Most Major Indices Tumble

Only the Russell manages to eke out a small gain.
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The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

snapped its eight-session winning streak today and fell modestly, while the small-cap

Russell 2000

was the lone major market barometer to end the session on the plus side.

The Russell today closed up 1.49, or 0.4%, to 411.90. The Russell, however, is down about 6% for 1998.

The Dow, meanwhile, surrendered 46.35, or 0.5%, to 9274.63.

Elsewhere, the

S&P 500

slumped 9.88, or 0.8%, to 1231.93. The

Nasdaq Composite Index

tumbled 14.83, or 0.7%, to 2166.94.

As for the Internet stocks: They suffered a beating.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index plunged 29.72, or 6.8%, to 405.97.

In the news, this afternoon the

Justice Department

gave conditional approval to

AT&T's

(T) - Get Report

proposed $48 billion purchase of

TCI

(TCOMA)

. Earlier in the day, the

Federal Trade Commission

gave a conditional OK to

British Petroleum's

(BP) - Get Report

proposed acquisition of

Amoco

(AN) - Get Report

, a deal valued at roughly $55 billion.

The 30-year Treasury bond, meanwhile, advanced handsomely. The long bond was lately up 20/32 to 102 16/32, yielding 5.09%.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

, advancers beat decliners 1,593 to 1,388 on 598 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

, winners beat losers 2,169 to 2,084 on 924 million shares.

On the NYSE, 122 issues set new 52-week highs while 55 touched new lows. On the Nasdaq, 140 issues set new highs while new lows totaled 103.

On the Big Board,

America Online

(AOL)

was most active, with 27.9 million shares changing hands. It fell 6 11/16 to 147 15/16.

On the Nasdaq,

Genesis Direct

(GEND)

was most active, with 21.8 million shares changing hands. It was up 2 3/4, or 38.9%, to 9 7/8. The stock had surged as high as 18 at one point during the session.

Market data above are preliminary. Updated numbers and analysis will follow in the Market Roundup

.

3:00 p.m.: Russell Clings to Small Gains

Internet stocks plunged while the major stock market gauges were mostly lower with the exception of the small-cap

Russell 2000

, which was clinging to positive territory.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was down 28 to 408. Recent news from

America Online

(AOL)

, which said that worldwide membership of its AOL service has exceeded 15 million, did little to help the stock. The stock, a component of the TheStreet.com index, was lately down 8 5/8 to 146. It was also the most active on the

New York Stock Exchange

with 24 million shares changing hands.

In August 1994 AOL said it had more than 1 million members. It passed the 10-million-member mark on Nov. 17, 1997. On Nov. 12, 1998, AOL announced it exceeded 14 million members worldwide. AOL said its growth from 14 million to 15 million members was the fastest addition of 1 million new subscribers in its history.

Meanwhile, the Russell was lately up 1 to 412.

Elsewhere, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was down 7 to 9314, while the

S&P 500

was down 4 to 1238. The

Nasdaq Composite Index

was down 7 to 2175.

The 30-year Treasury bond was lately up 18/32 to 102 15/32, yielding 5.09%.

On the Big Board, advancers were beating decliners 1,566 to 1,377 on 461 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

losers were beating winners 2,091 to 1,995 on 734 million shares.

On the NYSE, 102 issues had set new 52-week highs while 52 had touched new lows. On the Nasdaq, 121 issues had set new highs while new lows totaled 89.

Traders today have attributed some of the market's weakness to tax selling.

Jim Herrick, managing director of trading at

Robert W. Baird

in Milwaukee, said there's still some tax-loss selling going on today in some of the beaten-up sectors of the market.

"You see it up to the last day of the year," he said.

One of those sectors that is suffering are the oil drillers. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index

was down 2%.

Also on the downside, brokerage stocks were off big. The

American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index

was down 4%

As for the Internet stocks, weakness there has been blamed today on some articles in

The Wall Street Journal

about cyberspace stocks.

As for tomorrow's session, the last of the year, Herrick said that since everyone's expecting the market to be stronger, if anything, the window dressing will be on the downside.

On the Nasdaq,

Genesis Direct

(GEND)

was most active, with 20 million shares changing hands. It was up 3 9/16, or 50%, to 10 13/16.

2:00 p.m.: Internet Stocks Continue to Get Hammered

While the major stock market barometers were mostly weaker -- with the exception of the small-cap

Russell 200

, which was holding on in positive territory -- Internet stocks were getting pounded.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was down 27 to 409. The biggest losers in the index were

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

and

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

. Yahoo! was down 16 7/8, or 6%, to 252 7/8, while Amazon.com was off 15 7/164 to 316.

Meanwhile, the Russell was up fractionally to 411. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was down 12 to 9309, while the

S&P 500

was down 4 to 1238. The

Nasdaq Composite Index

was down 9 to 2172.

