Wall Street hailed
addition to the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
a week ago. With the addition of the world's largest company, the stodgy old index would finally reflect what was going on in the broader market with at least some semblance of accuracy.
So it's ironic (at least in the
Alanis Morisette sense of the word) that today's action in Soft has made the index a less-than-precise reflection of what's going on in stocks.
Join the discussion on
Microsoft was down 3 1/8, or 3.4%, to 88 7/16, hurt by Friday's
court ruling that the company engaged in monopolist business practices. That sucked 15.29 points out of the venerable Dow. The index was lately down 18 to 10,687.
"We're just watching Microsoft bounce around, which causes the Dow to bounce around," said Doug Myers, vice president of equity trading at
in Atlanta, of the action. "We've got a little bit of the tail wagging the dog. Outside of that, it looks OK."
Maybe even better than OK -- all of the other major indices were higher. Despite their heavy Microsoft weightings, the
was up 3 to 1373 while the tech-heavy
Nasdaq Composite Index
was 11 higher at 3113. Nor were the gains limited to non-Soft, four-letter issues: The
New York Stock Exchange Composite
was up 2 to 629.
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
Index was on pace to clock another new high. It was up 22, or 2.7%, to 837.
The bond market was holding in fairly flat -- impressive, considering the moves it's put on lately. The 30-year Treasury was up 1/32 to 100 31/32, its yield at 6.05%. (For more on the fixed-income market, see today's early
Yet not everyone is entirely happy with the market these days. They worry that investors have gotten a little too sanguine about the market's prospects. Bearing this out, the
Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index
is sitting at 21.97. That suggests that short-term sentiment has got a little too rosy -- this year, whenever the VIX has dropped down toward 20 has been a pretty good time to sell.
"Three weeks ago, pessimism reigned," said Doug Cliggott, equity strategist at
. "Today, optimism reigns. Inflation isn't a problem; interest rates don't need to go up -- it's a wonderful world. Unfortunately, I think the extreme pessimism was closer to being accurate than the profound optimism now. If sentiment was a pendulum, we've swung over as far to the optimistic side as we've got room to swing."
Cliggott, who has recommended underweighting stocks since early in the year and who reckons stocks will end 1999 basically flat, thinks that a cautious stance on the market remains appropriate. "With global growth really strengthening, the risk is all on the side of higher inflation and higher interest rates," he said.
Figuring out how much money to put into stocks these days isn't what's really important these days, according to Cliggott. "The more important call is, what do you want to own?" he said. While he believes the market, as defined by the S&P 500, may not do so hot, stocks outside of the handful of large-cap growth issues that have dominated the upside in recent years should do all right.
Breadth was slightly negative on moderate volume.
New York Stock Exchange:
1,231 advancers, 1,668 decliners, 465 million shares. 58 new 52-week highs, 66 new lows.
Nasdaq Stock Market:
1,888 advancers, 1,901 decliners, 782 million shares. 176 new highs, 63 new lows.
Monday's Midday Watchlist
District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson released his findings of fact in the Microsoft case Friday night, stating in part that the software titan enjoys monopoly power in the personal computer market. Four firms kept left Microsoft's stock ratings unchanged. Banc of America Securities maintained a buy rating on the stock, while Credit Suisse First Boston maintained a strong buy rating on the stock.
kept a buy rating on the stock. Warburg Dillon Read's buy rating and price target of 110 were unchanged, with the firm saying it saw no major surprises in the findings of fact. Shares were lately down 3 9/16 to 88 1/16. For more information, check out
coverage of the Microsoft
Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures
agreed to a merger to combine PageNet's wireless network and products with Arch's accounts and sales presence nationwide. Arch shareholders will retain one share of common stock in the combined company for each share currently owned, while PageNet shareholders will receive 0.1247 share of common stock for each share of PageNet currently owned. Shares of Arch were falling 1/2, or 7.4%, to 6 1/4, while Paging Network was up 3/32, or 10%, to 1 1/32.
agreed to buy
Carolina First BancShares
for $260 million in stock, in an effort to strengthen its presence in the North Carolina region's growing metropolitan areas. Each Carolina First shareholder will receive 2.267 shares of First Charter common stock for every share of Carolina First. Carolina was soaring 11, or 44.9%, to 38, while First Charter was slipping 1 5/8, or 8.6%, to 17 1/8.
has agreed to be bought by
, a company formed by
Aurora Capital Group
of Los Angeles, for $18.75 a share. Autocam was hopping 4 7/16, or 34.8%, to 17 3/16.
said it would sell its
Portland General Electric
utility unit to
for $2.1 billion in cash. Enron was adding 1/4 to 38 3/16, while Sierra Pacific was falling 11/16 to 20 15/16.
Hicks Muse Tate & Furst
would invest $80 million in the company. Shares of Globix were popping 3 7/16, or 9.5%, to 39 9/16.
Republic New York
Safra Republic Holdings
have reached a deal to allow HSBC to close its planned acquisition of the two banks. HSBC Holdings was sliding 1/16 to 61 15/16, while Republic New York was climbing 4 7/16, or 6.7%, to 70 5/8.
joint newsroom covered the situation in a
fell 1 to 23 11/16 after it said its buying
. Prodigy will issue 0.35 shares of Prodigy stock for each FlashNet share. Shares of FlashNet fell 1 15/32, or 14.7%, to 8 1/2.
slipped 3/8 to 59 5/8 after saying it would acquire the cellular telephone licenses, operations and related assets of
Triton Cellular Partners
for $1.24 billion.
jumped 6 7/8, or 5.4%, to 135 5/16 and
ascended 9 1/4, or 5.4%, to 181 5/8 after the companies announced an e-commerce software alliance.
gained 5/8 to 35 5/8 after it inked a deal to sell
for $432.5 million. Ferrellgas lost 1/16 to 14 11/16.
