Florida Court Upholds Antitobacco Ruling

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Publish date:

The

Florida Supreme Court

refused to intervene in a class-action suit that sided with Florida smokers. The ruling in the

Engle

suit, which allows smokers to be awarded damages collectively instead of individually, leaves tobacco companies exposed to a potential multibillion-dollar judgment.

Philip Morris

(MO) - Get Report

said tobacco companies would keep fighting to have the suit dismissed.

After-Hours Trading

Penny stocks played more than tiddlywinks in after-hours trading on

Island ECN

.

Some of them played with seven-digit trading volumes.

Elcom International

(ELCO)

topped the list, followed by

Technical Chemicals & Products

(TCPI)

and

NewStar Media

(NWST)

.

Also notable:

Commerce One

(CMRC)

, which tacked more gains onto today's 56-point leap.

Island ECN, owned by Datek Online, offers trading, mainly in Nasdaq-listed stocks, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.

.

MarketXT, formerly Eclipse Trading, offers after-hours trading to retail clients of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter's (MWD) Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Online and Mellon Bank's (MEL) Dreyfus Brokerage Services. Clients can trade 200 of the most actively traded New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Stock Market issues, 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. EST Monday through Thursday.

Confused?

TheStreet.com

explains how the rules change when the sun goes down in Investing Basics: Night Owl, a section devoted to after-hours trading.

--

Eric Gillin

In other postclose news (earnings estimates from

First Call/Thomson Financial

; earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified):

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Dynegy

(DYN)

said it would temporarily push back its $2 billion merger with

Illinova

(ILN)

until mid-January. Dynegy said that the acquisition was held up due to the delayed sale of power projects to

El Paso Energy

(EPG)

, which is part of the merger's regulatory requirements.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

Global Imaging Systems

(GISX)

warned that it expects to post third-quarter earnings of 18 cents to 20 cents a share, missing the six-analyst estimate of 26 cents. The company blamed the disappointing earnings on increasing debt, Y2K concerns and a drop in noncopier sales.

Miscellany

The

Nasdaq Stock Market

said short interest for the month ended Dec. 15 hit 2.32 billion shares, up from the month-ago report of 2.27 billion shares.