Nasdaq Skitters Away From 4000 While Dow Sets New Standard

Nervous market hands couldn't hold onto the slippery 4000 mark, raising questions of psychological resistance.
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Considering it's up 81.2% year-to-date, it's really hard to feel sorry for the

Nasdaq Composite Index

today, what with it failing to close above 4000 for the first time ever and all.

A late-session stumble took the Nasdaq Comp well off its highs and eventually drove it into the red, skewering its quest to close above 4K. The Comp fell 3.27 to 3972.11.

Going into the final hour of trading, it looked like the Comp was actually going to do it, despite stumbling early in the session. But sellers emerged late in the day, dumping tech stocks and torpedoing the Comp.

Meanwhile, while some eyes were focused on the progress of the Comp and whether or not it would close above 4000, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

easily surpassed its previous all-time closing high level and made a solid advance on the day.

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The Comp slumped early on, bottoming out for the day within a half-hour of the open with a loss of 32.34 to 3943.04. But that didn't last long, however, as traders and investors jumped back into the market sending the Comp back into the green, where it spent most of the rest of the day. The Comp peaked at 4022.51, an all-time intraday high, around 2 p.m. EST.

Meanwhile, the Dow rose 85.63, or 0.8%, to a record 11,476.71, powered by beefy gains in

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report



(AA) - Get Report


United Technologies



(MMM) - Get Report






S&P 500

rose 0.57, or 0.04%, to 1457.66, just shy of an all-time closing high. The small-cap

Russell 2000

gained 4.02, or 0.8%, to 488.48. Internet Sector

index fell 7.03, or 0.6%, to 1121.97, dragged down by chunky losses in







Red Hots index slipped 0.57 to 432.63. 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 And you can help


to revamp and rename the Red Hots by

placing your vote on the site.)

As usual, there was some hairy action in select stocks.

Commerce One


, for example, which soared as high as 331 intraday, gave up a huge chunk of that advance, falling 4 1/4 to 250. It closed yesterday at 255 1/4.

Larry Rice, chief investment strategist at


, said the market right now resembles what "we've seen for two years," a market of narrowing breadth and momentum chasing fewer stocks. Going forward, he doesn't see that changing. "As we come into next year, the strong are going to get stronger," he said.

Rice said he thinks for stocks the best part of next year's going to come in the first quarter, because he sees interest rates moving higher throughout the year. However, he said "that's something I'm going to worry about" toward the end of the first quarter, but not now.

The All-Madden Team

Another market strategist echoed the two-tiered market theme.

"I really think we're dealing with two markets" trading in different ways with differing world views, said Thomas Madden, chief investment officer for U.S. equities and high yield at

Federated Investors


On one side is a conventional market, focused on conventional valuations and growth rates, said Madden. "On the other side of the road, so to speak," there are telecommunications and technology stocks. He said he thinks the market is going to continue to experience that "bifurcated behavior."

In the technology realm, Madden's a big fan of





(CSCO) - Get Report

, both of which are held in Federated portfolios.

Elsewhere, he likes


(F) - Get Report


Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report


As for the financials, he's big on





(C) - Get Report

. All of the aforementioned companies are owned by Federated, he said.

Meanwhile, the 30-year Treasury bond continued to struggle. It was down 2/32 to 95 12/32, putting its yield at 6.48%.


New York Stock Exchange

trading, 663.9 million shares were exchanged while advancing stocks beat decliners 1,565 to 1,521. In

Nasdaq Stock Market

action, 1.237 billion shares traded while losers beat winners 2,191 to 2,097. New 52-week lows beat new highs 374 to 94 on the Big Board while new highs beat new lows 236 to 141 in over-the-counter trading.

Among other indices, the

Dow Jones Transportation Average

advanced 16.83, or 0.6%, to 2944.51; the

Dow Jones Utility Average

rose 0.45 to 283.01; and the

American Stock Exchange Composite Index

slipped 0.95 to 842.53.

Elsewhere in North American equities, the

Toronto Stock Exchange 300

gained 85.69, or 1%, to a record 8452.93 and the

Mexican Stock Exchange IPC Index

mounted 21.37 to a record 7007.75.

Tuesday's Company Report

By Tara Murphy
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.



Internet Gold

(IGLD) - Get Report

minted some today, blasting up 14 3/16, or 104.8%, to 28 1/8 on news that it and


(MSFT) - Get Report

have inked a preliminary deal to create a Hebrew-language Web portal called

MSN Israel


The portal would offer news,


free email, instant messaging and e-commerce services in Hebrew. According to the deal's terms, Internet Gold would take a 50.1% stake in the new company, with Microsoft holding the remaining 49.9%. Shares of Microsoft slid 1 3/4 to 117 1/2.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Associates First Capital


is acquiring


(KEY) - Get Report

credit card portfolio of about $1.3 billion in receivables and nearly 600,000 active Visa and MasterCard accounts. Associates First lost 1/4 to 26 9/16, while KeyCorp skidded 3/16 to 21 13/16.


, a global investment group, is acquiring



. Jostens shareholders will receive $25.25 a share in cash for 98% of the company's outstanding shares. The remaining 2% of the outstanding shares will constitute 6% of the post-takeover equity. Jostens shares added 5 15/16, or 32.4%, to 24 1/4.

