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S&P Continues to Lead Climb

The Internet sector is down, putting a lid on gains in the Nasdaq.

The

S&P 500

continued to lead the market percentage-wise on the upside, a little off its intraday highs, while the 30-year Treasury bond returned to its losing ways.

The S&P 500 was up 14 to 1238.

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The 30-year bond was down 23/32 to 98 11/32, yielding 5.36%.

Meanwhile, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was up 97 to 9293.

Elsewhere, the

Nasdaq Composite Index

was up 15 to 1238 in what has been a choppy session for the tech-heavy gauge.

"The Nasdaq opened higher on a bounce from yesterday's selloff, but it couldn't hold the opening level and traded well into negative territory," said William Keuffel, market strategist at

Optima Investment Research

in Chicago. "Even this afternoon it's trading little changed."

The

Russell 2000

was up fractionally at 390.

Internet stocks slumped.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

was down 2 to 457.

TheStreet.com E-Commerce Index

was down 2 to 93.

The S&P 500 and Dow have outperformed the tech-laden Nasdaq today. Keuffel said with the weakness in tech, there may be some rotation into large-cap and cyclical stocks. However, the boost might just be temporary, he added.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

, advancers were beating decliners 1,630 to 1,264 on 570 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

, losers were beating winners 2,037 to 1,788 on 673 million shares.

On the NYSE, 129 issues had set new 52-week lows while 22 had touched new highs. On the Nasdaq, 99 issues had set new lows while new highs totaled 21.

Compaq

(CPQ)

was most active on 16 million shares. It was down 5/16 to 40 11/16.

On the Nasdaq,

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

was most active on volume of 29 million shares. It was up 1 7/16 to 83.

1:51 p.m.: Dow, S&P Lead March Higher

The

S&P 500

and

Dow Jones Industrial Average

were leading the market higher, while the

Nasdaq Composite Index

firmed up in what has been a bumpy session for the tech-laden barometer.

The S&P 500 was up 13 to 1237. The Dow was up 94 to 9289. The Nasdaq Comp was up 12 to 2261. The

Russell 2000

was up fractionally at 390.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

was down fractionally at 459, while

TheStreet.com E-Commerce Index

was down 2 to 93.

Utility stocks surged. The

Dow Jones Utility Average

was up 2%.

Bank and brokerage stocks were significantly higher. The

American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index

was up 2%. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange/KBW Bank Index

was up 1%.

The 30-year Treasury bond was down 10/32 to 98 24/32, yielding 5.33%. Weakness in the long bond has been blamed in part on the strength in stocks.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

, advancers were beating decliners 1,612 to 1,210 on 474 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

losers were beating winners 1,948 to 1,745 on 565 million shares.

On the NYSE, 113 issues had set new 52-week lows while 21 had touched new highs. On the Nasdaq, 87 issues had set new lows while new highs totaled 17.

On the Big Board,

Compaq

(CPQ)

was most active with 15 million shares changing hands. It was down 5/16 to 40 11/16.

On the Nasdaq,

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

was most active on 26 million shares. It was up 1 3/16 to 82 3/4.

Sector Focus: Insurance

News that the Netherlands'

Aegon

(AEG) - Get Report

, the parent company of

Aegon USA

, was buying

Transamerica

(TA) - Get Report

for $9.7 billion in cash and stock sent the insurance sector higher.

The companies said the purchase is the second-largest transaction in the U.S. life insurance industry to date. Aegon will also assume about $1.1 billion of Transamerica's holding company debt. Transamerica's corporate and insurance operations will merge with Aegon USA's operations immediately after closing, which is expected to occur this summer. Based on 1997 year-end figures, the insurance combo will be the third-largest life insurance group in the U.S. in terms of assets and premiums written, the companies said.

The news helped lift the

S&P Insurance Index

-- of which Transamerica is a component -- up 2.

Transamerica was flying, up 15 3/8, or 27%, to 73. The stock also hit a 52-week intraday high of 73 15/16 today. Aegon was up 4 1/4 to 99.

1:01 p.m.: Midday Musings: Uncertain Session Leans to Plus Side at Midday

The major stock averages were higher, shaking off some earlier weakness.

The

Nasdaq Composite Index

was up 6 to 2255. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was up 63 to 9258. The

S&P 500

was up 9 to 1233. The

Russell 2000

was up fractionally at 390.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

was up 1 to 460.

TheStreet.com E-Commerce Index

was down 1 to 94.

The 30-year Treasury bond was down 12/32 to 99 22/32, yielding 5.34%.

Among individual stocks,

Coyote Network

(CYOE)

was a loser. It was down 2, or 31%, to 4 3/8. TheStreet.com wrote about the company

this morning.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

, advancers were beating decliners 1,491 to 1,212 on 314 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

losers were beating winners 1,738 to 1,639 on 389 million shares.

On the NYSE, 91 issues had set new 52-week lows while 18 had touched new highs. On the Nasdaq, 64 issues had set new lows while new highs totaled 9.

On the Big Board,

Compaq

(CPQ)

was most active with 11 million shares changing hands. It was down 7/8 to 40 1/8x.

On the Nasdaq,

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

was most active on 21 million shares. It was up 7/8 to 82 3/8.

Tech Focus

Among some of the tech indices, the

Morgan Stanley High-Tech 35

was up 1%, while the

Nasdaq 100

was up fractionally. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor

Index was up 1%.

The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Computer Box Maker Index

was up fractionally.

