Market Suffers Across-the-Board Declines

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Wall Streeters followed yesterday's megadeal-muddled meander with the most harshly negative trading session in more than a month, as the downdraft many players have been hoping for heaved into clear view.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

, which

yesterday crawled across the 9000 mark behind deal-fattened

Travelers Group

(TRV) - Get Report

and

J.P. Morgan

(JPM) - Get Report

, won no such reprieve today. Travelers, its dearly beloved

Citicorp

(CCI) - Get Report

and the rest of the financial sector sledded lower, and other groups continued on yesterday's downward trajectory. The Dow lost 76.73, or 0.9%, to 8956.50, after losing as much as 139.75 to 8893.48 at its late-afternoon low. How negative a day was it? The Dow peaked in its earliest moments at 9033.97 -- up just 0.74 from yesterday's record close.

The broad

S&P 500

gave up 11.83, or 1.1%, to 1109.55 and the small-cap

Russell 2000

dropped 6.72, or 1.4%, to 475.16, but the real calamity once again was in the tech sector. The

Nasdaq Composite Index

lost 30.41, or 1.7%, to 1798.73, the large-cap

Nasdaq 100

lost 23.24, or 1.9%, to 1182.13, the

Morgan Stanley High-Tech 35

lost 14.81, or 2.8%, to 519.22 and the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

lost 12.72, or 4.2%, to 289.56.

"It may be

a

correction, but I don't think it's

the

correction," said Walter Murphy, technical analyst at

Merrill Lynch

. "We've been thinking something on the idea of 3% or 5% would be the worst case on a near-term basis, and after that you make your move to the higher highs." Those highs will be just a stop on the way to a more severe decline late in this quarter, Murphy added.

Market internals today spoke loudly of downside capitulation, with extremely negative breadth on heavy volume.

New York Stock Exchange

decliners swamped advancers by 2,095 to 875 on 670.8 million shares, with an anemic 117 new highs ahead of 26 new lows. The advance/decline line was the most downward biased since March 5's 2,143 downs to 843 ups (inspired by

Intel's

(INTC) - Get Report

earnings warning the previous evening). On the Nasdaq, 3,124 decliners overwhelmed 1,338 advancers on 783.6 million shares. New Nasdaq highs outpaced new lows by 128 to 57.

Gail Dudack, market strategist at

UBS Securities

, has been one of the Street's more bearish voices for some time. Now she seems to be getting some company. "I think it's starting to concern some of the bulls that this is getting a little bit over the top," Dudack said. "A bigger concern is: What does it mean for the longer term? I think it's really questionable. This is the first time in this seven-year economic expansion when I believe it is really difficult to forecast earnings into the future."

The Asian economic crisis is a part of the difficulty in assessing earnings, Dudack said, but it's not the main part. She said the contraction of profit margins and the increasing difficulty of achieving revenue growth are greater worries.

"I think most people expect disappointments in technology," Dudack said. "The real information in the first quarter will be to see how widespread the earnings disappointments will be in other industries."

The bond market sold off along with equities. The bellwether 30-year Treasury lost 13/32 to 103 25/32, its yield rising to 5.85%.

Elsewhere in North America, the

Toronto Stock Exchange 300

skidded 66.01 to 7579.79, and the Mexican

Bolsa

plunged 61.94 to 4862.50.

Tuesday's Company Report

By

Heather Moore
Staff Reporter

(

Earnings estimates from First Call; new highs and lows on a closing basis unless otherwise specified

.)

Looks like the little (at least littler) guys knew better and postponed Merger Monday to a post-Citicorp/Travelers Tuesday, when they could garner some attention.

The day after the biggest merger ever,

Beneficial

(BNL)

agreed to be acquired by

Household International

(HI) - Get Report

in a $8.6 billion stock swap -- creating the largest U.S. consumer-finance and credit-card business. Beneficial shareholders will receive 1.02 Household shares for each share owned. The companies said they expect the merger to add 4% to the combined company's 1999 earnings. Beneficial increased 7 7/16, or 5.7%, to 137 15/16, and Household slipped 6 to 140 3/4.

After the market yesterday turned their announced $70 billion deal into an $83 billion deal, Citicorp crumbled 15 3/8, or 8.5%, to 165 5/16 and Travelers tumbled 4 5/8, or 6.3%, to 68 3/8.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Green Tree Financial

(GNT) - Get Report

leapt 9 7/8, or 34.1%, to 38 7/8 after agreeing to be acquired by

Conseco

(CNC) - Get Report

in a stock deal valued at $6 billion. Green Tree shareholders will exchange each share for 0.92 of a share of Conseco, which lost 8 3/8, or 14.5%, to 49 3/8.

ContiFinancial

(CFN)

vaulted 2 15/16, or 9.5%, to 33 3/4 after completing its previously announced acquisition of 75% of privately held

Keystone Mortgage Partners

.

Zero

(ZRO)

grew 2 1/2, or 8.7%, to 31 3/8 after yesterday's announcement that it will be acquired by

Applied Power

(APW)

in a pooling-of-interest deal valued at $32.46 per share, or $427.4 million. Applied Power lost 13/16 to 37 3/8.

CNA Financial

(CNA) - Get Report

descended 7/16 to 154 1/16 after announcing that it will buy

Maritime Insurance

from U.K.-based

Norwich Union

for 56 million pounds, or about $96 million.

Staples

(SPLS)

added 9/16 to 22 3/4 after announcing that it will buy privately held

Quill

, an Illinois-based mail order office supply company, for $685 million in stock and cash.

