Making new highs, making history -- making people some mad, mad money. It's just another normal day in the life of the
Nasdaq Composite Index
The mighty Comp looks on pace to bust through the 4000 mark on a closing basis for the first time ever, putting a glistening maraschino atop this calorie-filled sundae of a year. The tech-sweetened index lately was up 33.6, or 0.9%, to 4009, right around its high of the day, largely powered by
. And it's all just in time for tonight's unveiling of the snazzy new Times Square
Should the Nasdaq hang on and close in record territory, it would most likely set a record for the largest one-year gain by a U.S. stock index. The
Dow Jones Industrial Average
, as our older readers doubtless recall, rose 81.7% in 1915; the Nasdaq was up 81.3% on the year as of
Today, not to be outdone -- OK, to be outdone, but hanging in there -- the Dow lately was up 87.8, or 0.8%, to 11,478.9. It's on pace to break
Thursday's record close of 11,405.76.
were among the leaders.
was up 3.3, or 0.2%, to 1460.4; the smallish-cap
was up 2.8, or 0.6%, to 487.2; and
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
index was up 9.9, or 0.9%, to 1138.9.
Today's advance, like so many of the advances in recent days, weeks and months, was coming on negative breadth.
Nasdaq Stock Market
breadth was about 21-to-16 to the downside, while advancers and decliners were about even on the
New York Stock Exchange
Yet technical analysts, who've been known for shaking their heads in disbelief and disapproval as the indices rocket despite the narrow backdrop, are learning to stop worrying and love the gains.
"The trend is up," said Jonathan Dodd, technical strategist at
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
. "It is narrow, but that's what we've got to deal with. There's no sign of a top in the market, so until we get a top we follow the best-acting stocks."
Dodd said he's little troubled by the negative advance/decline line, the consistent excess of new lows vs. new highs on the Big Board and other downbeat signals. "It's a few indicators, it is of concern, but it's not something to say you get out of the market," he said.
Still, Dodd's not quite so blithe in the face of the Nasdaq's startling run, which he said has heightened volatility so much that the future course is tough to read. "You may just have a pullback without any warning," he said. "It's vulnerable if there's something to cause a selloff in a broad number of leading stocks."
Another technician, Frank Gretz of
, is a bit more concerned about the market's health. "It's worrisome because historically this kind of action doesn't persist," he said.
But Gretz is encouraged, too. He's starting to see tentative signs of some broadening in the market, citing the paper stocks as an example of a downtrodden group beginning to perk up. Indeed,
was among the stronger stocks in the Dow, up 2 5/16, or 4.3%, to 56 9/16, and the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Forest & Paper Products Index
was up 4.9%.
Gretz also likes the action in the oil and oil-service sectors, saying he bought some
today. That stock lately was up 11/16 to 81 15/16; the
American Stock Exchange Oil & Gas Index
was up 0.7% and the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index
was up 2.1%.
"There are a lot of lower-priced stocks that at least have stopped going down," Gretz said. But he's not yet confident saying the positive trends he's seeing will persist meaningfully.
Gretz does see further strength in the overall market early in January.
"With all the money flows, it's unlikely early in the year that the market's going to get in a lot of trouble," he said, adding that Wall Street could then see a correction later in January.
Away from the equity side today, the benchmark 30-year Treasury was off 4/32 to 95 9/32, its yield swelling to 6.475%. (For more on the fixed-income market, see today's early
Breadth was middling to negative, with volume as limp as you'd expect in this holiday season.
New York Stock Exchange:
1,428 advancers, 1,511 decliners, 345 million shares. 62 new 52-week highs, 285 new lows.
Nasdaq Stock Market:
1,729 advancers, 2,240 decliners, 644 million shares. 185 new highs, 98 new lows.
Tuesday's Midday Watchlist
Earnings estimates from First Call/Thomson Financial; earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified.
Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures
Associates First Capital
credit card portfolio of about $1.3 billion in receivables and nearly 600,000 active VISA and MasterCard accounts. Shares of Associates First were bouncing 1 to 27 13/16, while KeyCorp was edging up 1/16 to 22 1/16.
, 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 were lifting 5 9/16, or 30.3%, to 23 7/8.
Earnings/revenue reports and previews
was climbing 1 5/16 to 74 13/16 after it said that, according to preliminary figures, the company's revenue for 1999 will rise to 148 billion euros, compared with the year-ago's 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
, 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 were gaining 5/8, or 11.3%, to 6 1/8.
was unchanged at 16 3/8 after 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.
was advancing 5/16 to 12 1/8 despite warning investors 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%.
Offerings and stock actions
was soaring 32, or 48.3%, to 98 1/4 after it set a 3-for-1 stock split.
was rising 2 1/8, or 5.1%, to 43 3/4 after its board declared a 2-for-1 stock split.
Brown Brothers Harriman
American Home Products
to short-term strong buy from neutral. Shares of American Home Products were mounting 1 to 39.
cut its December quarter and full-year earnings estimates for four airlines:
, parent of
Delta Air Lines
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 were slipping 1 1/4 to 64 5/8, while Alaska Air was losing 1/4 to 35 5/16. Continental shares were skidding 5/8 to 42 11/16 and Delta was declining 3/8 to 49 1/8.
sliced its rating on
to neutral from buy. Gene Logic was shedding 2 13/16, or 10.3%, to 24 3/8.
upped its near-term price target on
to 420 from 310. Shares of JDS Uniphase were shooting up 11 5/16 to 346 9/16.
initiated coverage of
with a neutral rating and set a 33 price target on the stock. Shares of Newell Rubbermaid were adding 3/4 to 30 1/4.
Gruntal raised its near-term price target on
to 275 from 234. Shares of SDL were gaining 14 3/8, or 6.2%, to 245 1/4.
Merrill initiated coverage of
with an intermediate-term neutral rating and a long-term buy rating. Shares of Teekay were lifting 1/4 to 15 3/4.
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 John F. Welch Jr. is scheduled to step down in 16 months. Shares of GE were losing 2 3/8 to 157 1/8.
was bouncing 3 5/16, or 22.4%, to 18 1/16 after it said it won a five-year, $1.5 billion satellite production contract from
. The deal permits NASA to buy five different types of satellites.
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.
-- 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
. Shares of RealNetworks was falling 2 5/8 to 126 15/16.