Media 100


tacked up 1/4 to 27 after said it had entered a stock deal to buy

Digital Origin


. The acquisition, based on current share prices, is valued at roughly $83.1 million. Shares of Digital Origin gained 3 1/2, or 40.5%, to 12 1/8.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews



mounted 1 1/2 to 75 after said that, according to preliminary figures, the company's revenue for 1999 will rise to 148 billion euros, compared with the year-ago 131.8 billion euros. DaimlerChrysler also said the preliminary numbers indicate its operating profits in 1999 will have risen more strongly than revenue, as projected in October. DaimlerChrysler expects further increases in sales and revenue in 2000, based on the projections released today.

joint newsroom wrote about the announcement in a story

this morning.

Hershey Foods

(HSY) - Get Report

fell 2 5/16 to 47 13/16 after it cautioned investors that softer-than-expected December sales could trim 1999 earnings by 10 cents a share. Hershey said it expects fiscal 1999 earnings to be roughly 10 cents below its initial outlook of between $2.16 and $2.20 a share. The 16-analyst consensus estimate sees the company posting 1999 earnings of $2.12. The company gave a similar warning in September, blaming shipping interruptions caused by new business information systems.



, a manufacturer of electronic connectors, warned it expects to post a loss of 4 cents to 7 cents a share before restructuring costs, below the one-analyst estimate of a five-cent profit. Shares of PCD advanced 3/8, or 6.8%, to 6 1/8.



said it would assume a fourth-quarter charge of $3.5 million as a result of restructuring charges after its purchase of chip maker


. Sipex said the charge includes $1.9 million for consolidating Calogic operations into its own facilities in California and a $400,000 charge to revamp its global sales, marketing and research activities. Sipex also said it would assume a $1.2 million charge related to the merger. Shares of Sipex were unchanged at 16 9/16.



added 1/8 to 11 5/16 despite warning that it would post fiscal 1999 earnings of roughly $1.90 a share, greatly missing the 14-analyst estimate of $2.42 a share. The company blamed the earnings shortfall on a loss of major customers and additional costs. Warnaco said it sees its fiscal 2000 net earnings to increase 25%.

Offering and stock actions

Centennial Cellular


soared 30 3/8, or 45.8%, to 96 3/4 after it set a 3-for-1 stock split.


(CPRT) - Get Report

bounced 1/2 to 42 1/32 after its board declared a 2-for-1 stock split.

Analyst actions

Merrill Lynch

cut its December quarter and full-year earnings estimates for four airlines:



, parent of

American Airlines


Alaska Air

(ALK) - Get Report


Continental Airlines

(CAL) - Get Report


Delta Air Lines

(DAL) - Get Report


All was not glum out of Merrill, however. In a research note, Merrill said: "In spite of the December-quarter EPS reductions, we think the industry's capacity and revenue trends are improving."

Shares of AMR skidded 3/16 to 65 11/16 and Alaska Air lost 1/2 to 35 1/16, while Continental added 1/16 to 43 3/8. Shares of Delta tacked on 1/2 to 50.

Brown Brothers Harriman


American Home Products


to short-term strong buy from neutral. Shares of American Home Products jumped 1 1/8 to 39 1/8.

SoundView Technology

raised its rating on



to strong buy from buy and its price target to 30 from 18. Shares of Concurrent popped 2 7/16, or 15.9%, to 17 3/4.

SG Cowen

sliced its rating on

Gene Logic


to neutral from buy. Shares of Gene Logic retreated 4 5/8, or 17%, to 22 3/4.

Merrill Lynch raised its fiscal 2000 earnings estimates on

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report

to $4.75 a share from $4.65. Shares of Goldman Sachs hopped 2 15/16 to 85.

Gruntal raised its price target on



to 145 from 120. Shares of E-tek nevertheless plummeted 11 3/4, or 8.8%, to 120.


upped its near-term price target on

JDS Uniphase


to 420 from 310. Shares of JDS Uniphase nevertheless fell 15 3/4 to 319 1/2.


initiated coverage of

Newell Rubbermaid

(NWL) - Get Report

with a neutral rating and set a 33 price target on the stock. Shares of Newell Rubbermaid added 1/2 to 30.


raised its near-term price target on



to 275 from 234. Shares of SDL shed 12 3/4, or 5.5%, to 219 5/8.

Merrill initiated coverage of

Teekay Shipping

(TK) - Get Report

with an intermediate-term neutral rating and a long-term buy rating. Shares of Teekay Shipping stumbled 1/8 to 15 7/8.



Florida Supreme Court

refused to intervene in a class-action suit that sided with Florida smokers. The ruling in the


suit, which allows smokers to be awarded damages collectively instead of individually, leaves tobacco companies exposed to a potential multibillion-dollar judgment.

Separately, the nation's major tobacco companies yesterday asked a federal judge to dismiss a whopping U.S. lawsuit against the tobacco industry, arguing in part that the government has no legal basis to sue.

Tobacco stocks were mixed, with

Philip Morris

(MO) - Get Report

up 5/8 to 22 1/8,

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco


down 3/4 to 16 and



lost 23/32 to 59 25/32. The

American Stock Exchange Tobacco Index

slipped 0.2%.

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

has sought to manage concerns among investors about succession at the top of the company with a series of announcements meant to communicate a message of long-term stability, the Heard on the Street column in

The Wall Street Journal

reported. Much-heralded GE boss

Jack Welch

is scheduled to step down in 16 months. Shares of GE declined 1 1/4 to 158 1/4.

Orbital Sciences


said it won a five-year, $1.5 billion satellite production contract from


. The deal permits NASA to buy five different types of satellites. Orbital Sciences hopped 2 13/16, or 19%, to 17 9/16.


-- a closely held, start-up Internet company -- said it must temporarily halt the development, production and sale of certain products because of a restraining order stemming from a lawsuit filed against the firm by


(RNWK) - Get Report

. Shares of RealNetworks skidded 3 15/16 to 125 11/16.