SAN FRANCISCO -- The
Nasdaq Composite Index
did not set an all-time high today. Repeat: The Nasdaq Composite did NOT set a new high. Meanwhile, the majority of stocks declined and blue-chip proxies struggled yet again in heavy trading.
Despite the sour breadth, the
rose 3.14, 0.7%, to 468.84, a new 52-week high. Still, the small-cap proxy remains below its all-time best of 491.41, set in April 1998.
New York Stock Exchange
trading, 952.2 million shares were exchanged while declining stocks led advancers 1,937 to 1,138. In
Nasdaq Stock Market
action 1.667 billion shares traded -- the busiest session in history -- while losers led 2,224 to 1,929. New 52-week lows outpaced new highs 398 to 96 on the Big Board while new highs led 301 to 122 in over-the-counter trading.
After rising as high as 3625.47 early on, the tech-engulfed Comp retreated steadily, dipping briefly below breakeven at midafternoon, before regaining its positive momentum to climb as high as 3602.80 with less than 30 minutes to go in the session. But the index slid into the close, finishing off 0.84 to 3586.08.
In the aftermath of
yesterday's session, some speculated the wild action in
signaled a near-term top for the tech sector. "The last kiss," was how one market player described the action.
As expected, Yahoo! suffered some retrenchment today, falling 8.2%. Still,
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
index rose 13.40, or 1.3%, to 1072.27, another record close.
Red Hots index rose 3.16, or 0.9%, to 367.27. The 20-stock index tracks action in particularly volatile stocks and is meant to measure so-called hot money.
Technicals Hint of a Top
Few traders were overly concerned about the Comp's setback. But Greg Nie, chief technical analyst at
First Union Securities
in Chicago, said there are some technical indications supporting the notion that yesterday marked a short-term top.
The Comp is nearing a record gap between its current price and 200-day moving average, Nie noted. Coming into today, the index was 32.8% above its 200-day moving average of around 2706.50, the record being 33.4% back in January.
Only twice before has the Comp been more than 30% above its 200-day moving average, and both previous instances "resulted in some kind of move back down," he said, although a severe pullback is not necessarily in the offing. "The fact that it's near a record is self-explanatory
but this thing is due for a timeout."
In addition to Yahoo!, today's "timeout" was fostered by weakness in most of the Comp's biggest bellwethers, notably
fell 1.3% while the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index
was the standout among traditional tech favorites, rising 8.7% to an all-time best of 78 7/16 after announcing a venture with
to speed delivery of data online. Inktomi gained 2.8% while Digital Island leapt 66% to 114 15/16 on the
news after trading as high as 133 1/8.
Another deal involved
, up 9.3% after announcing plans to create a wireless email company.
, off 1.6%, agreed to take a minority stake in
'I Thought We'd Have an Up Day'
In part because of the aforementioned news, Timothy Heekin, director of equity trading at
Thomas Weisel Partners
in San Francisco, was a bit disappointed by today's setback.
"When I saw the news on Digital Island and some other names sounding strong, I thought we'd have an up day," he said. "I'm a little surprised we didn't have more. But we were very busy, and it was across the board."
Heekin observed a "real battle" going on between the "momentum guys who continue to push higher" and "value-type players" who are "taking money off the table."
The trader believes the former will sustain the upper hand. "People have forgotten about interest rates for the short-term" even though bonds suffered today, he said. "Stocks people have ridden all year or in the last quarter -- they're going to continue to ride those horses and are going to push those babies strong to the close" of the year.
Other tech names on the move included
, up 24.9% in heavy trading, and
, declining 4.4% to 271 1/4 after trading as high as 302 5/8 and as low as 270.
This latest burst of excitement over Linux technology was fueled by
, which rose 253% in its first day of trading. Meanwhile, underwriters moved up the pricing date for
VA Linux Systems
(LNUX:Nasdaq) to tonight from Thursday.
