Nasdaq Composite Index
failed to set a record today and (
) trailed blue-chip averages for much of the session, but it still produced one of its more impressive performances in recent memory. Rather than the almost rote procedure of higher prices following higher prices, the tech-infatuated index overcame not only
yesterday's fairly considerable setback but sizable early morning weakness as well.
The "Big Three" market averages all closed with solid gains, but blue-chip averages finished well off midday highs as the bond market's afternoon woes subdued the enthusiasm for equities, notably financial stocks.
The price of the 30-year Treasury bond closed down 9/32 to 97 10/32, its yield rising to 6.33%. In reaction, the Philadelphia Stock Exchange/KBW Bank Index fell 0.9%.
Building on blockbuster gains by
, the Comp was able to follow blue-chip proxies higher and then surpass them. In the process, the index overcome jitters about
and weakness in other bellwethers such as
After trading as low as 3503.70 early on, the tech-abetted index closed with a flourish, up 49.56, or 1.4%, to 3621.22.
"The selling wave is over," declared Jim Volk, co-head of institutional trading at
in Portland, Ore. " I don't know
why over-the-counter stocks turned the corner. It looks like they just got tired of selling 'em."
Many players attributed the turnaround to excitement over Oracle, which rose 17.5% to an all-time high of 90 3/8 after posting better-than-expected profits
last night. Today, several Wall Street firms upgraded recommendations and/or price targets on the database software giant.
But Volk said the Oracle news was "canceled out" by concerns about Cisco, which fell 2% after including
routine warnings about a potential sales slowdown in a 10-Q filing.
Microsoft proved the determining factor in the Comp's comeback, soaring 9.8% to an all-time high of 108 1/4 amid a variety of news events, including the long-awaited release of Windows 2000 and reports of a strategic alliance with
, which rose 2.6%.
Also, Microsoft was one of several investors that took a combined $900 million equity stake in
, which rose 15.6%.
Microsoft and fellow Dow rookie
finally delivered the kind of "pop" to the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
many expected when they were added to the venerable index
The blue-chip average rose as high as 11,282.20 before closing up 65.15, or 0.6%, to 11,225.32.
Recently out-of-favor names such as
also aided the Dow. The
Morgan Stanley Cyclical Index
rose 2.6% while the
American Stock Exchange Pharmaceutical Index
The Dow was restrained most notably by
, which fell 3.1%.
Additionally, older tech components
weakened, reflecting the somewhat uneven performance of the tech sector.
rose 2.3% and the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
index fell 2.85, or 0.3%, to 1094.58 after trading as low as 1058.68. Additionally,
Red Hots index fell 11.02, or 3.2%, to 329.84. The 20-stock index tracks action in particularly volatile stocks and is meant to measure so-called hot money. (The Red Hots index quote has been adjusted slightly to account for a switch to automated calculation of the index value from the former spreadsheet method. Now you can check quotes on the Red Hots index and its component stocks at
The DOT was restrained by weakness in components such as
, down a further 13.2% as investors continue to look unfavorably at its planned merger with
, which fell 9.8%.
Beyond the DOT,
tumbled 47% after posting lower-than-expected profits last night. Additionally,
Transaction Systems Architects
slid 14.1% after warning of disappointing earnings.
gained 95% from its IPO price of $17.
rose 10.13, or 0.7%, to 1413.30 after trading as high as 1417.34. Meanwhile, the
shed 1.43, or 0.3%, to 461.32 after trading as low as 455.39.
"We got the usual 2 o'clock to 2:30 selloff but we held in pretty good," said one equity trader. "It's going to be herky-jerky until the end of the year, but I don't see a reason why it'll selloff" significantly.
Despite another heavily attended session, the trader said he was "doing nothing" except "watching the screen" for much of the day.
"Things are drying up," he said. "A lot of the big boys are saying 'I've had a great year'" and thus aren't anxious to press their luck as 2000 approaches.
