Nasdaq Squeaks to Another Record-High Close

The Dow and S&P erased much of their losses to end barely lower.
Author:
Publish date:

Internet stocks soared as the market's major barometers ended mixed, paring most of their losses, while the

Nasdaq Composite Index

managed to eke out a gain on the day and close at another record high.

The

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index surged 29.75, or 6.7%, to 475.10. The Nasdaq Comp rose 5.33, or 0.2%, to 2326.19, barley beating yesterday's record close.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

slumped 7.21, or 0.1%, to 9537.76. The Dow had fallen as much as 118.95 points to 9426.02 at its bottom. The

S&P 500

drooped 2.59, or 0.2%, to 1269.75.

The

Russell 2000

rose 0.04 to 427.83.

The 30-year Treasury bond fell, and was lately down 25/32 to 100 10/32, yielding 5.23%.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

, decliners were beating advancers 1,945 to 1,129 on 857 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

losers were beating winners 2,165 to 1,947 on 1.2 billion shares.

On the NYSE, 63 issues had set new 52-week highs while 19 had touched new lows. On the Nasdaq, 125 issues had set new highs while new lows totaled 29.

On the Big Board,

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

was most active, with 19.9 million shares changing hands. It was up 4 1/16 to 58 7/16.

On the Nasdaq,

MCI WorldCom

(WCOM)

was most active, with 37.4 million shares changing hands. It was down 3 5/16 to 75 1/8.

The stock fell after

USA Today

reported that the company plans to make a bid of more than $55 billion for the much-sought-after mobile phone company

AirTouch

(ATI) - Get Report

, citing people familiar with the situation.

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

.

3:03 p.m.: Stocks Cling to Modest Losses After Wednesday's Rally

Cyberspace, gold mining and oil service stocks were among today's shining sectors while the major market averages tumbled, taking a rest after yesterday's record-setting rally.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was up 24 to 469. Leading the gauge on the upside was

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

, which rose a modest 6 15/16, or 9%, to 318 1/8.

Gold mining stocks were soaring. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Gold and Silver Index

was lately up 5%. The long-suffering oil service stocks advanced strongly. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index

was lately up 4%.

Turning to the major market indices, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was down 93 to 9451.77; the

S&P 500

was down 10 to 1262; the

Nasdaq Composite Index

was down 5 to 2316; and the

Russell 2000

was down 1 to 427.

"It's not that bad," said Paul Rich, a trader at

BT Brokerage

of the day's decline, pointing out that the Dow gained 2.5% yesterday and was only down modestly today.

"This is really par for the course," he said of today's slide.

One of the reasons he cited for the selloff:

Goldman Sachs

market strategist

Abby Joseph Cohen

cut the stock allocation in her model portfolio to 70% from 72%. He also mentioned the fact that the market just needed to pull back in light of yesterday's rally as a reason for the weakness today.

News that the Minas Geras state in Brazil had temporarily suspended debt payments to the government -- pushing Brazilian fiscal troubles back in the headlines -- was also blamed by some market players for the market's slip.

Meanwhile, a weak dollar vs. the yen was taking its toll on the 30-year Treasury bond. The long bond was lately down 24/32 to 100 13/32, yielding 5.23%.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

, decliners were beating advancers 2,046 to 955 on 668 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

losers were beating winners 2,252 to 1,619 on 807 million shares.

On the NYSE, 53 issues had set new 52-week highs while 18 had touched new lows. On the Nasdaq, 104 issues had set new highs while new lows totaled 20.

On the Big Board,

Iomega

(IOM)

was most active, with 16 million shares changing hands. It was up 1 3/16 to 9 1/16.

On the Nasdaq,

MCI WorldCom

(WCOM)

was most active, with 32 million shares changing hands. It was down 3 3/8 to 75 1/16.

USA Today

reported today that MCI WorldCom plans to make a bid of more than $55 billion for the much-sought-after mobile phone company

AirTouch

(ATI) - Get Report

, citing people familiar with the situation.

1:52 p.m.: Dow Leads March Lower

Internet stocks were soaring this afternoon while the market's major indices took a breather and sold off in the wake of yesterday's record-setting rally.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was up 20 to 466, led by

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

, which was up 22, or 8%, to 313 1/8.

Meanwhile, the downside leader among the major market indices was the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

, which was down 110 to 9435. The

S&P 500

was down 14 to 1259. The

Nasdaq Composite Index

was down 21 to 2300. The small-cap

Russell 2000

was down 2 to 426.

The 30-year Treasury was lately down 19/32 to 100 17/32, yielding 5.22%. The long bond fell as the dollar dropped sharply against the yen.

