With a raft of stories over the weekend about what a hard time the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

had passing 1000 -- and how that means the average might not close above 10K for another six years, and never really squirm out of its grasp until 2015 -- you've gotta be happy there's some corporate news out there. Corporations seem a lot less nonplussed about this milestone thing than Wall Street is.

There are more signs of banking consolidation in Europe, and one wonders how long U.S. banks will stand idly by.


, Italy's second-largest bank, announced plans to merge with

Banca Commerciale Italiana

. The combined bank would take over the number-one spot in Italy from

San Paolo-IMI


Meanwhile, San Paolo announced that it plans to take out

Banca di Roma

. Add to this the fight in France, where

Banque Nationale de Paris

has attempted to thwart the merger of

Societe Generale



by putting in hostile bids for both banks, and you can see, as one London trader recently put it, that the genie is out of the bottle in Europe. It seems like it will only be a matter of time before we see crossborder deals in Europe. One imagines that that would be a party U.S. banks would be keen to join.

Closer to home, there were more reports that


(T) - Get Report


British Telecom


are in negotiations to acquire a 30% stake in

Japan Telecom

. This follows a report in the

Nihon Keizai Shimbun

that the deal was imminent.



supervisory board met for 12 hours on Sunday, but there was as yet no announcement on whether the company will accept or reject

Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton's

takeover bid, launched Friday.

The Los Angeles Times

reports that


(IBM) - Get Report




will announce Monday a pact to develop products linking


, Novell's network operating system, and


IBM's e-commerce software.

On Saturday,


reported that

America West


and the union representing the airline's flight attendants reached a tentative contract agreement, averting a potential strike.

Late Friday,

Ultrmar Diamond





said that their plans to form the largest independent oil refiner and marketer in the U.S. has come undone. The two had announced plans for the joint venture in October.

In the Papers


has decided to launch the

Barron's 500

, a list of the top 500 U.S. companies in terms of revenues, ranked by a combination of their returns and profitability over the last two years.

Seems like the top 10 or so may get a bit more interest on Wall Street Monday morning. By rank, they are (envelope please),

America Online




(DELL) - Get Report


Best Buy

(BBY) - Get Report






(AAPL) - Get Report








Lexmark International



The Gap

(GPS) - Get Report



(UIS) - Get Report



also chatted with Laszlo Birinyi -- a guy who's name would not seem out of place in a Bogart movie or a Graham Greene entertainment. Birinyi runs

Birinyi Associates

and keeps a careful watch on buy programs, money flows and the like. Though he thinks this 10,000 level on the Dow is psychologically potent, he believes the market will overcome the barrier, reaching 12,000 by the end of the year.