The 30-year Treasury bond was lately up 16/32 to 102 13/32, yielding 5.10%.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

, advancers were narrowly beating decliners 1,470 to 1,399 on 384 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

losers were beating winners 2,101 to 1,894 on 624 million shares.

On the NYSE, 92 issues had set new 52-week highs while 42 had touched new lows. On the Nasdaq, 105 issues had set new highs while new lows totaled 78.

On the Big Board,

America Online

(AOL)

was most active, with 20 million shares changing hands. It was down 9 1/4 to 145 9/16.

On the Nasdaq,

Genesis Direct

(GEND)

was most active, with 19 million shares changing hands. It was up 3 11/16, or 52%, to 10 13/16.

Focus: FTC Gives BP-Amoco Deal Conditional OK

The

Federal Trade Commission

today gave a conditional OK to

British Petroleum's

(BP) - Get Report

proposed acquisition of

Amoco

(AN) - Get Report

, a transaction valued at roughly $55 billion.

Another proposed oil patch marriage also needs approval from regulators at the FTC. That planned little merger, of course, is the approximately $80 billion link-up between

Exxon

(XON) - Get Report

and

Mobil

(MOB)

.

BP and Amoco agreed to make certain divestitures and to free up more than 1,600 gas stations in 30 markets in order to satisfy antitrust concerns, the FTC said. Under the proposed agreement, BP and Amoco would divest 134 gas stations in eight markets and nine light petroleum products terminals, or storage facilities. Also, in the 30 markets, the companies would make it easier for independent retail dealers to switch their gasoline stations to other brands.

British Petroleum was lately down 5 1/4 to 84 11/16, while Amoco fell 2 3/16 to 55 13/16.

Meanwhile, Exxon was lately down 11/16 to 74 15/16, while Mobil fell 1 3/16 to 88 1/2.

Among some other oil stocks,

Chevron

(CHV)

was down 3/8 to 84 3/4 and

Texaco

(TX) - Get Report

was up 1/2 to 53 9/16.

1:16 p.m.: Midday Musings: Net Stocks Succumb to Selling; Broad Market Drifts

12:04 p.m.: Nasdaq Stumbles into Negative Territory

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

,

S&P 500

and

Nasdaq Composite Index

were weaker late this morning while the

Russell 2000

was slightly above water.

The Dow was down 28 to 9293, while the S&P 500 was down 6 to 1236. The Nasdaq Comp was down 9 to 2173, while the Russell was up fractionally to 411.

Internet stocks were taking a battering again today.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was down 30 to 405.

The 30-year Treasury bond was lately up 17/32 to 102 13/32, yielding 5.10%.

Market internals were split.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

, advancers were beating decliners 1,350 to 1,320 on 239 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

losers were beating winners 1,957 to 1,703 on 405 million shares.

On the NYSE, 73 issues had set new 52-week highs while 36 had touched new lows. On the Nasdaq, 88 issues had set new highs while new lows totaled 53.

On the Big Board,

America Online

(AOL)

was most active, with 10 million shares changing hands. It was down 16 5/8 to 138 1/2.

On the Nasdaq,

Genesis Direct

(GEND)

was most active, with 16 million shares changing hands. It was up 4 3/4, or 67%, to 11 7/8. More on Genesis Direct below.

Tech Focus

Among the major market indices, the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Computer Box Maker Index

was up fractionally, the

Morgan Stanley High-Tech 35

was down fractionally and the

Nasdaq 100

was down 1%. The Nasdaq 100 earlier in the session hit a 52-week intraday high at 1842.91.

Meanwhile, the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

was enjoying solid gains, up 2%.

Among the big Nasdaq tech titans,

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

was down 7/8 to 73 11/16;

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

was down 7/16 to 140;

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

was down 11/16 to 92 13/16; and

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

was flat at 121.

As for Genesis Direct, before the open

Excite

(XCIT)

and Genesis Direct, a direct merchandiser, announced an e-commerce deal to bring 20 Genesis Direct brands, including

proteam.com

, the Web site for Genesis Direct's

800-PROTEAM

sports brand, to Excite's flagship portal services,

excite.com

and

webcrawler.com

. Excite was down 3 3/8 to 45 1/4.

Elsewhere in cyberspace stock land,

Inktomi

(INKT)

was flying, up 6, or 5%, to 133 7/16. Yesterday the company set a 2-for-1 stock split.

In the Newsletters

Computer Retail Week

has released its annual "Top 100 Retailers" survey, which will be published in the Jan. 4 issue but is currently available on its Web site.