Overcoming the Blemishes
New York Stock Exchange
trading, 1.034 billion shares were exchanged while declining stocks led advancers 1,636 to 1,449. In
Nasdaq Stock Market
action 1.65 billion shares traded -- the fourth-busiest session in history -- while losers led 2,399 to 1,799. New 52-week lows swamped new highs 433 to 45 on the Big Board and by 180 to 92 in over-the-counter trading.
"This market looks like it wants to go higher, despite some big technical flaws -- breadth in particular -- and renewed weakness in the bond market," said Greg Nie, chief technical analyst at
First Union Securities
in Chicago. "We're close to a classic year-end rally that will probably have enough momentum to overcome the technical flaws out there."
A new closing high for the Dow industrials could be the "spark" for that year-end rally, Nie said. Today, the index closed just 0.9% off its
Aug. 25 record of 11,326.04.
"We're close. We probably need a little more work but maybe we'll get a nudge from expiration" on Friday, he said. "You've got to give the bulls the benefit of the doubt in the short term."
Among other indices,
Dow Jones Transportation Average
rose 10.66, or 0.4%, to 2919.54; the
Dow Jones Utility Average
added 2.99, or 1.1%, to 271.19; and the
American Stock Exchange Composite Index
gained 11.16, or 1.4%, to 838.94.
Elsewhere in North American equities, the
Toronto Stock Exchange 300
gained 54.98, or 0.7%, to 7985.3 and the
Mexican Stock Exchange IPC Index
jumped 117.93, or 1.8%, to 6772.15.
Wednesday's Company Report
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.
Shares of Microsoft rose 9 11/16, or 9.8%, to a record 108 7/16 after it said its new Windows 2000 operating system was released for manufacturing. The system is expected to make Microsoft a stronger competitor in the high end server market.
Warburg Dillon Read
upped its price target on Microsoft to 130 from 110.
Separately, Microsoft and
said they are negotiating a possible pact that would deploy enhanced TV. Excite@Home gained 1 1/4 to 50 3/16.
Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures
sank 10 to 224, after
The Wall Street Journal
reported it is negotiating to acquire closely held
for about $1.65 billion.
gained 3/16 to 8 after it said it has inked a five-year primary source pact with
. Shares of Duane Reade lost 1 13/16, or 8.1%, to 20 11/16. Bergen Brunswig said Duane Reade would purchase roughly $1 billion in products throughout the life of the agreement.
dropped 5 5/16 to 199 3/4 after it said it would acquire
for stock. yesmail nodded up 3 1/8, or 15%, to 24. CMGI said it would issue 0.1252 CMGI shares for each share of yesmail.com.
U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray
rolled out coverage of CMGI with a strong buy rating. For more on this
acquisition, check out the coverage provided by
gained 2 3/4, or 7%, to 41 7/8 and
lost 1 1/2 to 87 5/16 after the companies said they have entered an agreement which calls for Circuit City to market AOL's products and services in its store. U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray began coverage of Circuit City with a buy rating and a price target of 57.
gained 1/8 to 16 3/4 after it announced plans to sell its natural-gas distribution division for $425 million.
gained 7/8 to 71 1/4 after it said it has launched a $5.3 billion to $6.2 billion offer for the financially floundering
, according to wire reports.
fell 1 1/16 , or 8.7%, to 11 3/16 after it announced plans to start it own Internet company called
. CEO Floyd Hall said
Softbank Venture Capital
would back the Web company with $62.5 million, while
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
, which is already in a retail partnership with Kmart, also plans to make a "strategic investment." Shares of Martha Stewart inched up 1/4 to 29 1/4.
will provide BlueLight.com with personalized Web content. Other partners in the initiative include Cisco and
. Yahoo! dropped 5 3/4 to 327 1/2, while Cisco lost 2 to 95 7/8. For more on this
alliance, check out the coverage provided by
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
rose 1 9/16, or 6.2%, to 26 5/8 and
slipped 3/16 to 41 3/8 after the companies said they have agreed to a joint marketing pact. The announcement is seen as progress toward a global alliance between Continental, KLM,
. The pact includes passenger and baggage check-in and exchangeable frequent flyer program participation. Shares of Northwest lost 11/16 to 22 1/16.
lost 5/16 to 77 and
gained 5 5/8, or 8.3%, to 73 9/16 after the companies said they have agreed to a joint development and marketing deal to design a system for telephone service over cable lines. The two companies said they would combine the software that runs their equipment.
