Latest Tech Explosion Has Wall Street Wondering About Limits

'How far can they go?' is on many a lip in the financial world, as the Nasdaq storms to yet another record.
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It was for the most part an unlikely day for the

Nasdaq Composite Index

to skyrocket, considering the release tomorrow morning of the November

employment report

, another weak day in the Treasury market and the fact that the Nasdaq Comp has flown so far, so fast. And that's just to list a few.

But then again, this is the Nasdaq Comp we're talking about here, and that means tech and Internet. And whopping gains and spitting at the odds (and, some would say, at logic).

The Nasdaq Comp soared 99.07, or 2.9%, to 3452.78, closing at an all-time high, breaking the "old" record close of 3447.81. Today's gain was the fourth-largest point increase in the Nasdaq Comp's history.

Meanwhile, the

Nasdaq 100

rallied 3.7%.

The Nasdaq Comp, which opened solidly higher, rose steadily throughout the session as more and more buyers entered into the market, pushing the gauge to close at an all-time high.

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"It's momentum, momentum, momentum," said Jay Suskind, head of institutional equity trading at

Ryan Beck

, adding that "people don't want to miss the boat."

"I think you have a lot of cash out there and the money's going into the tech stocks," Suskind said. Investors are expecting the earnings by technology companies to keep growing and they don't expect to see that change, Suskind said.

The list of sectors providing a powerful boost to the Comp's rally was long and familiar and was led by a strong surge in Internet stocks.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index rocketed 51.91, or 5.6%, to 977.20. The charge in the DOT was led by pending

S&P 500

member

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

, which closed at an all-time high. The portal powerhouse soared 16 13/16, or 7.3%, to 245 13/16. It hit an all-time intraday high of 249 3/4.

In addition to Net stocks, telecommunications, semiconductor, networking and computer makers all contributed a nice boost to the Comp's advance. The

Nasdaq Telecommunications Index

hopped 2.9%; the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

rallied 4.6%; the

American Stock Exchange Networking Index

gained 3.4%; and the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Computer Box Maker Index

added 3%.

"The Nasdaq is just unbelievable," said Louis Todd, head of equities trading at

J.C. Bradford

.

"People are scratching their heads

and asking themselves, 'How far can these things go?'" said Todd of the rise of the Internet stocks.

Market participants said momentum players and daytraders piling into Nasdaq stocks on the move were responsible in large part for the juicy tech gains.

Aside from the Comp, the action in the other indices was subdued as other major averages lagged behind.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

gained 40.67, or 0.4%, to 11,039.06. Reflecting the power of tech today, Dow component

Hewlett-Packard

(HWP)

was a big winner, rising 3.4%.

The S&P 500 rose 11.32, or 0.8%, to 1409.04. The small-cap

Russell 2000

added 6,77, or 1.5%, to 460.44.

TheStreet.com

Red Hots index rose 11.87, or 3.7%, to 332.64. The 20-stock index tracks action in particularly volatile stocks and is meant to measure so-called hot money.

The gains in the market today came in the face of another poor session for Treasuries and ahead of the tomorrow's big November employment report, slated to be released at 8:30 a.m. EST. Economists are expecting

nonfarm payrolls

to rise 226,000, while the unemployment rate is projected to hold steady at 4.1%, according to a

Reuters

poll.

The 30-year Treasury bond fell 13/32 to 97 10/32, yielding 6.33%.

The dollar was little changed against the yen, while the euro broke parity with the dollar intraday, trading as low as $0.9995 before recovering a bit. It was quoted late this afternoon at $1.0008.

Meanwhile, among new issues,

McAfee.com

(MCAF)

flew 266.6%;

Digimarc

(DMRC) - Get Report

hopped 182.5%; and

PFSWeb

(PFSW) - Get Report

skyrocketed 159.5%.

Bank stocks struggled under the weight of the falling long Treasury bond. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange/KBW Bank Index

slumped 0.5%.

The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index

dropped 1.7% after soaring yesterday.

Gold mining stocks were hammered as gold prices tumbled. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Gold and Silver Index

dropped 2.1%.

Retailers, which rallied yesterday, gave it back and more today. The

S&P Retail Index

fell 1.3%.

More Upside Remains

John Lynch, director of investment strategy at

IJL Wachovia

, said he thinks the market is going to move higher into early next year as vast amounts of money move into the stock market, something he thinks has already been happening and thus a force behind the market's leg up of late.

Lynch said the bond market's recent swoon -- which has seen the yield on the 30-year bond go from about 6% to about 6.30% currently -- he thinks is due in part to some money being pulled out of bonds and going to work into equities. Also, money market funds, which have swelled over the past few months ahead of Y2K, have experienced outflows recently with that money going into stock funds.

