 9.3%); and the

American Stock Exchange Composite Index

jumped 10.85, or 1.3%, to a record 876.97 (up 27.3%).

For the week, the Dow rose 0.8%, the S&P gained 0.7%, the Nasdaq surged 2.5%, the Russell jumped 4.6%, the DOT added 2.3%, the transports rose 3.1%, the utilities advanced 0.8% and the Amex Composite improved 3.6%.

Friday's Company Report

By Eileen Kinsella
Staff Reporter

(

Earnings estimates from First Call/Thomson Financial; earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified. New highs and lows on a closing basis unless otherwise specified.

)

Shares of Russian ADRs jumped after Russian President

Boris Yeltsin

surprised the world by resigning on the last day before the new year. Traders said investors see Yeltsin's interim replacement,

Vladimir Putin

, as a positive force for economic reform in the country.

Golden Telecom

(GLDN)

soared 18 7/8, or 155.6%, to 32,

Vimpel-Communications

(VIP)

vaulted 11, or 32.7%, to 44 5/8 and

Rostelecom

(ROS)

gained 5 1/8, or 43.6%, to 16 7/8.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Halliburton

(HAL) - Get Report

gained 1 1/2 to 40 1/4, after announcing after yesterday's close, that its

Dresser Industries

unit completed the $515 million sale of its stake in

Ingersoll Dresser Pump

to its joint venture partner,

Ingersoll-Rand

(IR) - Get Report

. Shares of Ingersoll-Rand inched up 7/8 to 55 1/16. Halliburton said the sale of its 49% stake in Ingersoll Dresser Pump would result in a fourth-quarter aftertax gain of about $165 million, or 37 cents a share.

Analyst actions

Meristar Hospitality

(MHX)

slipped 3/16 to 16 after

PaineWebber

initiated coverage with a neutral rating and set a price target of 15. PaineWebber also started coverage of

Meristar Hotels

(MMH)

at neutral and set a price target of 3.50. The Shares climbed 1/8 to 3 9/16.

Miscellany

Dun & Bradstreet

(DNB)

inched up 1/8 to 29 1/2 after it said it is beginning a search for a CEO of its D&B Operating business. The company said the search would focus primarily on outside candidates.

Lockheed Martin

(LMT) - Get Report

lifted 1 9/16, or 7.8%, to 21 7/8 after the Air Force said it has been awarded contracts totaling $1.6 billion to produce six test models of the F-22 fighter jet and begin initial work on 10 planned production jets.

Waste Management

(WMI)

, in a lawsuit filed in Delaware federal court, alleged it overpaid in its $1.15 billion takeover of

Eastern Environmental Services

,

The Wall Street Journal

reported. Waste Management's shares inched up 1/4 to 17 3/16.

The "Inside Wall Street" column in

Business Week

this week, penned by Gene Marcial, offered up a bullish story on

Talk City

(TCTY)

. In the piece, money manager Kai-The Tao of

Watson Investment Partners

, which is long the stock, thinks Talk City's shares are worth 40. Today, the stock moved up 1 1/2, or 6.1%, to 26 1/8.

The column also includes a positive item on

Safeguard Scientifics

(SFE) - Get Report

, a holding company of Internet-related companies, which Stuart Rudick of

Rudick Asset Management

thinks is still undervalued. Safeguard climbed 2 3/8 to 163.

Gene Logic

(GLGC)

, which is building a database of gene profiles from animal and human tissues and has been on fire since June, also garners positive mention in the column. Gene Logic gained 1 7/8, or 7.6%, to 26 1/2.

The "Heard on the Street" column in the

Journal

said some market watchers are keeping an eye on margin debt as the Nasdaq continues its record rise. The use of margin debt, or borrowing to make stock-market investments, has historically been viewed as a warning sign of the level of speculation in the market.

Unlike the NYSE, the story says, the Nasdaq does not report margin debt levels. However, online trading firms, whose customers have had a big hand in the Nasdaq's rise, report large increases in margin debt.