Separately, General Instrument said it received an order from
for 1 million interactive digital consumer terminals. Charter fell 1/8 to 22 5/8.
popped 10 13/16, or 9.1%, to 130 3/16 and
fell 7/16 to 140 7/8 after the companies said they have teamed to provide an end-to-end system to reduce the time it takes cable providers to activate new subscribers for cable Internet access.
climbed 9/16 to 88 5/8 after it said it has agreed to acquire
, in a stock deal valued at up to $3.25 billion. Nortel said the price of the deal would be partly determined on Qtera meeting "certain business objectives." The acquisition would not add to fiscal earnings until 2001. For more on Nortel's
acquisition, check out the coverage provided by
was unchanged at 10 1/16 after it said it has entered an agreement to purchase closely held
, in a deal valued at $108 million.
lost 1/2 to 15 5/8 after it said it expects to outline the sale of its
trade show and conference business by the end of the month. The possible sale continues to follow the plan of its biggest shareholder,
, to sell off parts of the company to concentrate on Web properties.
Earnings/revenue reports and previews
added 1, or 5.3%, to 20 after it said it expects fiscal 2000 sales growth to slow to about 8% and set an earnings-per-share target for the year of $1.20. For more on Boston Scientific's woes, take a look at the
story written today by
Here's something for the much-ado-about-nothing category. Reports that Cisco said it expects "that in the future, our net sales may grow at a slower rate than experienced in previous periods, and that on a quarter-to-quarter basis, our growth in net sales may be significantly lower than our historical quarterly growth rate," according to its
filing with the
Securities and Exchange Commission
filed yesterday, hurt the stock ahead of the open. However, the language cited in reports has been standard language for the company in recent SEC filings. Cisco slid 2 to 95 7/8.
joint newsroom covered the Cisco silliness in a
gained 1 1/16 to 34 11/16 after it said it sees slower unit volume growth in the fourth quarter. The company said it was on track for low double-digit earnings growth in 2000.
Oracle leapt 13 7/16, or 17.5%, to 90 3/8 after it reported second-quarter earnings of 26 cents a share, beating the 30-analyst estimate of 22 cents and the year-ago 19 cents. For more on Oracle's
earnings, check out the coverage provided by
joint newsroom. Earlier today,
Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown
raised its rating on Oracle to strong buy from buy.
was unchanged at 34 3/8 after it said it is on track to meet or beat the fiscal 1999 nine-analyst consensus estimate of $2.86 a share. The company also said it agrees with the nine-analyst estimate of $3.64 a share.
Transaction Systems Architects
tanked 4 1/2, or 14.1%, to 27 9/16 after it warned investors that it expects first-quarter and fiscal 2000 earnings to greatly miss consensus estimates, citing Y2K woes. The company expects to post first-quarter earnings of 2 cents to 9 cents a share and fiscal 2000 earnings of $1.29 to $1.46. The eight-analyst estimate is forecasting first-quarter earnings of 38 cents and the nine-analyst estimate sees fiscal 2000 earnings at $1.70.
Offerings and stock actions
inched up 3/16 to 13 3/8 after it said it set a share repurchasing plan for up to $100 million.
Equity Office Properties Trust
gained 1/16 to 21 1/16 after it said it has set a $250 million stock-buyback program.