Lynch said he's confident of 20% earnings growth in the fourth quarter. He also said he doesn't think the economy is "growing as fast as people fear."

The strategist said if the market sees the big surge early next year, he said he wouldn't be surprised to see the

Fed

raise interest rates in February.

Lynch's favorite sectors where he's been recommending investors have overweight positions are technology, financials, and consumer nondurables. In the consumer nondurables category he said

PepsiCo

(PEP) - Get Report

"looks strong" and "I think

Gillette's

(G) - Get Report

been beaten down sufficiently."

Looking way ahead, for December 2000, he's got a Dow target of 12,500 and an S&P 500 target of 1625.

In

New York Stock Exchange

trading, 900.7 million shares were exchanged while advancing stocks beat decliners 1,529 to 1,505. On the Nasdaq, 1.459 billion shares changed hands -- the seventh-heaviest volume day ever on the Nasdaq -- while winners beat losers 2,228 to 1,844. New 52-week lows beat new highs 225 to 48 on the Big Board, while new highs beat new lows 187 to 70 in over-the-counter trading.

Among other indices, the

Dow Jones Utility Average

rose 1.47, or 0.5%, to 281.43; the

Dow Jones Transportation Average

advanced 10.38, or 0.4%, to 2894.29; and the

American Stock Exchange Composite Index

slipped 1.22, or 0.2%, to 833.36.

Elsewhere in North American equities, the

Toronto Stock Exchange 300

rose 73.09, or 1%, to 7665.60 and the

Mexican Stock Exchange IPC Index

popped 169.36, or 2.7%, to 6370.5.

Thursday'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.

)

Analog Devices

(ADI) - Get Report

was the top gainer on the Big Board, popping 9 1/2, or 15.7%, to 70 after it said its chipsets will be part of the largest single deployment of asymmetric digital subscriber lines, which allow high speed communications transmissions over traditional phone lines. The company said 180,000 of its ADSL chipsets will be used in the 90,000 lines

Korea Telecom

(KT) - Get Report

is planning to install by February. Shares of Korea Telecom slipped 1/16 to 10 5/8. Earlier today,

Lehman Brothers

upped its price target on Analog to 91 from 60 and raised its 2000 earnings estimate to $2.01 a share from $1.56.

McAfee.com won first place in the IPO race today, jetting 32, or 266.6%, to 44. The company, a spinoff of antivirus software firm

Network Associates

(NETA)

, provides antivirus,Y2K compliance and other security services for computers. (For more IPO results, see table below.)

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

America Online

(AOL)

, which rose 3 11/16 to 79 13/16, was busy tearing up the joint venture field again today.

TMP Worldwide

(TMPW)

soared 33 1/4, or 35.4% to 127 1/16 after saying its

Monster.com

unit and AOL have entered a four-year $100 million pact, in which Monster.com will exclusively supply AOL with job-hunting information.

PaineWebber

started coverage of TMP Worldwide with a buy rating and set a price target of 145.

America Online also agreed to a three-year deal with

Net2Phone

(NTOP)

, to offer

AOL Instant Messenger

users with phone service over the Internet Net2Phone climbed 9/16 to 56.

AstraZeneca

(AZN) - Get Report

lost 1 1/16 to 44 3/16 after

The Wall Street Journal

reported it and

Novartis

(NVTSY)

will unveil a spinoff of their agricultural chemical business, citing people familiar with the matter. The article reported that the combined spinoff, which would be traded separately from its parent companies, would rank as the world's largest agrochemical business with sales of $8 billion and a possible stock market value of $15 billion to $20 billion.

BP Amoco

(BPA)

shaved off 2 1/8 to 59 3/8 after it said it would offer greater concessions to federal antitrust enforcers in an attempt to save its uncertain $33.23 billion acquisition of

Atlantic Richfield

(ARC) - Get Report

, according to

The Wall Street Journal

. Separately

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

downgraded shares of Arco to market perform from buy, saying it believes the deal with BP Amoco could fall through. Shares of Arco dropped 4 1/16 to 88.

Ben & Jerry's Homemade

(BJICA)

popped 4 5/16, or 21.3%, to 24 11/16 after it said it received indications of interest to buy the company. Though potential bidders were not identified, Ben & Jerry's said they would offer significantly more than yesterday's closing share price of 21, and that it was considering the interest. For more on the news, check out additional

coverage from

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com

joint newsroom.