In other IPO action today,
On the other side of the investment spectrum, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
closed down 38.53, or 0.4%, to 11,068.12. The index rose as high as 11,171.69 early on then faded and spent most of the day hovering in a tight range around either side of neutrality. The
followed a similar pattern before closing off 5.29, or 0.4%, to 1403.88 after trading as high as 1415.66.
Blue-chip averages were saddled by weakness in both financials and drugmakers, as well as the aforementioned tech heavyweights. The
Philadelphia Stock Exchange/KBW Bank Index
fell 2.4% and
American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index
lost 2.5%, while the
American Stock Exchange Pharmaceutical Index
The "poor action" in the financials is one of several "genuine technical hurdles" facing the market, according Nie. Others include "nasty signals" from the utility sector and "pitiful" breadth.
Howeer, the technician sees potential for the Dow to set a new high by year-end, which would make "psychology strong enough to carry the market into January with sufficient momentum to overcome the technical hurdles."
The price of the 30-year Treasury bond fell 12/32 to 98 19/32, its yield rising to 6.23%.
Among other indices,
Dow Jones Transportation Average
rose 4.49, or 0.2%, to 2881.67; the
Dow Jones Utility Average
slid 2.21, or 0.8%, to 273.30; and the
American Stock Exchange Composite Index
shed 0.80, or 0.1%, to 829.22.
Elsewhere in North American equities, the
Toronto Stock Exchange 300
gained 31.58 to 7889.1 and the
Mexican Stock Exchange IPC Index
lost 27.86 to 6397.84.
Wednesday's Company Report
Earnings estimates from First Call; new highs and lows on a closing basis unless otherwise specified. Earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified.
Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures
gained 2 3/8 to 88 9/16 and
Sprint PCS Group
rose 5 3/16, or 5.5%, to 99 1/2 after the companies said they would offer online shopping at Amazon from Internet-ready Sprint PCS phones.
started coverage on Amazon with a strong buy rating.
Take a gander at the
story written today by
joint newsroom on the deal.
rose 2 11/16 to 78 3/16 after it said it will sell its Ohio cable operations to
for $1.53 billion. Adelphia lost 1 3/4 to 56 13/16. Cablevision said the deal will be composed of $990 million in cash and $540 million in Adelphia Class-A stock. Cablevision said it will continue to evaluate options for its Massachusetts and Kalamazoo, Mich., operations.
For more on this transaction, take a look at the
piece written today by
fell 1 9/16 to 99 15/16 after it said the
cleared its $2 billion supply deal with
fell 2 3/8 to 54 13/16 and
dropped 2 5/16 to 69 1/16 after the companies agreed to form a joint venture called
, which they said will provide services for partially defined contribution, pension, health and welfare plans.
soared 45 3/4, or 66%, to 114 15/16,
climbed 6 1/4, or 8.7%, to 78 7/16 and
gained 4 1/2 to 168 after the companies announced a pact designed to accelerate Web-site performance for consumers and e-business Web sites.
gained 5 7/8, or 9.3%, to 64 1/8 and
lost 1 3/16 to 91 3/4 after the companies announced a strategic pact "to develop and market end-to-end solutions for the wireless Internet." The companies will form a joint company -- of which Ericsson will own a majority stake -- to market and deliver mobile e-mail solutions for network operators.
For more on this
story, check out the coverage provided by
lost 3/8 to 35 1/16 after saying it will acquire Fremont Financial from
for $765 million in cash, which includes debt. Fremont Financial rose 5/16, or 6%, to 5 9/16. Finova said the deal would be accretive to its 2000 earnings.
added 7/16 to 73 1/16 after it said it is still holding discussions with other automakers over possible alliances, but declined to comment on reports that it was close to taking and equity stake in Japan's
Fuji Heavy Industries
lost 2 1/4 to 48 after it said it agreed to a $605 million merger with
popped 6 7/8, or 12.3%, to 62 3/4 after it said
will invest $850 million in the company in the form of convertible preferred stock. Nextlink said the investment represents 8% of its fully diluted shares.