Golf Trust of America
slipped 7/8 , or 5.7%, to 14 1/2 after it set a share buyback of up to 1 million shares.
climbed 15/16, or 15.6%, to 6 15/16 after it set a $20 million share-repurchasing program.
slipped 1/16 to 66 7/16 after it said it has established a $500 million fund to support new digital media. The company said the fund will concentrate on non-controlling equity investments in e-commerce, interactive content and other digital-media-related activities.
rose 5/8 to 41 5/8 after it said it repurchased 720,000 shares from its biggest shareholder
for $30 million. Tiger still holds a 26% interest in the company.
Abercrombie & Fitch
to its recommended list. Shares of Abercrombie & Fitch popped 3 1/8, or 12.8%, to 27 3/8.
U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray cut its fourth-quarter earnings forecast on
to 8 cents a share from 17 cents while Merrill Lynch sliced the stock's rating to intermediate-term neutral from accumulate. The downgrades followed yesterday's fourth-quarter earnings warning. Shares of Advantage Learning slid 11 3/8, or 50.2%, to 11 5/16.
raised its rating on
with a buy rating and a price target of 230. Shares of eBay fell 4 3/4 to 145 15/16.
Salomon Smith Barney
upped its rating on
to outperform from neutral. Yesterday, Emerson said that it has agreed to purchase
telecom products division for $980 million. Emerson Electric share mounted 3 3/16, or 5.8%, to 58.
Piper Jaffray upped its price target on
to 77 from 63. Shares of Factset jumped 4 3/4, or 6.9%, to 73 1/4.
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
upped its rating on
to an outperform to a neutral. Shares of Ford gained 15/16 to 49 7/16.
Credit Suisse First Boston
cut its fiscal 1999 estimates on
to a 40-cent loss from a loss of a penny and lowered its rating to a hold from a strong buy. Shares of Inacom lost 2 1/8, or 23.6%, to 6 7/8.
Goldman Sachs began coverage of
with a market outperformer rating. Shares of Infospace.com shed 6 1/8 to 137 1/8.
began coverage of
with a strong buy rating and a price target of 175. Shares of Motorola skidded 10 5/8, or 8.9%, to 130.
Warburg Dillon Read upped its fiscal 2000 earnings estimate for
to 84 cents from 80 cents a share. Shares of Provant bounced 5/16 to 24 3/4.
SoundView Technology upped its price target on
to 75 from 48. Shares of Rational Software added 3 1/2, or 7.8%, to 48 1/8.
to attractive from neutral. Shares of Sallie Mae edged up 1 1/8 to 43 11/16.
Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown raised its rating on
to strong buy from buy. Shares of Tekelec bounced 3, or 16.7%, to 20 7/8.
Merrill Lynch sliced its rating on
Thomas & Betts
to intermediate-term neutral from accumulate. Shares of Thomas & Betts declined 11 3/16, or 28.5%, to 28.
Banc of America Securities
cut shares of
to market perform from buy after the company posted second-quarter earnings below its year-ago report. Shares of Verity plummeted 23 1/8, or 46.9%, to 26 1/8.
was unchanged at 7 5/8 after it said its chairman and CEO, Curtis Barnette, is retiring on April 25. Longtime employee Duane Dunham was elected chairman, president and CEO upon Barnette's retirement.
advanced 5/16 to 38 13/16 after it said the 163 previously unreported commercial airplane orders it announced Wednesday have a total value of about $9 billion. Boeing is on track to meet its goal of 5% operating margin for commercial jets in 1999 and will do better than that in 2000, the company said.
Dun & Bradstreet
is expected to vote on management's plan to split its
Moody's Investors Service
unit into a separate firm, people familiar with the matter said, according to the
. Shares of Dun & Bradstreet climbed 2 11/16, or 9.9%, to 29 3/4. For more on this
story, check out the coverage provided by
A group of U.S. and French farmers filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court in Washington against
, charging it with attempting to monopolize genetically modified crops and with not thoroughly testing the products for safety. Monsanto said the allegations are "absolutely baseless." Shares of Monsanto lost 1 7/16 to 40 7/16.
is under investigation by the
for alleged antitrust violations in dealings with big music companies, the
reported. Shares of Viacom skidded 7/16 to 54 13/16.