Friday, April 16, 1999

Investors go all squirrelly again as a week of choppy trading comes to an end.
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Markets

With P/E ratios in the darling tech and Internet sectors as high as they are, you've got to expect that investors will get a little squirrelly around earnings season. Choppy trading split the indices today as money continued to move toward cyclicals and transports. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

closed at its fifth record high in five days, up 31.17 to 10,493.89; the

Nasdaq Composite Index

fell 39.34 to 2482.43, a drop that masked moderately positive breadth; the

S&P 500

lost 4.09 to 1318.77; the small-cap

Russell 2000

surged 3.81 to 421.58; and

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index shed 9.70 to 669.02.

Major European indices finished lower, while Asian markets roared overnight. Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

skyrocketed 528.07 to 12,490.30 while Japan's

Nikkei

rose 124.50 to 16,851.58.

For more markets action and news, click

here.

Companies

This could put a damper on the recent cyclical rally:

Caterpillar

(CAT) - Get Report

posted first-quarter earnings of 57 cents a share, 15 cents a share above the

First Call

consensus. But the company also said it expects 1999 sales and revenues to be below 1998 results, and forecast 1999 earnings per share to be 10% to 15% lower than the previous year.

U.S. District Court Judge

Joe Kendall

yesterday levied a devastating fine against the pilots union of

AMR

(AMR)

unit

American Airlines

pilots' union for last month's "sickout." The fine totals more than $45 million, nearly all of the union's net worth. Kendall scheduled a hearing Monday to discuss how the union will make the payments.

Eastman Kodak posted first-quarter earnings of 80 cents a share, 4 cents above the First Call estimate.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

today upgraded Kodak to outperform from neutral.

For more news on companies and stocks, click

here.

Tech

Adobe Systems

(ADBE) - Get Report

said its board has approved a stock repurchase plan of up to 5 million shares.

Lycos

(LCOS)

today reassured investors that its third-quarter earnings will meet Wall Street expectations of 3 cents a share, saying that it expects its fiscal 1999 revenues to more than double.

For more tech news and commentary, click

here.

General News

The

Census Bureau

today released figures showing housing starts at 1.77 million units for March, 1.3% lower than February's 1.79 million units.

NATO

continued to pound Yugoslav targets today, attacking sites in Belgrade and military targets in the republic of Montenegro. Meanwhile, the Russian

State Duma

voted 293-54 in favor of a resolution to include Yugoslavia in a union with Russia and Belarus.

International

A possible white knight has emerged for

Telecom Italia

(TI)

in its effort to ward off

Olivetti's

hostile takeover bid.

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

is in advanced-stage merger talks with Telecom Italia, according to London's

Financial Times

. Neither company would confirm the report.

TSC

German correspondent

Marc Young

yesterday

looked at Deutsche Telecom's expansion plans.

U.K. retailer

Kingfisher

is in talks to buy supermarket chain

Asda Group

for about $9.6 billion in stock. The deal would make Kingfisher the third-largest retailer in the U.K.

Two of Australia's top three telecommunications companies are talking merger: Number two

Cable & Wireless Optus

is bidding $960 million for number three telecom

AAPT

.

For more international news and commentary, click

here.

Elsewhere

It's official:

Wayne Gretzky

, the most prolific scorer in

NHL

history, today announced his retirement.

The

Los Angeles Lakers

waived freakazoid forward

Dennis Rodman

today; Rodman, 38, was averaging 2.1 points and 11.2 rebounds a game.

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