The top 10 retailers in terms of projected sales:

CompUSA

(CPU)

, $5.75 billion;

Best Buy

(BBY) - Get Report

, $3.93 billion;

Office Depot

(ODP) - Get Report

, $2.9 billion;

Micro Warehouse

(MWHS)

, $2.32 billion;

Circuit City

(CC) - Get Report

, $2.08 billion;

Staples

(SPLS)

, $1.91 billion;

CDW Computer Centers

(CDWC)

, $1.67 billion;

OfficeMax

(OMX)

, $1.24 billion;

Micro Center

, $1.1 billion; and

Global Direct Mail

(GML)

, $1.08 billion.

11:00 a.m.: Stocks Narrowly Mixed in Thin Trading

Stocks were mixed at midmorning while the

Federal Trade Commission

, as expected, conditionally approved

British Petroleum's

(BP) - Get Report

proposed acquisition of

Amoco

(AN) - Get Report

.

British Petroleum and Amoco agreed to make certain divestitures and to free up more than 1,600 gas stations in 30 markets in order to satisfy antitrust concerns, the FTC said. Under the proposed agreement, BP and Amoco would divest 134 gas stations in eight markets and nine light petroleum products terminals. Also, in the 30 markets, the companies would make it easier for independent retail dealers to switch their gasoline stations to other brands.

British Petroleum was lately down 3 5/16 to 86 5/8, while Amoco fell 15/16 to 57 1/16.

Meanwhile, the major stock market gauges were narrowly mixed, with the

Nasdaq Composite Index

and small-cap

Russell 2000

clinging to positive territory while the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

and

S&P 500

slumped.

The Nasdaq Comp was lately up 4 to 2186, while the Russell was up fractionally to 411. The Dow was down 20 to 9301, while the S&P 500 was down 3 to 1239.

As for activity, participants say it's relatively quiet overall as the market drifts into the end of the year with a good number of market players sitting on the sidelines.

"There's not much going on," said Peter Coolidge, managing director of equity trading at

Brean Murray Foster Securities

. He said he thinks there will be a flurry of activity tomorrow, with last-minute tax-selling and players adding to positions on the last trading day of the year.

Coolidge said, "'98 is going out the way it came in," with the big tech stocks continuing to shine.

Among the tech bellwethers,

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

was up 3/8 to 74 7/8;

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

was up 1 15/16 to 142 7/16;

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

was up 5/16 to 93 13/16; and

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

was up 9/16 to 121 5/8.

Internet stocks were mostly lower, with some notable exceptions on the upside.

The

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was down 10 to 425.

The 30-year Treasury bond was lately up 14/32 to 102 11/32, yielding 5.10%.

Market breadth was divided.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

, advancers were beating decliners 1,270 to 1,230 on 154 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

losers were beating winners 1,735 to 1,553 on 261 million shares.

On the NYSE, 64 issues had set new 52-week highs while 28 had touched new lows. On the Nasdaq, 78 issues had set new highs while new lows totaled 35.

On the Big Board,

America Online

(AOL)

was most active, with 5 million shares changing hands. It was down 4 3/16 to 150 9/16.

On the Nasdaq,

Genesis Direct

(GEND)

was most active, with 12 million shares changing hands. It was up 5, or 71%, to 12 1/8. Before the open,

Excite

(XCIT)

and Genesis Direct, a direct merchandiser, announced an e-commerce deal to bring 20 Genesis Direct brands, including

proteam.com

, the Web site for Genesis Direct's

800-PROTEAM

sports brand, to Excite's flagship portal services,

excite.com

and

webcrawler.com

. Excite was down 5/8 to 48 1/16.

Elsewhere in cyberspace stock land,

Inktomi

(INKT)

was flying, up 14 1/8, or 11%, to 141 5/8. Yesterday the company set a 2-for-1 stock split.

9:57 p.m.: S&P, Nasdaq Build on Tuesday's Record Close

The major stock market indices were narrowly mixed in the early going in the wake of yesterday's record-setting closes for the

S&P 500

and the

Nasdaq Composite Index

.

The S&P 500 was lately up 2 to 1243. The Nasdaq Comp was up 4 to 2186.

The blue-chip

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was down 12 to 9309. The small-cap

Russell 2000

was up fractionally at 411.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was down 5 to 431.

The 30-year Treasury bond was lately up 7/32 to 102 4/32, yielding 5.11%.

Most Up at Open -- NYSE

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) - Get Report, up 1 1/8 to 28 1/2

.

Most Up at Open -- Nasdaq

Inktomi (INKT) , up 17 1/4 to 144 1/4

: The company yesterday set a 2-for-1 stock split.

Most Down at Open -- NYSE

SunAmerica (SAI) , down 1 3/16 to 83 1/4

.

Most Down at Open -- Nasdaq

SkyMall (SKYM) , down 5 1/2 to 35 1/4

.