Carnival

(CCL) - Get Report

climbed 3 1/8, or 7%, to 48 after it announced yesterday a surprise $1.7 billion cash tender offer for

NCL Holding

(NRW)

, the parent of

Norwegian Cruise Line

. But NCL quickly responded that the so-far-unofficial offer was "inadequate." Shares of NCL climbed 1/2 to 16.

Carnival told

Reuters

it moved to make the tender offer, which expires Dec. 22, after NCL rebuffed an approach from Carnival earlier Wednesday.

Carnival said the deal would not be expected to dilute its 2000 earnings and that it could add to earnings in 2001. Earlier today, DLJ cut

NCL Holding's

(NRW)

to a market perform from a buy. Check out additional

coverage from

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com

joint newsroom.

Lycos

(LCOS)

lifted 6 1/16, or 10.4%, to 64 1/4 after it said it had agreed to a deal with

Ericsson

(ERICY)

to supply Web content to wireless products. Ericsson gained 1 5/16 to 51 9/16.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

(MWD)

said it agreed to buy hedge fund consulting firm

Graystone Partners

for an undisclosed amount. Chicago-based Graystone manages roughly $3 billion for about 30 families and follows the performance of more than 2,000 hedge fund managers.

PaineWebber

(PWJ)

slipped 5/16 to 38 3/16 after it acquired

DSI International Management

, which manages $5 billion of assets. DSI will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of its newly formed

PaineWebber Asset Management

.

Sweden-based construction company

Skanska

said

RCN

(RCNC)

has agreed to spend $3 billion to help Skanska build a fiber optic network. Shares of RCN inched up 3/16 to 45 13/16.

SmithKline Beecham

(SBH) - Get Report

gained 4 1/4, or 6.3%, to 71 1/4 after it said its CEO Jan Leschly would retire in April 2000 , opening the door to possible merger negotiations with

Glaxo Wellcome

(GLX)

. For more on the story, check out the

story from the

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com

joint newsroom.

Tosco

(TOS)

gained 1 3/4, or 6.4%, to 29 1/4 after it said it reached an agreement to buy 1,740

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report

gas stations in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Tosco said it would pay about $860 million for Exxon's system from New York through Maine, and Mobil's system from New Jersey through Virginia as well as the rights to buy undeveloped sites and Mobil's Virginia distribution terminal.

Separately,

Warburg Dillon Read

started coverage of Exxon Mobil with a buy rating and set a price target of 95. Earlier today, the company said savings from the merger are likely to top its initial annual estimate of $2.8 billion.

Webster Financial

(WBST)

slipped 1/4 to 25 13/16 after saying it will acquire

Mech Financial

(MECH)

in a $210 million stock swap. Mech moved up 2 15/16, or 8.6%, to 37 5/16.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

Best Buy

(BBY) - Get Report

dropped 4 1/4, or 6.4%, to 62 1/4 despite posting a 9.2% increase in third-quarter same-store sales.

BJ's Wholesale

(BJ) - Get Report

slipped 3/8 to 37 after it said November same-store sales rose 7%.

Commercial Intertech

(TEC)

slipped 7/16 to 11 7/8 after it said it expects fourth-quarter earnings of 41 cents to 45 cents a share, well below the current two-analyst estimate of 58 cents.

Costco

(COST) - Get Report

climbed 1/4 to 95 5/8 after it posted an 8% rise in November same-store sales.

J.C. Penney

(JCP) - Get Report

lost 1 1/2, or 6.7%, to 20 15/16 despite saying it expects an 8.7% hike in November same-store sales.

Kmart

(KM)

was unchanged at 9 3/4 after it said its November same-store sales, which rose only 1.4%, were hurt by continued warm weather.

Rex Stores

(RSC)

gained 1 1/8 to 39 13/16 after it posted third-quarter earnings of 27 cents a share, beating the eight-analyst estimate of 21 cents a share and up from the year-ago 10 cents a share.

SFX Entertainment

(SFX)

said it expects strong fourth-quarter earnings and continued growth in 2000.

Talbot's

(TLB)

lost 1 11/16 to 49 1/4 after it posted a 7.9% rise in November same-store sales.

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

fell 1.6%, to 57 5/8 after it said November same-store sales were up 6.4%.

Offerings and stock actions

Birmingham Steel

(BIR)

agreed to turn control over to a dissident group of shareholders, ending a proxy fight that began in July. Former

Nucor

(NUE) - Get Report

CEO John Correnti will immediately replace Robert Garvey as chairman and CEO.