In Washington, Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist was recently sworn in to preside over the Senate impeachment trial of

President Clinton

.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

, decliners were beating advancers 2,139 to 1,322 on 550 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

losers were beating winners 2,599 to 2,094 on 807 million shares.

On the NYSE, 51 issues had set new 52-week highs while 17 had touched new lows. On the Nasdaq, 104 issues had set new highs while new lows totaled 20.

On the Big Board,

Iomega

(IOM)

was most active, with 14 million shares changing hands. It was up 3/4 to 9.

On the Nasdaq,

MCI WorldCom

(WCOM)

was most active, with 27 million shares changing hands. It was down 4 3/4 to 73 5/8.

USA Today

reported today that MCI WorldCom plans to make a bid of more than $55 billion for the much-sought-after mobile phone company

AirTouch

(ATI) - Get Report

, citing people familiar with the situation. The newspaper said the all-stock offer, which could be announced as early as this week, is an attempt to outdo Tuesday's $55 billion stock-and-cash offer from

Vodafone

(VOD) - Get Report

.

Bell Atlantic

(BEL)

is also pursuing AirTouch.

Parker Drilling-Superior Energy Deal Off

Wedding bells will not be ringing for

Parker Drilling

(PKD) - Get Report

and

Superior Energy

(SESI)

. In October, drilling contractor Parker announced its plans to acquire oilfield tools and services company Superior in a stock swap valued at the time at about $168 million. The merger was to close by first quarter's end.

Neither company disclosed a reason for the termination. On the news, Superior tumbled 5/16, or 10%, to 2 1/4, while while Parker shares gained 5/16, or to 3, or 9%, to 15/16, on the news.

Some investors responded negatively when the deal was announced in late October. The thinking was that Parker's acquisition of Superior, which is known for its Gulf of Mexico oilfield rental tools segment, was a step down for Parker. A scant five weeks after the deal was announced, the deteriorating outlook for the oil service sector forced the two companies to restructure the deal. Parker shares had dropped 26%. It then upped the exchange ratio for the stock swap, to 0.975 shares from 0.90 shares for each share of Superior.

Superior did not disclose the termination fee it will pay to Parker on the deal's demise, but according to a merger plan filed with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

, the termination fee was set at $7 million.

-- Mavis Scanlon

1:02 p.m.: Midday Musings: Stocks Sell Off, but Not Much, Amid Flood of Cash

12:02 p.m.: Nasdaq Climbs into Positive Territory

The tech-heavy

Nasdaq Composite Index

-- after dipping into the red earlier -- clawed its way into positive territory while the rest of the market's major indices were down slightly, taking a breather after yesterday's furious rally.

The Nasdaq Comp was up 12 to 2333. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was down 39 to 9506. The

S&P 500

was down 3 to 1269. The

Russell 2000

was up fractionally at 428.

Internet stocks were soaring.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was up 28 to 473.

The 30-year Treasury bond was getting pounded. The 30-year bond was down 25/32 to 100 11/32, yielding 5.23%.

In the news,

Goldman Sachs'

market strategist

Abby Joseph Cohen

cut the stock allocation in her model portfolio to 70% from 72% and news that the Minas Geras state in Brazil had temporarily suspended debt payments to the government put Brazilian woes back in the headlines.

Elsewhere in the news, the impeachment trial of

President Clinton

began today in the

Senate

. Overall, the impeachment trial gets a big yawn from market participants.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

, decliners were beating advancers 1,707 to 1,636 on 374 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

losers were beating winners 2,225 to 2,101 on 506 million shares.

On the NYSE, 42 issues had set new 52-week highs while 14 had touched new lows. On the Nasdaq, 83 issues had set new highs while new lows totaled 14.

On the Big Board,

Iomega

(IOM)

was most active, with 10 million shares changing hands. It was up 7/8 to 9 3/16.

On the Nasdaq,

MCI WorldCom

(WCOM)

was most active, with 20 million shares changing hands. It was down 2 1/16 to 76 3/8.

USA Today

reported today that MCI WorldCom plans to make a bid of more than $55 billion for the much-sought-after mobile phone company

AirTouch

(ATI) - Get Report

, citing people familiar with the situation. The newspaper said the all-stock offer, which could be announced as early as this week, is an attempt to outdo Tuesday's $55 billion stock-and-cash offer from

Vodafone

(VOD) - Get Report

.

Bell Atlantic

(BEL)

is also pursuing AirTouch.

Tech Focus

Tech stocks renewed their upward trajectory after suffering some softness earlier in the session, and late this morning, closely watched tech indices were all in positive territory.

Among the major tech-type indices, the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Computer Box Maker Index

was up 3%, the

Morgan Stanley High-Tech 35

was up 2%, and the

Nasdaq 100

was up 1%.

The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

was up 1%.