Earnings reports and previews

Schlotzsky's

(BUNZ)

flourished 2 1/2, or 17%, to 17 1/4 after saying last night that it will restate its 1997 results, lowering its profit to 71 cents per share from 82 cents, because of revised accounting for its Turnkey Program. Revisions will not affect working capital or cash flow.

Motorola

(MOT)

tumbled 6 3/8, or 10.7%, to 53 1/2 after the company reported

last night first-quarter earnings of 23 cents per share -- in line with the 28-analyst estimate and below last year's 47 cents.

Hadco

(HDCO)

stumbled 3 11/16, or 9.2%, to 37 after preannouncing second-quarter earnings of 50 cents per share, which would fall below the eight-analyst prediction of 82 cents. The company said it expects the charges associated with its purchase of privately held

Continental Circuits

and facilities consolidation to total $69 million to $71 million.

Integrated Process Equipment

(IPEC)

plunged 1 5/8, or 8%, to 18 5/8 after saying last night that it expects to report a third-quarter loss of 13 to 15 cents per share. The eight-analyst prediction is for a six-cent profit. Last year, the company made 13 cents per share.

Acclaim Entertainment

(AKLM)

dropped 1/2, or 6.9%, to 6 25/32 after reporting a second-quarter loss of two cents per share, beating the five-analyst prediction of a six-cent loss. Last year, the company lost 34 cents.

Russell

(RML)

sank 1 1/16 to 25 7/8 after warning that it sees first-quarter earnings coming in at two to six cents per share, hurt by one-time charges of 14 cents per share associated with its change in CEOs, announced last week. The nine-analyst estimate is for a 19-cent profit.

Advance Micro Devices

(AMD) - Get Report

lost 1 3/16 to 29 1/4 on expectations for a disappointing first-quarter earnings report today. The 23-analyst estimate is for the company to report a 29-cent loss, 38 cents below last year's profit.

Offerings and stock actions

Cherokee

(CHKE)

grew 1 11/16, or 20.9%, to 9 13/16 after last night raising its quarterly dividend to 50 cents per share from 25 cents.

Hilton Hotels

(HLT) - Get Report

lowered 1 to 31 5/8 after announcing that its planned sale of 24 million shares has been delayed while the

Securities and Exchange Commission

reviews the company's registration.

Mesaba Holdings

(MAIR)

lifted 3/4 to 33 13/16 after last night setting a three-for-two stock split payable April 30 to shareholders of record April 17.

Analyst actions

Splash Technology Holdings

(SPLH)

swelled 2 1/8, or 13.5%, to 17 7/8 after

Bankers Trust Alex. Brown

upgraded it to buy from market performer. Yesterday, the company was chosen by

Xerox

(XRX) - Get Report

as its exclusive global partner in developing a Xerox-branded embedded controller for its next-generation color copier, scheduled for release in 1999. Xerox slipped 1 5/16 to 106 13/16 after saying that it will cut 9,000 jobs, taking a $1 billion after-tax charge.

Protein Design Labs

(PDLI) - Get Report

tanked 2 15/16, or 8.1%, to 33 5/8 after

Lehman Brothers

downgraded it to neutral from buy.

Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts

(DJT)

slumped 11/16, or 7.8%, to 8 3/16 after

Salomon Smith Barney

reiterated a sell rating and slashed its price target to 3 from 4.

TheStreet.com

reported on the action in a

story today.

Reltec

(RLT)

lost 3, or 6.9%, to 40 1/4 even though

Deutsche Morgan Grenfell

began coverage with an accumulate and Salomon Smith Barney started coverage with a buy.

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

decreased 1 1/16 to 39 5/16 after

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

downgraded it to outperform from strong buy.

First Data

(FDC) - Get Report

picked up 7/8 to 32 1/8 after

Bear Stearns

upped it to buy from attractive.

DSC Communications

(DIGI)

fell 3/4 to 18 1/4 after Salomon Smith Barney downgraded it to neutral from outperform.

Safeguard Scientifics

(SFE) - Get Report

added 7/8 to 37 3/8 after Salomon Smith Barney initiated coverage with a buy.

D.R. Horton

(DHI) - Get Report

skidded 9/16 to 21 1/8 after BT Alex. Brown raised it to strong buy from buy.

Miscellany

Computer Learning Centers

(CLCX)

plunged 4 11/16, or 26.6%, to 13 after the

Illinois Board of Education

ordered the company to suspend all marketing and student enrollment activities for its Schaumburg, Ill., location. The company said some of the board's compliance concerns are similar to those raised by the state attorney general last month.

Ciena

(CIEN) - Get Report

rocketed 3 9/16, or 9.3%, to 42 after landing a $13 million contract to supply its Multiwave 4000 dense wavelength division multiplexing system to privately held

Digital Teleport

.

Ucar International

(UCR)

rose 2 5/16, or 7.1%, to 35 1/8 after saying it will plead guilty to antitrust charges brought by the

Justice Department

. The company agreed to pay a $110 million fine over six years.

DuPont

(DD) - Get Report

expanded 4 13/16, or 7.1%, to 72 1/2 after announcing a restructuring plan that will align its chemicals and specialties business into three groups.

CBS

(CBS) - Get Report

gained 7/16 to 35 13/16 after saying it will name Mel Karmazin president and COO. The company also announced it will name Leslie Moonves president and CEO of its

CBS Television

division.

Sara Lee

(SLE)

added 15/16 to 62 15/16 after selling its Dutch-based hand-rolling tobacco business,

Douwe Egberts Van Nelle

, to Britain's

Imperial Tobacco

for 652 million pounds, or $1.1 billion.