Freenet.de

, the Internet unit of Germany's No. 3 wireless phone company,

MobilCom

, priced its initial public offering at 29 euros a share today. The more than 4 million shares, which will start trading tomorrow, will raise around $117 million for the company to fund further growth. The offering was over 50 times oversubscribed and shares reportedly already have fetched over 50 euros in pre-trading.

TheStreet.com

previewed the offering in a

story last week.

Triquint Semiconductor

(TQNT)

set a 2-for-1 stock split.

Universal

(UVV) - Get Report

fell 1/4 to 24 11/16 after it said its board approved the repurchase of up to $100 million in stock.

United Rentals

(URI) - Get Report

rose 1/4 to 19 1/16 after Chairman and CEO Bradley Jacobs said he purchased an additional 500,000 shares of the company's stock. In the last two weeks, six senior managers and one independent board member separately have bought a total of 700,000 shares of United Rentals.

United Asset Management

(UAM)

rose 15/16, or 5.1%, to 19 7/16 after it added 8 million shares to its existing repurchasing program.

Weis Markets

(WMK) - Get Report

slipped 7/16 to 41 11/16 after it said it was not for sale and would contest dissident shareholders who are seeking to oust its current board. This week, investors holding roughly 41% of Weis's stock filed a Schedule 13D-A with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

, making a motion to replace its board and spur merger talks or another business solution. Weis said it has been working with its financial advisers,

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

, to increase the value of its stock.

Analyst actions

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

started coverage of

Agco

(AG) - Get Report

with a market performance rating. Shares of Agco added 3/8 to 13 3/8.

Banc of America Securities

sliced its rating on

Arthocare

(ARTC)

to market performer from strong buy. Arthocare shares lost 8 1/4, or 14.1%, to 50 3/8.

DLJ today started coverage of

Caterpillar

(CAT) - Get Report

with a buy rating. Shares of Caterpillar gained 9/16 to 47 1/2.

DLJ initiated coverage of

CNH

(CNH)

with a market performance rating. CNH shares tacked on 1/16 to 13 13/16.

Credit Suisse First Boston

upped its rating on

Cadence Design Systems

(CDN)

to a buy from a hold. Shares of Cadence Design bounced 1, or 5.6%, to 18 5/8.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

raised its rating on

Eastman Chemical

(EMN) - Get Report

to outperform from neutral. Shares of Eastman Chemical lifted 1 15/16 to 40 3/4.

Credit Suisse First Boston analyst Tim Mahon upgraded shares of

Lattice Semiconductor

(LSCC) - Get Report

to strong buy from buy and its price target to 65 from 35. Shares of Lattice advanced 3 1/4, or 7.1%, to 48 11/16.

Lehman Brothers

raised its price target on

McDonald's

(MCD) - Get Report

to 58 from 55.

Banc of America Securities

cut McDonald's to market performer from buy. Shares of McDonald's fell 1.85 to 45 3/16.

DLJ sliced its rating on

Pepsi Bottling

(PBG)

and

Coca-Cola Enterprises

(CCE)

to market performance ratings from buys. Shares of Pepsi Bottling slid 1 1/8, or 6%, to 17 3/8, while Coca-Cola Enterprises lost 1 to 20 1/16.

Lehman Brothers

raised its rating on

Reynolds Metals

(RLM) - Get Report

to buy from outperform. Reynolds Metals shares gained 3 1/4, or 5.1%, to 66 1/4.

Merrill Lynch

initiated coverage of

Scient

(SCNT)

and

Viant

(VIAN)

with intermediate-term accumulate, long-term buy ratings. Scient shares climbed 5 1/8 to 147, while Viant rose 4 15/16, or 5.8%, to 90.

SoundView Technology

raised its price target on

Veeco

(VECO) - Get Report

to 55 from 45 and reiterated a strong buy rating. Veeco shares gained 7/8 to 41 13/16.

Miscellany

Avon

(AVP) - Get Report

said it promoted four executives to lead operations outside North America in the final stage of a revamp to boost sales. The change includes splitting its profitable Latin American region into two business units with one executive in charge of each unit, and new heads in Europe and Asia. Shares of Avon edged up 5/16 to 35 9/16.

3Com

(COMS)

hopped 7/8 to 41 1/2 after it named former

Sony

(SNE) - Get Report

executive Carl Yankowski as CEO and director of its

Palm Computing

division starting Dec. 13.

Sunoco

(SUN) - Get Report

slipped 1/16 to 25 3/16 after it said it has tapped President and COO John Drosdick to replace Chairman and CEO Robert Campbell, who will retire next year. Campbell is set to assume the role during the annual shareholder meeting in May.

As originally published this story contained an error. Please see

Corrections and Clarifications.