moved up 15/16 to 25 7/16 after it said it planned to spend $140 million to covert four properties into
theme parks, including locations in Mexico and the Netherlands.
lifted 10 7/16, or 41.9%, to 35 1/2 after it set a pact with
, which closed up 1 7/8, or 5.2%, to 38 1/4 . The companies will offer consumers access to the Internet without a computer. Ravisent customers will be able to use their TV screens to surf the Net, read and send email, among other things. Under the terms of the deal, Ravisent will offer its Internet TV appliance at a "subsidized, competitive price" to those who subscribe to two years of MindSpring's service.
said it planned to sell its entire cable and fiber optic business to
for about $1.4 billion. Shares of Corning rose 4 9/16 to 109 13/16. Siemens said it would transfer business activities comprising 3,300 employees to Corning on Feb. 2, 2000.
gained 1 3/8 to 29 7/8 after saying it entered into a three-year agreement with
in which Telescan will add its stock screening and portfolio analysis tools to AOL's personal finance channel. AOL slipped 7/8 to 80.
Earnings/revenue reports and previews
gained 3/8 to 12 3/8 after it posted fourth-quarter earnings of 44 cents a share, beating the two-analyst estimate of 43 cents but down from the year-ago 62 cents a share.
Korn Ferry International
popped up 4, or 16.6%, to 28 1/8 after it reported second-quarter earnings of 17 cents a share, beating the four-analyst estimate of 15 cents, and the year-ago loss of 1 cent a share.
Warburg Dillon Read
initiated coverage of Korn Ferry with a buy rating and a price target of 31.
sank 14 1/8, or 24.5%, to 43 5/8 after it said November same-store sales were down about 18%, a larger-than-expected decline.
has been following this
story. Jim Cramer also
weighed in on the company.
New York Times
gained 4 1/8, or 9.9%, to 45 7/8 after it said it was comfortable with the current consensus earnings estimate. The 12-analyst estimate for 1999 currently calls for earnings of $1.72 a share.
rose 1 1/8, or 8.3%, to 14 3/4 after it said it expects to post fourth-quarter earnings between 21 cents and 23 cents a share, possibly beating the four-analyst estimate of 21 cents. The company attributed the solid estimates to strong demand.
Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown
cut its rating on
to buy from strong buy. Shares of AK Steel Holdings slid 1 1/4, or 6.8%, to 17.
Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette
started coverage of
with a market performer rating. BancWest shares fell 7/16 to 42 3/4.
upped its price target on
to 90 from 63. CareInsite hopped 3 1/8 to 73.
upped its rating on
to significant outperformer from outperformer and set a 12-month price target of 76. Shares of Coke climbed 1 to 60.
to top pick from buy. Shares of Cigna lost 7/8 to 78 1/4.
Warburg started coverage of
with a buy rating and set a price target of 16. CVC shares added on 11/16, or 5.4%, to 13 5/16.
raised its rating on
to trading buy from market outperform. Shares of Dollar Thrifty were climbing 5/8 to 21 7/8.
Henry Blodget initiated coverage of
with an intermediate-term buy rating and put a 200 price objective on the stock. The long-term rating is also buy. Exodus closed yesterday at 144 1/2. Shares of Exodus soared 21, or 14.5%, to 165 9/16.
cut its earnings estimate on
to $2.43 from $2.60 per share. Shares Fort James slid 5/8 to 27 1/16.
Alex. Brown cut its rating on
to market perform from buy. General Motors added 3/8 to 73.
rolled out coverage of
with a buy rating. Ebookers.com fell 2 1/4, or 10.1%, to 20.
to buy from accumulate. Shares of Knight/Trimark lost 7/8 to 44 3/16.
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
to strong buy from outperform. Sealed Air tacked on 2 3/4, or 6%, to 47 7/8.
