SAN FRANCISCO -- Just one look at the latest seemingly outlandish price target is all it took for investors to get the
Nasdaq Composite Index
over 4000. After three straight near misses, the Comp closed above 4000 for the first time today in a rally inspired largely by
1,000 price target on
In a reversal of
yesterday's session, the Comp gained strength in the final hour of trading while the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
stumbled. The Dow managed to scratch out its third record in the past four trading days -- closing up 7.95 to 11,484.66 -- but finished well off its session high of 11,543.08.
The tech-avenged Comp climbed 69.35, or 1.7%, to 4041.46, sparked by Qualcomm, which leapt 31% to 659 in the fallout from PaineWebber's call.
Less dramatically-- but along the same lines --
rose 13.1% to 249 1/8 after
Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette
upped its price target to 300 from 190.
climbed 109.73, or 3.1%, to a record 3689.52, getting assistance from tech bellwethers such as
, along with Qualcomm and DoubleClick.
Today's market: Join the discussion on
Qualcomm also gave a boost to
Red Hots index, which rose 30.05, or 7%, to 462.68. The 20-stock index tracks action in particularly volatile stocks and is meant to measure so-called hot money. (You can check quotes on the Red Hots index and its component stocks at
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
index rose 40.25, or 3.6%, to a record 1162.22, inspired by Yahoo! as well as
. The retailer rose 40% after
reported a heavy jump in visitors to the site for the week ended Dec. 19.
American Express Captains Dow's Advance
Dow gainers included
The index's latest attempt at all-time highs was nearly sabotaged by slumping consumer giants
Procter & Gamble
Johnson & Johnson
rose quietly further into record-setting territory, up 5.74, or 0.4%, to 1463.40. Even the
got into the record books, rising 8.53, or 1.8%, to 497.01. It eclipsed at long last the previous record, 491.41, set
April 21, 1998.
AmEx's gain aside, banking stocks enjoyed only a mild rise despite the bond market's rally. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond rose 13/32 to 95 25/32, its yield declining to 6.45%. Still, the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange/KBW Bank Index
rose just 0.5%.
American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index
climbed 5.8%, thanks largely to
, which rose 16% after forecasting its fourth-quarter earnings will exceed the consensus estimate.
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
was another standout in the sector, rising 3.5%.
In the online financial sphere,
was the standout performer, rising 69% after announcing plans to launch online banking and brokerage services aimed at businesses.
Many Records, Little Volume
Today's contingent of all-time highs for major averages was set amid declining trading levels, reflecting the quasi-holiday atmosphere on Wall Street.
New York Stock Exchange
trading, 567.9 million shares were exchanged while advancers led declining stocks 1,989 to 1,095. In
Nasdaq Stock Market
action, 1.157 billion shares traded while gainers led 2,455 to 1,800. New 52-week lows bested new highs 236 to 98 on the Big Board while new highs led 223 to 110 in over-the-counter trading.
"Desk are already starting to trim," said Jay Meagrow, vice president of trading at
in Cleveland, who noted his desk was nonetheless "swamped" today. Big Board volume is "probably going to lessen tomorrow and if we get people to stop putting 1,000 targets on Nasdaq stocks, that volume will slow down, too."
Marveling at the Nasdaq, Meagrow forecast that tech "probably carries us" through the end of the week. Furthermore, "I don't see a whole lot stopping this
market unless everything stops working" at midnight Dec. 31.
Meagrow saw no discernable trend today but another trader -- who requested anonymity -- noted that "all the garbage, the stuff nobody wants, is up today."
Some previously out-of-favor stocks finding some bidders today included
. (For more on out-of-favor stocks, see
story on value investing in the face of the screaming Nasdaq. It's part of our
Nasdaq 4000 package.)
The trader also mentioned
which closed off its session high of 67 9/16 but still up a solid 2.5% to 65 7/8. Similarly, the
Morgan Stanley Cyclical Index
rose 1% to 579.95 after trading as high as 584.64.
Among other indices,
Dow Jones Transportation Average
slid 2.52, or 0.1%, to 2941.99; the
Dow Jones Utility Average
fell 1.41, or 0.5%, to 281.60; and the
American Stock Exchange Composite Index
gained 9.33, or 1.1%, to a record 851.86.
Elsewhere in North American equities, the
Toronto Stock Exchange 300
gained 19.65 to a record 8472.58 and the
Mexican Stock Exchange IPC Index
jumped 114.04, or 1.6%, to a record 7121.79.
Wednesday's Company Report
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.