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

fell, likely in part on news that

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

and

Linux

distributor

Red Hat Software

said that Big Blue will begin selling computers with the Linux operating system. Microsoft was down 4 3/8 to 145 3/8. IBM was up 1 3/8 to 171 7/8.

The biggest winner on the Nasdaq so far has been

Broadcast.com

(BSCT) - Get Report

, which has surged 9 15/16, or 17%, to 68, on an upgrade and bullish report out of

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

. DLJ upgraded the stock to buy from market perform. DLJ also raised its 12-month price target to $100.

DLJ was one of the managing underwriters on Broadcast.com's IPO last July.

"Broadcast.com is well-positioned to benefit from the expanding broadband user base and from accelerating consolidation trends sweeping the Internet sector," DLJ said in a note accompanying the upgrade. "It is the only Internet content company with the combination of consumer and business content and the infrastructure to serve tens of thousands of simultaneous media streams."

The DLJ upgrade comes on the heels of this announcement yesterday:

CMGI

(CMGI)

Chairman and CEO David Wetherell said that CMGI has formed a strategic business partnership with Neil Braun, the former president of

NBC Television Network

, to build and launch a new company in the Internet broadcast arena.

The company, to be headed by Braun, will focus on the delivery of live audio and video over the Internet, and is expected to incorporate existing CMGI assets, as well as outside interests. The new company, to be headquartered in New York City, will be backed by a start-up investment in excess of $100 million, and is expected to launch in the second quarter of 1999. CMGI was up 2 9/16 to 100.

11:00 a.m.: Nasdaq Struggles to Remain in Positive Territory

After popping nicely to the upside at the open, the tech-chunky

Nasdaq Composite Index

slumped and fell into negative territory about a half-hour after the opening bell but recently inched into positive territory.

The Nasdaq Comp was up 3 to 2252.

Meanwhile, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

and the

S&P 500

surged. The Dow was up 66 to 9261, while the S&P 500 was up 8 to 1232. The

Russell 2000

was down fractionally at 390.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

was up fractionally at 459.

TheStreet.com E-Commerce Index

was down 1 to 94.

The 30-year Treasury bond was down 17/32 to 98 17/32, yielding 5.35%.

On the economic front, topping today's indicators, the overall

producer price index

in January rose 0.5%, while the core PPI, which excludes food and energy, fell 0.1%. Weekly jobless claims and the

Philadelphia Federal Reserve's

business outlook survey jumped to 15.9 in February from 12.4 in January.

If stocks turn around and try to rally today or tomorrow, the rally will be more technical in nature, said Ricky Harrington, senior vice president and technical analyst at

Interstate/Johnson Lane

, when all of the major market averages were in the red.

As for the technicals right now, it's nothing to smile about. Harrington cited the lack of leadership, poor market breadth and the increasing amount of stocks hitting new lows as negatives for the market.

Going forward, he said the first few months of 1999 are going to be extremely volatile with a downside bias.

"Intraday movements are totally unpredictable," he said.

Harrington said he thinks companies' earnings over the next few quarters won't meet expectations and any shortfall in earnings wouldn't be taken very positively by an overvalued market.

Looking ahead over the next few days, the market will be looking at

consumer price index

data, options expiration, and this weekend's

Group of Seven

meeting, he said.

Meanwhile,

Coyote Network

(CYOE)

was down 1 9/16, or 25%, to 4 15/16. TheStreet.com wrote about the company

this morning.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

, advancers were beating decliners 1,421 to 1,101 on 208 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

, losers were beating winners 1,551 to 1,509 on 270 million shares.

On the NYSE, 66 issues had set new 52-week lows while 9 had touched new highs. On the Nasdaq, 51 issues had set new lows while new highs totaled 8.

On the Big Board,

Compaq

(CPQ)

was most active with 9 million shares changing hands. It was down 1/4 to 40 3/4.

On the Nasdaq,

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

was most active on volume of 16 million shares. It was up 3/16 to 81 3/4.

9:58 a.m.: Stocks Open Modestly Higher

Stocks opened higher after yesterday's widespread selloff.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was up 35 to 9231. The

S&P 500

was up 5 to 1229. The

Nasdaq Composite Index

was up 16 to 2265. The

Russell 2000

was up 2 to 391.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

was up 10 to 469.

TheStreet.com E-Commerce Index

was up 1 to 97.

The benchmark 30-year Treasury bond was down 6/32 to 98 29/32, yielding 5.33%.

On the economic front, the overall

producer price index

in January rose 0.5%, while the core PPI, which excludes food and energy, fell 0.1%.

Most Up at Open -- NYSE

Aegon (AEG) - Get Report, up 5 3/8 to 100 1/8

: The Netherlands' Aegon, the parent company of

Aegon USA

, is buying

Transamerica

(TA) - Get Report

for $9.7 billion in cash and stock. The companies said the purchase is the second-largest transaction in the U.S. life insurance industry to date. Aegon will also assume about $1.1 billion of Transamerica's holding company debt.

Most Up at Open -- Nasdaq

Broadcast.com , up 11 9/16 to 69 3/4

:

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

upgraded Broadcast.com to buy from market perform.

Most Down at Open -- NYSE

Schering-Plough (SGP) , down 1 5/16 to 53

.

Most Down at Open -- Nasdaq

Mannatech (MTEX) - Get Report, down 7 7/8 to 23 7/8

: The company has had a sharp runup after going public earlier this week.