Goldman Sachs sliced its rating on
to market outperform, removing the stock from its recommended list. Shares of Millennium sank 5 1/4 to 105 5/8.
Merrill Lynch upped its intermediate-term rating on
to buy from accumulate. Stillwater Mining gained 2 5/8, or 11%, to 26 3/8.
started coverage of
with a buy rating, saying it is a possible acquisition candidate. Summit Technology climbed 1 5/16, or 8.7%, to 16 1/4.
Warburg initiated coverage of
with a buy rating and set a price target of 75 on the stock. Shares of Temple-Inland rose 3/4 to 61 11/16.
Lehman Brothers started coverage of
as a buy. VISX lifted 4 3/4, or 9.1%, to 56 11/16.
DLJ sliced its rating on
to market perform from buy. Walter Industries fell 1 1/2, or 14.3%, to 8 15/16.
said it rolled out coverage of
with a buy rating. Xicor shares edged up 1 7/8, or 13.8%, to 15 7/16.
Offering and stock actions
retreated 2 3/16, or 7.6%, to 26 9/16 after it said it filed with the
Securities and Exchange Commission
to register 7.6 million shares. The company said the shares were issued to stockholders associated with acquisitions that closed during the last two years.
declined 1/16 to 47 3/8 after it said it set a $500 million offering in convertible preferred stock.
climbed 9/16, or 16.3%, to 4 after it said it has set a share repurchasing plan of up to 1.5 million shares.
vice president Donald Grenesko told analysts at a
media conference that the company may consider holding an offering for part of its Internet media business,
, according to
. Grenesko also said the Tribune expects to post strong fourth-quarter earnings and 10%-15% growth in EPS for 2000. The 15-analyst estimate sees the company reporting fourth-quarter earnings of 43 cents a share, while the 16-analyst estimate expects fiscal 2000 earnings to be $1.73 a share. Shares of Tribune bounced 4, or 8.4%, to 52.
dwindled 1/8 to 66 9/16 after it said its board approved a $2 billion increase in its share-buyback plan.
skidded 3/16 to 52 after its board approved a 2-for-1 stock split.
hopped 2 3/4, or 8.5%, to 34 3/4 after it declared a 3-for-2 stock split.
soared 10 5/8, or 16%, to 76 3/4 after it said its board approved a 3-for-2 stock split. Pegasus' transfer agent will distribute the additional shares on or about January 7, 2000, to shareholders of record at the close of business on December 20, 1999.
gained 7/16 to 45 1/4 after it said it has tapped COO Kevin Sharer to replace the retiring Gordon Binder as CEO in May. Binder also plans to leave his role as the company's chairman.
is expected to release results today of an experimental cholesterol-lowering agent that it believes will be more potent than
The Wall Street Journal
reported. Shares of AstraZeneca climbed 1 1/2 to 44 15/16.
announced this afternoon that -- effective Jan. 1, 2000 -- company president and COO Jeff Weitzen has been given the additional title of CEO, replacing company founder Ted Waitt. Waitt, who started the company in 1985, will remain as Gateway's chairman.
said Tim Price, the head of its core communications group, will leave the company early next year. Shares of MCI Worldcom lost 1 1/4 to 77 3/8.
has won a $1.98 billion U.S. defense contract to contribute to a jet-engine improvement program for certain
planes through 2014. The program, which will be launched in January, will include power plants for F-16 fighters and A-10 attack jets, B-1 and B-2 bombers, KC-135 refueling tankers, C-5 cargo planes and T-38 trainers. Shares of GE popped 2 7/8 to 142 7/8.
The Heard on the Street column in the
takes a look at
efforts to maintain its large online brokerage market share in the face of increasing competition from cheaper dot.coms as well as more traditional rivals such as
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
. Shares of Merrill Lynch stumbled 1 5/8 to 80 3/8, while Charles Schwab fell 1 1/4 to 38. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter climbed 13/16 to 132 7/16.