Nasdaq Closes at All-Time High

Helping power the Comp to its record were semiconductor and telecommunications stocks.
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A month and a day after it last closed at an all-time high, the

Nasdaq Composite Index

did it again, and in the process left the rest of the market's major gauges far, far, behind.

The Nasdaq Comp today beat its Sept. 10 closing high of 2887.06. Helping power the Comp to its record in part were semiconductor and telecommunications stocks.

Meanwhile, today

Federal Reserve

Chairman

Alan Greenspan

delivered a speech to a gathering of the

American Bankers Association

in Phoenix. However, the Fed chief didn't jabber about monetary policy.

Looking ahead, earnings season swings into high gear this week with a boatload of companies reporting, including several major tech-sector giants.

Lehman Ups Some Offshore Drillers; National Oilwell, Hitec ASA to Merge

Lehman Brothers

upgraded its investment opinion to outperfrom from neutral and raised its 2000 and 2001 earnings estimates for offshore drillers

Ensco

(ESV)

,

Global Marine

(GLM)

,

Noble Drilling

(NE) - Get Report

and

Rowan

(RDC)

. All four stocks surged on the news. Global Marine, Noble Drilling and Rowan are all components of the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index

, and their sharp gains pushed the index up sharply higher. The index skyrocketed 8.8%.

Lehman raised its 2000 estimate for Ensco to 15 cents a share from a loss of 10 cents and its 2001 estimate to 85 cents from 55 cents. Global Marine's 2000 estimate was increased to 45 cents from 30 cents, and its 2001 estimate to 90 cents from 75 cents. Noble Drilling's 2000 estimate was raised to 85 cents from 75 cents, and its 2001 estimate to $1.20 from $1.10. Rowan's 2000 estimate was raised to 20 cents from a projected loss of 10 cents, and its 2001 estimate was upped to 90 cents from 60 cents.

In other news,

National Oilwell

(NOI)

and Norweigan oil service company

Hitec ASA

announced early Monday a definitive merger agreement valued at about $125 million. Each Hitec share will be exchanged for 0.21259 of a National Oilwell share plus 50 cents. Hitec, which supplies automation and remote control technologies for offshore oil and gas drilling and production, expects to sell its non-drilling-related business to a new holding company effective with the acquisition.

National Oilwell's offer, expected to be approved by the Hitec board, represents a 25% premium based on the last 20 trading days, the companies said. National Oilwell was up 5% to 13 1/8.

--

Mavis Scanlon

Market Internals

Breadth was mixed and volume was less than vigorous.

New York Stock Exchange:

1,364 advancers, 1,567, decliners, 655.4 million shares. 42 new 52-week highs, 113 new lows.

Nasdaq Stock Market

: 1,953 advancers, 1,882 decliners, 862.3 million shares. 139 new highs, 72 new lows.

Sector Watch

Airline, bank and insurance stocks were dogs, while semiconductor, telecom, and gold mining issues all rallied.

On the downside, the

American Stock Exchange Airline Index

was down 3%, taking a break from its recent advance. Banks slumped. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange/KBW Bank Index

slumped 1.6%. Insurance stocks, which have suffered severely lately, reacquainted themselves with the downside after repairing some of the damage the sector has suffered recently. The S&P Insurance Index slumped 1.5%.

On an up note, the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

rallied 2.3%. Index component

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

advanced ahead of its slated earnings release, scheduled for tomorrow. The

First Call/Thomson Financial

27-analyst estimate calls for Intel to earn 57 cents in the third quarter. Intel was up 13/16 to 76 1/2.

Elsewhere in the semiconductor sector,

Motorola

(MOT)

is also slated to report earnings tomorrow. The 27-analyst estimate calls for the company to earn 53 cents a share. Motorola was up 3 5/8 to 96 5/8.

The

Nasdaq Telecommunications Index

rose 2.1%. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Gold and Silver Index

was up 4%.

Bonds/Economy

The bond market was closed in observance of Columbus Day. Looking ahead on the economic front, a couple of key economic reports are slated to be released later this week. On Thursday, the September

retail sales

report is scheduled to hit the market, while on Friday, the

Producer Price Index

is slated to be released.

International

In Europe, major markets closed mostly higher. London's

FTSE

gained 0.6% to 6234.8, while France's

CAC

posted a slight gain to close at the 4722.35 level. Germany's

Dax

, however, slumped 0.1% to 5414.50.

In Asia, Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

tumbled 0.9% to close at 12,992.72. Meanwhile, the Japanese stock market was closed for a national holiday and will reopen tomorrow. The

Nikkei

closed Friday down 0.4% to 18,062.18.

Currencies

The dollar was down against the yen while the euro advanced. The dollar was at 106.83 yen, down from late trading on Friday. The euro was at $1.0645.

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

Earlier...

3:08 p.m.: Nasdaq Climbs Back Toward Session Highs

The

Nasdaq Composite Index

was making an assault on its session highs going into the final hour of trading after losing some momentum earlier this afternoon.

2:03 p.m.: Stocks Mixed as Nasdaq Remains in Record Territory

Indeed the

Nasdaq Composite Index

is trading in record territory, but the index's advance was modest at best, as overall major stock proxies were mixed this afternoon.

1:16 p.m.: Midday Musings: Bereft of Bond Influence, Stocks Drift

12:01 p.m.: Nasdaq Remains in Record Territory

Major stock proxies were higher going into the lunch hour as the

Nasdaq Composite Index

was trading in record territory.

11:00 a.m.: Nasdaq Zooms Past All-Time Closing High

The

Nasdaq Composite Index

was continuing its recent winning streak and was trading above its all-time closing high at midmorning and was also outperforming the rest of the market's major gauges.

9:58 a.m.: Stocks Open Little Changed

Major market barometers weren't moving much early on as earnings season kicks into gear this week.