In the news,

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

and

General Instrument

(GIC)

said they intend to work with

AT&T

>

(T) - Get Report

on a "non-exclusive" basis to develop and trial a seamless, end-to-end Internet protocol solution that would enable AT&T to offer data, voice and video services over the hybrid fiber-coax network now being deployed by AT&T and

TCI

>

(TCOMA)

. Investors liked the news, sending Cisco up 4 15/16 to 104 3/4. General Instrument was up 15/16 to 37 7/8. AT&T was up 3/16 to 83 1/16 and TCI was up 1/2 to 61 1/2.

In the Newsletters

The sub-$1,000 personal computer category comprised the majority of sales for most retailers during the 1998 holiday season,

Computer Retail Week

reported in this week's issue. Market watchers, however, indicated that the low-end frenzy suffered some missteps during the holidays, the article said. One of the missteps mentioned in the article was that there were some returns and consumer frustration regarding rebates, which PC makers and vendors used in unprecedented numbers to create the appearance of even-lower prices, retailers and analysts said.

11:03 a.m.: Internet Stocks Climb into the Black

Stocks slumped this morning after yesterday's jaw-dropping rally.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was down 66 to 9479. The

S&P 500

was down 8 to 1264. The

Nasdaq Composite Index

was down 11 to 2310. The

Russell 2000

was down 1 to 427.

Saying

nyet

to today's downdraft have been Internet stocks.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was up 14 to 460.

In the Treasury market, the 30-year bond was lately down 1 5/32 to 99 31/32, yielding 5.26%.

In the news,

Goldman Sachs'

market strategist

Abby Joseph Cohen

cut the stock allocation in her model portfolio to 70% from 72% and news that the Minas Geras state in Brazil had temporarily suspended debt payments to the government sent Brazilian stocks down sharply.

The market's still positive it's just a little overbought, said Harry Laubscher, market analyst at

Tucker Anthony

. He cited Cohen's action this morning and the news out of Brazil in part as a couple of reasons for the selling pressure.

His next target on the Dow is 9680, with support at 9300.

Sector-wise, he said he's still bullish long term on the battered oil service arena, noting buy signals on the drillers.

Warmer-than-usual weather and Asia's economic malaise, which has crippled oil prices, in turn have pounded the oil service arena. He said those factors, however, will eventually turn around.

The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index

was lately down 1%.

Decliners were trouncing advancers.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

, decliners were beating advancers 1,857 to 534 on 25 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

losers were beating winners 1,877 to 793 on 36 million shares.

On the NYSE, 30 issues had set new 52-week highs while 14 had touched new lows. On the Nasdaq, 56 issues had set new highs while new lows totaled 12.

On the Big Board,

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

was most active, with 6 million shares changing hands. It was up 1/2 to 54 7/8.

On the Nasdaq,

General Nutrition

(GNCI)

was most active, with 15 million shares changing hands. It was up 4 1/4 to 199 1/16.

Rite Aid

(RAD) - Get Report

and General Nutrition this morning said they formed an alliance to develop, make and market vitamins and nutritional supplements. Rite Aid was up 1/16 to 48 7/8.

10:01 a.m.: Stocks Fall After Wednesday's Big Rally

Stocks tumbled early on, retreating after yesterday's record-setting rally amid news

Goldman Sachs'

market strategist

Abby Joseph Cohen

cut the stock allocation in her model portfolio to 70% from 72%, which helped dampen the market's spirits.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was down 71 to 9474. The

S&P 500

was down 12 to 1260. The

Nasdaq Composite Index

was off 36 to 2285. The small-cap

Russell 2000

was down 4 to 424.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

was down 10 to 436.

The 30-year Treasury bond was lately down 13/32 to 100 23/32, yielding 5.21%.

Most Up at Open -- NYSE

AirTouch

(ATI) - Get Report

, up 2 1/8 to 82:

USA Today

reported

MCI WorldCom

(WCOM)

plans to make a bid of more than $55 billion for AirTouch, citing people familiar with the situation. The newspaper said the all-stock offer, which could be announced as early as this week, is an attempt to outdo Tuesday's $55 billion stock-and-cash offer from

Vodafone

(VOD) - Get Report

.

Bell Atlantic

(BEL)

is also pursuing AirTouch.

Most Up at Open -- Nasdaq

Network Solutions (NSOL) , up 7 1/8 to 179 7/8

:

Prudential Securities

raised its rating on the stock to strong buy from accumulate.

Most Down at Open -- NYSE

Vodafone (VOD) - Get Report, down 5 11/16 to 175 1/16

.

Most Down at Open -- Nasdaq

uBid (UBID) , down 11 1/16 to 110

:

Merrill Lynch

initiated coverage of the company with a near-term neutral rating and a long-term buy rating.