Dow Jones Industrial Average
started off an abbreviated trading week up about a dozen points to teeter around 7000 before falling back into negative territory close to noon.
Nasdaq Composite Index
were also down amid average trading volume.
Accounting for the majority of the Dow's initial gain was tobacco titan
, up 3 at 128 3/8. On Friday, a West Virginia judge dismissed the essential claims of that state's attorney general's Medicaid reimbursement lawsuit against the company.
The number-two cigarette manufacturer,
, also moved higher on the news, up 1/2 to 36, but the number three
B.A.T Industries PLC
was unchanged at 17 1/16.
Wall Street was focused on developments in the thrift and banking industries. Following
hostile offer to buy
Great Western Financial
for close to $6 billion in stock, or $42.53 per share, Great Western jumped 8 3/4 to 43 and Ahmanson rose 2 to 42 1/2. There has been no official response yet to the bid.
A merger between the nation's two largest savings and loans, both located in California, would create a company with $93 billion in assets. Thrift consolidation has been an ongoing trend in the Golden State. Privately held
First Nationwide Holdings
of San Francisco recently acquired
Cal Fed Bancorp
of Los Angeles for $1.2 billion, and last summer
American Savings Bank
of Irvine for $1.4 billion.
Industry followers and investors apparently expect the pattern to continue, as they bid up several California thrifts.
Glendale Federal Bank
leaped 2 1/8 to 27 3/4,
Golden West Financial
added 1 3/4 to 73 3/4 and
Coast Savings Financial
gained 1 7/8 to 45 1/2.
In another deal,
said it had finalized its agreement to buy
American Federal Bank
for $28.86 per share in a stock swap that is based on CCB's five-day moving average ending on Friday. American Federal Bank is up 5 to 26 7/8, while CCB Financial slipped 1 7/8 to 66 1/8.
By Avi Stieglitz