Earnings/revenue reports and previews
Earnings estimates from First Call/Thomson Financial; earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified
gained 2 1/2 to 54 13/16 after it said its third-quarter replacement cost profit was $1.955 billion, a 72% increase over the year-ago period, thanks in part to higher oil prices. Meanwhile, BP Amoco and
said Friday they reached a provisional agreement with Alaska in an effort to help it move ahead with its planned takeover of Arco. Arco was rising 5, or 6.1%, to 86 7/8.
Complete Business Solutions
rose 1 13/16, or 13.2%, to 15 5/8 after it posted third-quarter earnings of 22 cents a share, in line with the seven-analyst estimate, and down from a year-ago 24 cents before charges.
May Department Stores
rose 1/16 to 33 1/2 after it posted third-quarter earnings of 38 cents a share, in line with the 19-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 35 cents.
gained 3/8 to 25 3/8 after it reported third-quarter earnings of 23 cents a share, a penny better than the three-analyst estimate, but down from a year-ago 26 cents a share before charges. Primark said it plans to make an initial public offering of about 40% of the equity in
lost 1/8 to 7 3/16 after reporting third-quarter funds from operations of 38 cents a share, in line with the five-analyst estimate and a penny better than a year ago.
fell 3/16 to 25 1/4 despite reporting fourth-quarter pro forma earnings of 33 cents a share, a penny better than the six-analyst estimate and up from a year-ago 20 cents a share.
was unchanged at 3 1/16 after it posted a third-quarter loss of 41 cents a share including charges, compared with a year-ago loss of $1.02 a share, also on charges. The single-analyst estimate was for a loss of 1 cent a share.
Offerings and stock actions
was popping 9 7/8, or 22%, to 55 3/4 after it set a 2-for-1 stock split.
was climbing 1 1/8 to 292 1/8 after it set a 2-for-1 stock split.
was gaining 13/16 to 18 13/16 after it said it will buy back up to 10% of its shares.
was mounting 1 3/4, or 5.4%, to 33 13/16 after it set an additional 50 million-share buyback.
said it raised its price target on
Bank of New York
to 52 from 48. Bank of New York gained 1 1/16 to 41 15/16.
initiated coverage of
with a buy rating. Columbia inched up 3 1/16 to 25 3/16.
Banc of America Securities
upped its price target on
to 105 from 85. Corning climbed 2 1/4 to 83.
raised its rating on
to buy from neutral and set a one-year price target of 90. Shares of Lucent lifted 2 1/2 to 69 7/8.
Warburg Dillon Read
started coverage on
with a buy rating. Medarex moved up 1 or 12.1%, to 9 5/16.
Credit Suisse First Boston analyst Wendell Laidley upgraded shares of
New Era of Networks
to a buy from a hold and upped his price target to 58 from 32. New Era jumped 5 5/16, or 12.3%, to 48 1/2.
Credit Suisse First Boston started coverage of
with a buy rating and a price target of 35. Netcentives fell 1 3/4, or 8.2%, to 22.
Credit Suisse First Boston
to its focus list. Nortel edged up 11/16 to 69 1/4.
Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown
as a growth stock at a reasonable price. Staples fell 1/4 to 17 5/8 despite the news.
started coverage of
with a near-term accumulate rating. StarMedia was rising 1 11/16, or 5.4%, to 33 1/8.
, the publisher of this Web site, was down 1 15/16, or 11.7%, to 14 1/2 after
Hambrecht & Quist
downgraded it to market perform from buy. H&Q was an underwriter of the company's May IPO. TheStreet.com on Friday
announced the immediate resignation of Chairman and CEO Kevin English.
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
said it re-initiated coverage of
at outperform and set a price target of 72. Weyerhaeuser lost 2 3/16 to 62 1/16.
said it named Edward Coleman as CEO, effective Dec. 1. Coleman, who was previously an executive at
, replaces Ed Anderson, who resigned in July. Shares were rising 1/8 to 3.
said it has more than $15 million in cash and marketable securities, in response to rumors it is out of cash. The company said it is in talks with parties interested in investing in the company. Peapod fell 1 1/16, or 9.1%, to 10 1/2.
joint newsroom delved into the matter in a
said it would offer name-your-own-price long-distance service. priceline popped 5 1/8, or 9.7%, to 57 3/4.
said it has received an inquiry from the Connecticut attorney general requesting information in connection with a civil investigation into credit card company's card-issuing and billing practices. Shares were lately plummeting 28 3/4, or 24.8%, to 86 3/4.
plans a vast revamp of its defense-electronics business,
The Wall Street Journal
reported, citing people familiar with the situation. Shares were rising 1/4 to 28 1/16.
The Heard on the Street column in the
said a number of software companies whose business is based around Linux, the operating-system software seen as a growing threat to Microsoft, have taken to pitching themselves as dot-coms to tiptoe around the fact that the operating software can be downloaded free from the Internet. The column cites the recent IPO of
, whose overall success has other Linux-based firms
lining up behind it. Shares of Red Hat were rising 15 15/16, or 18.6%, to 102 1/4 .