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Off-Hours Trading: Super Tuesday Arrives and VeriSign Scores Big

Company announces $21 billion purchase of Network Solutions.

This morning,


(VRSN) - Get Report

announced it was buying

Network Solutions


for $21 billion. The shares closed yesterday at 360 5/8. According to


, Network Solutions was recently up about 100 on the news.

Super Tuesday is here!

That's right, the biggest of days. When all the cards are laid out on the table and all bets are off and the rubber meets the road and...well, you get it.

No, not the primaries, we know who's going to win those. Today's the day when we see how much ketchup and how many of those little pickle chips were sold during the last quarter.

H.J. Heinz


, that maker of so many of our beloved condiments is slated to release its third-quarter earnings today. It's a sure sign of economic strength if people are buying more relish; more jars of that fancy, spicy mustard and more cans of those baked beans.

Mmmmm. Baked beans.

Today is also "Fat Tuesday" -- the end of

Mardi Gras

. There wasn't a lot to celebrate in the stock market yesterday, as the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

and the

Nasdaq Composite Index

both finished lower. Today, though, things are looking a little brighter.

Stocks looked to move modestly higher this morning as futures were above the fair value measure. In early action, the

S&P 500

March futures contract was up 2.6 to 1398, about three points over fair value of -1.62. The thinly traded

Nasdaq 100

March contract was down 6.75 to 4491.

Last Night's After-Hours Trading

By David A. Gaffen
Staff Reporter

There are a few reliable ways to keep your stock price moving higher: Don't start a professional football league nobody cares about; don't rename yourself "Iridium"; discover a possible cure for cancer.



is taking the hard way of the three, but the tentative signals -- 10 out of 10 leading mice approve of the company's targeted radiation therapy -- were a boon for the stock during the day, sending it up 32 15/16 to 54 3/4. Predictably, night traders were taking some money off the table, pushing the stock down 6 1/16 to 48 on 671,590 shares.

The Seattle-based company said today that its therapy eradicated human lung and colon cancer implanted in 10 of 10 mice, and prevented tumors for growing for at least one year in all 10 said subjects, as well as eight of 10 mice infected with human breast cancer.

The company hasn't begun treatment in humans yet, but plans to start this year.

The night owls also are all over

TheStreet Recommends



, after the company said it had obtained rights for diagnostic technology for measuring "oxidative stress levels" using a validated marker in urine or blood.

Oxidative stress -- and this is a big deal -- has been associated with a number of health problems, including heart attack, renal failure, neurological and inflammatory disorders, and accelerated aging. That's got the blood boiling for the late shift: After closing up 1/4 to 3 today, the stock has bounced 2 17/32 to 5 17/32 on 1.3 million shares in the evening.



was the most active stock in


trading and second-most active on


, on very little news. The stock lately was up 3 11/32 to 9 1/2 on just over a million Island shares.

The only news out today was a release from

Wall Street Gems

, a research company that isn't a registered broker-dealer, which began coverage on the company with a strong buy recommendation and put a price target of 40 on the stock. Company officials could not be reached for comment.

Nuthin' like doing business in Kazakhstan.

American International Petroleum


was edging higher after posting gains Friday. That day the company announced a 35% increase in its recoverable net gas reserves to 604 billion cubic feet, up from the previously reported 449 BCF, for the


(pronounciation quiz later) gas field, in Kazakhstan.

The stock was up 1/32 to 1 5/32 on 140,000 shares.

Another oil producer whose stock rose unexpectedly last week,

Parallel Petroleum


, was up on an anticipated announcement Parallel's chief engineer had called "routine" in an interview with

last week. The company announced the successful drilling of two successful wells, which is thrilling, sort of. The stock nevertheless rose 3/8 to 3 1/8 on 265,000 shares on Island.

That too much to digest? Fine -- we've got some pretty standard "we're doing better than we thought" rhetoric from


, which, so far, is making a go out of naming your own price for fancy white albacore. The company said postclose that first-quarter revenue would rise more than 30% vs. the fourth quarter of 1999. The stock rose 5 15/16 to 96 on 1,600 shares, according to MarketXT.

Island ECN, owned by Datek Online, offers trading, mainly in Nasdaq-listed stocks, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.


MarketXT, formerly Eclipse Trading, offers after-hours trading to retail clients of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter's (MWD) Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Online, Mellon Bank's (MEL) Dreyfus Brokerage Services and clients of Salomon Smith Barney. It is also available to clients of, CyBerCorp and Interactive Brokers. Clients can trade 200 of the most actively traded New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Stock Market issues, 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. EST Monday through Thursday.


explains how the rules change when the sun goes down in Investing Basics: Night Owl, a section devoted to after-hours trading.