Shares of super-stock Qualcomm were on the fly again, soaring 156, or 31%, to 659 after PaineWebber analyst Walter Piecyk initiated coverage of the stock by setting a 12-month price target of 1000. Qualcomm led the way up on the Nasdaq, as the Comp managed to close above 4,000 for the first time. Piecyk started coverage with a buy rating, stating, "we believe it represents an appropriate way to invest in the long-term growth trends of wireless and data."
Qualcomm is the developer of the wireless technology code division multiple access, or CDMA, and Piecyk wrote that he believes "by the end of the next decade, 85% of phones sold will use CDMA technology (up from 18% today)." Shares of Qualcomm soared 156, or 31%, to 656.
Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures
inched up 1/2 to 30 3/4 after it said it would extend its offer for
until Jan. 20. Shorewood slipped 0.8%, to 18 7/8. Yesterday, Shorewood's board asked shareholders to turn down the hostile $500 million offer from Chesapeake, calling it inadequate.
Shorewood requested that shareholders vote against replacing its current board with members hand picked by Chesapeake. Shorewood said it has held preliminary negotiations with other interested buyers but said that the company is not for sale.
Separately, Chesapeake said it plans to assume a one-time post-tax charge of roughly $21 million, or $1.19 a share, in the fourth quarter due to restructuring changes. The company said it would shut down a Mechanicsburg, Pa., assembly facility, which would reduce its workforce by 5%, or 135 employees. Chesapeake said the restructuring would result in a yearly pretax saving of roughly $11 million, or 40 cents a diluted share. Chesapeake said it sees 1999 fiscal earnings of $1.85 to $2.00 a share, which excludes any non recurring gains and restructuring charges. The six-analyst estimate sees the company posting 1999 earnings of $1.96 a share, down from the year-ago $1.98 a share. Chesapeake said it also plans to assume a post-tax charge of roughly $6 million "for certain costs" involving its offer for Shorewood.
For more on this
story, check out the coverage provided by
fell 1/2 to 60 5/16 after it said 98.7% of its shareholders favored its planned $37 billion merger with
. Viacom, which slipped 5/16 to 58, said that roughly 99.7% of its Class-A shareholders showed their approval for the transaction.
cable unit entered a new long-term agreement, which calls for Fox stations' programming to be carried by
Time Warner Cable
, according to a report in
The Wall Street Journal
. News Corp. was unchanged at 38 9/16, while Time Warner climbed 11/16 to 70 5/16.
fell 1/16 to 10 1/4 after saying it is buying
for $87.9 million. CNY edged up 15/16, or 5.5%, to 18.
Earnings/revenue reports and previews
shed 8 1/4, or 21.6%, to 29 15/16 after it said its fourth-quarter earnings will miss the nine-analyst estimate of 30 cents a share by as much as 10 cents to 15 cents. The company said the shortfall was largely caused by lower margin levels, though it said it was acting to correct the margin shortfall. Antec said it will take a fourth-quarter restructuring charge of $16 million and that fourth-quarter revenue will be above third-quarter revenue, and almost twice that of the year-ago period.
Charles Schwab popped 5 5/8, or 16.4%, to 39 15/16, after saying it expects to post fourth-quarter net income of 19 cents to 20 cents a share, which would put it ahead of the 13-analyst estimate of 17 cents and above the year-ago 12 cents. Schwab also expects full-year earnings to come in between 69 cents and 70 cents a share, which would put it ahead of the 13-analyst estimate of 67 cents and the year-ago 42 cents.
For more on Schwab's earnings, take a look at the
story written by
Offerings and stock actions
gained 2 1/8 to 58 1/8 after it said it set a 2-for-1 stock split.
Oregon Steel Mills
slipped 1/8 to 7 7/8, after it said its board adopted a shareholder rights plan to protect the company in the event of a hostile takeover bid, but added that it knew of no such action. Under terms of the plan, one preferred stock purchase right will be distributed for each share of common stock outstanding at the close of business Jan. 12.
Banc of America Securities
upped its price target on
to 150 from 100 and raised its fiscal 2000 earnings estimate to $2.32 a share from $2.20. Shares jumped 5 7/16, or 6.5%, to 88 11/16.
Warburg Dillon Read
upped its fourth-quarter earnings estimates on
to 41 cents a share from 36 cents. Calpine lost 1 7/8 to 58.
sliced its price target on
to 26 from 36 but raised it fiscal 1999 EPS estimate to 26 cents a share from 23 cents and its fiscal 2000 earnings estimate to 45 cents a share from 42 cents. Coca Cola slipped 1/2 to 20 1/8.
DLJ upped its six- to 12-month price target on DoubleClick to 300 from 190. Shares popped 28 3/4, or 13.1%, to 249 1/8.
analyst Jeffrey Kauffman cut his intermediate-term rating on shares of
Eagle USA Airfreight
to neutral from accumulate. Eagle dropped 4 7/8, or 10.2%, to 42 29/32.
Credit Suisse First Boston
started coverage of
Fifth Third Bancorp
with a hold rating. Shares climbed 1 1/8 to 72 3/4 despite the rating.
said it maintains its
buy rating but cut its fourth-quarter estimate to 69 cents from 74 cents and its 2000 estimate to $2.45 a share from $2.50. Yesterday, the company said slow December sales and distribution problems could trim its fiscal 1999 earnings by 10 cents a share.
reduced its price target on the stock to 48 from 54, while
cut its fourth-quarter estimate to 69 cents from 81 cents a share. Merrill lowered its 2000 EPS estimate to $2.25 to $2.35 a share from a range of $2.40 to $2.50. Shares of Hershey fell 1 1/2 to 46 5/16.
Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown
sliced its first-quarter earnings estimates on
to 45 cents a share from 55 cents and its 2000 estimate to $1.65 a share from $1.75. Indiana slipped 1/8 to 18.
Banc of America Securities started coverage of
at buy and set a price target of 86. Shares of Intraware shot up 23 3/16, or 49.3%, to 68 13/16.
sliced its rating on
to market perform from market outperform and cut its fiscal 2000 estimates to 95 cents a share from $1.05. Last night, Sodexho Marriott warned investors that first-quarter earnings would be roughly 5% below the two-analyst consensus estimate of 47 cents a share.
The company blamed softer-than-expected operating margins in its corporate services business, start-up costs for new contracts and Y2K expenses for the disappointing results. The company said its disappointing first quarter could cause fiscal 2000 earnings to fall roughly 5% below the three-analyst consensus estimate of $1.05 a share.
Banc of America sliced its first-quarter earnings estimates on the stock to 44 cents a share from 46 cents and its fiscal 2000 EPS to $1.04 a share from $1.06. Shares of Sodexho Marriott lost 5/8 to 13 9/16.
Lehman Brothers sliced its fiscal 1999 estimate on
to $2.10 a share from $2.20 and its 2000 estimate to $2.35 a share from $2.60. Shares of W.W. Grainger skidded 1/2 to 48.
PaineWebber raised its price target on
to 65 from 36. Shares of Xceed lifted 1 3/16 to 37 9/16.
have asked a
U.S. District Court of Appeals
in the District of Columbia to throw out a
Federal Communications Commission
decision, which enables
to provide long-distance service in New York. AT&T and Covad are trying to push back Bell Atlantic's debut as a long-distance carrier in New York until their dispute is resolved.
According to the 1996 Telecommunications Act, Bell Atlantic cannot be a long-distance voice and data-service provider for any of the 13 states in which it offers local service until it allows competitors into the local networks. The FCC gave its approval to Bell Atlantic, saying it provided rivals with equal access into 14 key areas of the local network in New York. AT&T and Covad claim that Bell Atlantic has not offered them an entrance into areas of the network they wanted to lease to compete in the local market. Shares of AT&T edged up 3/16 to 50 13/16, while Covad Communications added 1 7/16 to 54 1/16. Bell Atlantic slid 7/16 to 61 3/4.
declined 1/4 to 9 1/8 after it said it would reduce its workforce by 120 jobs, or 12%, in order to cut costs by roughly $4.4 million. The company said the restructuring, which would result in a pretax charge of $780,000 in the fourth quarter, would end up saving $3.3 million in 2000. Highlands said the restructuring would begin in January.
submitted a new drug application to the
Food and Drug Administration
for ziconotide, a potential treatment for intractable pain. Shares of Elan gained 9/16 to 28 11/16.
Wall Street analysts who write research reports criticizing companies have run the risk of being derided by institutional investor clients, blocked from company conference calls and even fired, but now libel suits from these companies are posing a new problem for analysts, the Heard on the Street column in
The Wall Street Journal
The column pointed to a defamation suit filed by
Sunrise Technologies International
Sturza's Institutional Research
Avalon Research Group
, two firms that issued separate reports on Sunrise this summer questioning the profit potential of the company. Shares of Sunrise Technologies shed 7/16 to 12.
For more on Sunrise, check out
United Parcel Service
mounted 3/8 to 69 3/8 after it said it hiked delivery rates in a move toward its annual year-end adjustment. UPS said higher fuel prices were not the main reason for the increase and that the company has "historically" upped rates at the end of the year. UPS said it raised its air express rates for UPS Next Day Air, 2nd Day Air and 3 Day Select commercial services by 3.5%, up from the year-ago 2.5% hike. The company also raised ground commercial rates by 3.1%, up from the year-ago average hike of 2.5%, while taking its international export rates from the U.S. up to 2.9%. The export increase is the first in three years. UPS said labor and other human costs account for the company's biggest expenses.